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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Can I register to vote?



In North Carolina, students who are 16 or 17 years old are allowed to pre-register to vote. What's more, students who will be 18 by Election Day (November 6) can register by April 13 and vote in this year's primary election on May 8. Of course, students who are already 18 are eligible to register and vote anytime.

Our partners at the Board of Elections, Civic Education Consortium, Kids Voting USA and Rock the Vote make elections and voting and fun and easy learning opportunity:

  • Set up a voter registration event at your high school. Contact Kristin Mavromatis at the Mecklenburg County Board of Elections for more information.The BOE will provide materials and instructions - everything students need to register.
  • Partner with the Board of Elections and GenerationNation/Kids Voting to host student council elections. High schools may use the Board of Elections voting equipment. Elementary, middle and high schools may use the online voting tool provided by GenerationNation/Kids Voting. Learn more 
  • Access K-12 educational resources about voting and elections from Kids Voting USA


Board of Elections
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Thursday, February 16, 2012

4th Annual YOUTH SUMMIT


High school students are invited to attend the 4th annual Youth Summit!

This is a great opportunity for you to collaborate, build leadership skills and discuss ways to make a difference on government policies, issues and decisions that impact YOU.

At the summit, teens will meet and collaborate with leaders from other schools and youth programs across the community.
  • Build leadership skills
  • Learn about government
  • Collaborate with other students on a Youth Agenda - which policies and issues do YOU think officials should be working on?
  • Talk with other teens about ways to connect every high school and youth organization with public officials, policy-makers and decision-makers
  • Get information about youth involvement for the Charlotte in 2012 DNC convention (non-partisan)
  • Represent your school, youth program or your interests in community issues, policies and decisions (schools, parks, libraries, transportation, environment, safety, budgets and more)
  • Service hours available


Who's invited?

High school student leaders - both serving in official leadership roles on student council/clubs and emerging leaders who want to make a difference at school and in the community. If you care what happens at your school or in the community, you're a leader.

When and where?

The Youth Summit will be March 6, 6:00-8:00PM at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center, room 267.


How do we sign up?

The event is free. Pre-registration is required.   Seats are limited, and food will be provided.

  • Include: student name, school, email address, phone number and leadership role or interests in local issues.


More information
  • Sign up for updates, future meetings, ways to make your voice heard
    Text YOUTHVOICE to 99000

The Youth Summit is hosted by Youth Voice Leadership Alliance, a student civic leadership program of GenerationNation (formerly Kids Voting) in partnership with CMS and government agencies, and funded in part through Crossroads Charlotte's Front Porch program and State Farm.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Presidents Day!


Presidents Day is a holiday celebrated on the third Monday in February. This year, it is February 20. It is a day when Americans honor the leaders who have served as President of the United States.

At first, the holiday celebrated the birthday of the first President, George Washington. Now, the holiday also celebrates the birthday of Abraham Lincoln, also born in February, as well as the lives and accomplishments of the other Presidents.

Role of the President

The US Constitution defines the President’s role and requirements for taking office. Some of the specifics, such as the date of Election Day, or the number of terms the President can serve, have changed over the years.
  • The president must be at least 35 years old, a natural-born citizen, and have lived in the United States at least 14 years.
  • Americans vote for president every four years on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. That popular vote chooses delegates to the Electoral College, which elects the President. The President serves for four years, and can be elected to four additional years.
  • The President wears many hats. The Constitution assigns the president two roles: chief executive of the federal government and Commander in Chief of the armed forces. As Commander in Chief, the president has the authority to send troops into combat, and is the only one who can decide whether to use nuclear weapons.As chief executive, the President enforces laws, treaties, and court rulings; develops federal policies; prepares the national budget; and appoints federal officials. He also approves or vetoes acts of Congress and grants pardons.
  • The President earns $400,000 each year, plus additional expenses and benefits such as living at the White House.

Learning Opportunities

Use Presidents Day as a civic learning opportunity. Learn about the roles and history of the President and evaluate leadership, communication and political skills. A variety of activities are available. Modify based on your grade level or subject area. For example, you can focus students on the community, North Carolina, the United States or another country. Connect this to history, literature or in a global community.

There are many opportunities for writing, reading, small group discussion and oral presentation. The activity aligns with several core standards. Skills include:
  • Persuasion
  • Critical thinking
  • Analysis
  • Reading information
  • Active listening
  • Writing
  • Civic literacy
  • Media literacy
  • Collaboration
  • Civic leadership
  • Local and State Government
  • Federal Government
  • Effective communication
  • Family dialogue
  • Group discussion
  • Connecting historic events, personal knowledge, current events or global life

ACTIVITIES

Connecting knowledge

Leaders have roles and responsibilities. Who are the different leaders at your school? City? Country? Are some of their roles similar? Different? Explain what is the same and what is different, and why you think that is.

