Professional Development Series for K12 Educators

Ackerman Center for Democratic Citizenship

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2019-20 Program – Teaching Elections Despite the Politics

There’s more to elections than just politics. Citizens need to understand our electoral system, where it came from, how it works, and how to navigate the endless stream of information and rhetoric it brings.

  • Session 1: Elections Then and Now — Monday, Jan. 13, 2020
    Presenters: Dr. Phillip VanFossen, Ackerman Center, & Julie Roush
    Focus: Why do US elections run the way they do? Explore the foundations in the Constitution and how elections have evolved. Get an insider view on election logistics today.
    Elections Then and Now Resources
  • Session 2: Election Literacy — Monday, Feb. 10, 2020
    Presenter: Jessi McCarthy, Freedom Forum
    Focus: Help your students learn strategies for analyzing the many types of messages being directed at voters in election campaigning. This virtual workshop will use technology tools and the Newseum’s “Decoding Elections: Process, Persuasion & