Election Resources We Can All Agree On!

Election Resources We Can All Agree On!

At times, it may seem like we are in an endless cycle of political campaigns in America.  While this may be the new reality, it is more important than ever to ensure that the topics of voting and elections are incorporated into our ABE classroom planning and instruction.

Moreover, these lessons should not only be reserved for times around presidential elections or at certain points in the election calendar but introduced throughout the entire school year.  By doing so, our students will become more aware of the electoral process and the many topics related to voting in America.  Also, for those that are eligible to vote, they will become informed about ways to effectively evaluate candidates and learn more about other questions that may appear on a ballot.

Electoral process & civics basics

Before tackling the current election cycle, it is beneficial to provide students with some general background knowledge on the evolution of voting in America, the electoral process, and a review of other past and present topics related to civics.

For this topic, iCivics is THE go-to resource!  The modules on this site, especially related to voting and elections, provide engaging instruction through a variety of adaptable lessons, web quests, and educational games.

If you are teaching online, a quick search on TedEd will yield a selection of videos, with corresponding questions, on topics ranging from why we vote on Tuesdays to more detailed ones about politics in America.

Similarly, Nearpod and EdPuzzle provide online and in-person students with more hands-on learning as they engage with lessons related to voting and elections.

Finally, and when in need of a more specific detailed lesson on voting rights, Voices for Suffrage is a free resource where students interact with primary documents, videos and, other sources to explore the suffrage movement.

The voting process

Along with these general resources, 2024 is a presidential election year – and with that reality brings a heightened awareness about current issues at the national, state, and local levels.  It’s also an opportune time to answer students’ questions about the voting process.  While  students may or may not be eligible to vote, it is still important for everyone to be aware of what’s happening between now and November 3.

Ballotpedia, Vote 411, and VoteSmart are three similar sites that offer unbiased information on elections, politics, and real-time reports on public policy for all levels of government.  Students can simply provide their zip code or other location details and they will be provided with a plethora of information to guide them through the voting process and/or to learn more about the critical issues of the day.

Broader resource collections

Resources related to voting, elections, and other social studies topics are definitely not lacking in number.  Fortunately, there are sites that have compiled collections of materials covering a variety of topics for a wide range of classrooms.  For more voting-related resources, COABE’s site offers information on registering to vote and plenty of free voting/election materials to use with ABE and ELL adult learners.

If you need to broaden your search, CivicsRenewalNetwork.org has compiled a list of no-cost learning materials from their network of partners that are searchable by subject, resource type, and teaching strategy.

ATLAS resource library

Along with these, please don’t forget to access the ATLAS Social Studies & Civics online resource library for more details about some of the highlighted resources in this article, and about other leveled social studies materials!

In the end, don’t limit social studies and civics-related instruction in your classroom.  Based on the diverse backgrounds of our students and their thirst for knowledge, ABE teachers at all levels are in a perfect position to engage students in rich discussions, make past and present connections, and, most importantly, provide students with meaningful social studies instruction based on events that impact them, and all of us, on a daily basis.

John Trerotola, Social Studies & Civics Library Curator ATLAS