  • Family
  • School
  • Student Council
  • School Board
  • City or town
  • County
  • State
  • United States
  • Global
  • Other?

What’s for KIDS?

What does the President do or talk about that is of interest to or affects kids? How much time do you think he spends working on issues that impact kids? Does he spend more or less time on those issues than he does on adult issues? Why do you think that is?

(Some topics could include education, health, environment, safety, etc.)

Write the headline or book title

If you were writing a biography or reporting about the President (pick any President in history, or divide the class into groups), what would your book title or news headline be?

Now, read actual titles or headlines. One easy way to do this is through Google or Amazon.com. You can also view an online Presidential Library or news source.

Were you close? Is your headline or title better? Why?

Sometimes there will be many headlines and titles, with each one saying something completely different (example: George Washington: The Best President Ever! or George Washington: The Worst President Ever!). Why do you think that is?


Communicate effectively

Watch a video of a President, or read a famous speech. How does the President communicate the information? Is he persuasive? How? What do you think is the most effective thing he does to communicate the information? Least effective?

If reading
  • Does he write clearly?
  • Are the sentences long or short?
  • Can you summarize his main points – in a few words, what was the speech about?
If watching
  • Does he read from a piece of paper?
  • Does he raise or lower his voice or move his hands to illustrate a specific point?
  • What emotions and expressions does the President show? Does he look confident?
  • How is he dressed? Does this matter?

Leadership

What are the roles of the President (past or present)? What are some examples of the President in these roles?

In your opinion, what are the ideal qualities in a leader? Which President(s) demonstrated those qualities?

(Examples: brave, caring, smart, healthy, cooperative, strong, decisive, curious, friendly, honest, hard-working)

What are words that come to mind when you think of a leader? A politician? Are the words the same, or different? Why?

Do you have to be an official “leader”, like the President, to demonstrate those qualities? How can you be a leader in your everyday life? Give examples.

Make your voice heard!

If you were the President, what would you do? Would you change policies? Make things happen? Solve problems? Write a short speech and tell everyone!

Or, role-play a President in history - or a leader in another country - and write your speech from that perspective.



WEB RESOURCES



MORE ACTIVITIES


 Kids Voting USA http://www.kidsvotingusa.org/curriculum
  • President's Hats - Students examine the jobs of the president to discuss components of American democracy. You can also compare various roles with those at the family, school or community level. Use this for a writing or verbal activity.
  • Wish Tree - Students make wishes for the country regarding changes they would like to see. This is a great writing activity. You can also use this activity on a family, community or similar level as appropriate. 
  • Several other related lessons available. Note: Kids Voting USA activities are provided directly to Charlotte area schools through Kids Voting Mecklenburg, a program of GenerationNation. If your school is in the Charlotte area and you would like a copy emailed to you, contact info@kidsvoting.org. If you are not in Charlotte or want to download from the web, visit www.kidsvotingusa.org/curriculum.
iCivics http://www.icivics.org/subject/executive-branch

Constitutional Rights Foundation http://www.crf-usa.org/presidents-day/presidents-day.html

C-SPAN http://www.c-spanclassroom.org/Topics/PRES/The-President.aspx

GenerationNation 
View and download this activity on Slideshare
PresidentsDay
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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Learning Opportunity: Black History Month




February is Black History Month

It is a chance to learn about leaders and events important to the history and progress of African-Americans in the United States. One civic learning opportunity related to Black History Month is voting rights. A large part of the civil rights movement was dedicated to establishing voting rights for all Americans.

Background

The Fifteenth Amendment to the US Constitution guaranteed voting rights would not be denied “on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude”. It was made official in 1870, after the Civil War.

In some states, African-Americans voted and were elected to local, state and federal offices. In other states, particularly in the South and in other areas, state governments enacted voting laws that required citizens to own property, pay a special tax or pass a literacy test to be eligible to vote. This meant that many people, including poor or uneducated African-Americans, were unable to register to vote.

Over time, civil rights supporters worked to overturn these voting requirements. This was done through activism, protests and other methods of communication and advocacy. The people involved included both famous leaders such as Martin Luther King, Jr. as well as other private citizens who wanted to make a difference.

