2012 Elections and Issues
Elections around the world: ePals World Elections Center is intended to help students learn about global election processes, candidates, and issues by involving them in a wide range of interactive activities. The site, featuring projects and activities for whole-class and independent learning, includes videos on the recent French presidential inauguration, the 2012 Venezuelan presidential candidates, the U.S. Republican and Democratic Conventions, and more. In “Students Speak,” users can share their thoughts through their writing and artwork. Students can also make and upload a Presidential Minute” video in which they address their country’s leader with their concerns and advice. There’s a section where users can check out videos that were previously uploaded concerning past elections. In the “Teachers’ Corner,” educators can find “Election Projects” such as “Romney–Obama Presidential Election” and “What Are Constitutional Governments?”
Kids can also research and share information about their country’s candidates with each other. In addition, there’s an international focus with fact pages for countries that have had or will have presidential elections in 2012, including the U.S., the Russian Federation, Taiwan, Mexico, Slovenia, Gabon, South Korea, France, Sierra Leone, and Venezuela. This section includes materials focusing on each country’s political structure, such as its form of government, election processes, terms of office, voting regulations, and more. Among the games available are “On the Road to the White House,” “Win the White House,” “Get the House in Order–The United Kingdom,” “History Challenge Australia,” and many more.
“Every teacher understands the power of the teachable moment,” says Nina Zolt, ePals co-founder and chief learning officer. “The World Elections Center provides a terrific opportunity for students around the globe to explore, communicate with peers, and generally become involved in 2012 elections and issues around the world that will have a direct impact on their futures.”
Tell Me a Story
Literacy initiative: Storyline Online is a free streaming video site where members of the Screen Actor Guild (SAG) read children’s books with the goal of promoting literacy and inspiring the love of reading. Annette Bening is the latest volunteer actor to lend her talents to this project. She reads Avi Slodovinick’s The Tooth (Kane/Miller, 2010) while the illustrations by Manon Gauthier are scanned, with some animation added. In the story, a little girl goes to the dentist to have her tooth extracted and notices a homeless man on the street. When she leaves the dentist’s office, she gives him her tooth and tells him to put it under his pillow.
For each book, there are downloadable supplemental activities to strengthen comprehension and verbal and written skills. To date, there are 25 books in the program, each read by a different actor. They include Betty White narrating Gene Zion’s Harry, the Dirty Dog (Harper, 1956), James Earl Jones reading Evelyn Coleman’s To Be a Drum (Albert Whitman & Company, 1998), and Jane Kaczmarek reading Thank You, Mr. Falker (Philomel, 1998) by Patricia Polacco.
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