In 1965, President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act. It outlawed the literacy requirements for voter registration. It also provided federal protection to help ensure that voters were given equal opportunity to register and vote.


Learning Opportunities

Use the context of Black History Month to learn and think critically about voting rights. A variety of activities are available. Modify based on your grade level or subject area. For example, you can focus students on the community, North Carolina, the United States or another country. Connect this to history, literature or in a global community. There are many opportunities for writing, reading, small group discussion and oral presentation. The activity aligns with several core standards. Skills include:

  • Critical thinking
  • Analysis
  • Reading
  • History
  • Writing
  • Civic literacy
  • Media literacy
  • Collaboration
  • Civic leadership
  • Government
  • Effective communication
  • Group discussion
  • Connecting historic events, personal knowledge, current events or global life

ACTIVITIES

Connecting knowledge

Compare and contrast the roles of individuals, leaders and how leaders are selected at different levels from student council to global cities and countries. What are the differences and similarities? Who can make changes? How does it happen?

  • Student Council
  • School Board
  • City or town
  • County
  • State
  • United States
  • Global
  • Other?

Write the headline

If you were reporting on civil rights, including voting, what would your headline say?

Search news headlines in history. Were you close? Were they right? Why or why not?

Read headlines about the address from different news sources. What do they say? How are they similar or different? Why?

A good resource is http://www.ipl.org/div/farq/historyFARQ.html, or even Google. Use important dates in the Civil Rights Movement in 1965 including March 7 (March on Selma), March 17 (President Johnson sends Voter Rights Act to Congress), and August 6 (when the Voter Rights Act was signed into law).


Leaders and citizens

Role-play leaders and citizens involved in the Civil Rights Movement. Possible roles:

  • Famous African-American leader such as Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Citizens who want to change voting rights
  • People who want to vote and are not allowed to register
  • News reporters from the NY Times, Birmingham (AL) News and a global news source Governor of a Southern State
  • President of the United States
  • Egyptians in January 2011 who are researching different civil rights movements

Questions to discuss and think about
  • How do the leaders demonstrate their leadership? Are they persuasive? Collaborative? How?
  • How do the citizens get involved? How do they convey that they want to make a difference, not just trouble?
  • If you are reporting the news, is your coverage different depending on where you live?
  • What are a state governor’s responsibilities? Does he/she have to work with other governments? Citizens? Leaders? Why or why not?
  • Why did the President enact the Voting Rights Act? How did he accomplish that task?
  • If you were working to make a difference this year, would you march and protest? Why or why not? What are some ways you can make an impact on leaders, policies and decisions?




WEB RESOURCES

Download K-12 Civic Learning Opportunity: Black History Month

Voices of Civil Rights (Library of Congress) http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/civilrights/civilrights-home.html

Fifteenth Amendment to the US Constitution (Library of Congress) http://www.loc.gov/rr/program/bib/ourdocs/15thamendment.html

Reporting Civil Rights: Perspectives from reporters
http://reportingcivilrights.loa.org/

Voting Rights Act (History.com)
http://www.history.com/topics/voting-rights-act

Voting Rights Act (document)
http://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?flash=old&doc=100

Voting Rights Act (Department of Justice)
http://www.justice.gov/crt/about/vot/intro/intro_b.php

This Day in History
http://www.ipl.org/div/farq/historyFARQ.html


MORE LESSONS AND ACTIVITIES

Kids Voting USA
https://kidsvotingusa.org/curriculum

  • Grades K-2 Wish Tree: Students make wishes for the country regarding changes they would like to see
  • Grades 3-5 Non-voter Simulation and Suffrage Timeline: Students explore the concept of voting rights.
  • Grades 6-8 Part of the Franchise: Students personalize the history of voting rights.
  • High School 1965 Alabama Literacy Test, Voting Rights Act of 1965: Students experience the injustice of voter discrimination and explore the impact of the Voting Rights Act.

*These lessons are provided directly to Charlotte area schools through Kids Voting Mecklenburg, a program of GenerationNation. If your school is in the Charlotte area and you would like a copy emailed to you, contact info@kidsvoting.org. If you are not in Charlotte or want to download from the web, visit www.kidsvotingusa.org/curriculum.

Constitutional Rights Foundation
http://www.crf-usa.org/black-history-month/

iCivics
http://www.icivics.org/curriculum/civil-rights

C-SPAN
http://www.c-spanclassroom.org/Topics/CR/Civil-Rights.aspx

GenerationNation
View and download this activity sheet on Slideshare
BlackHistoryMonth
View more documents from GenerationNation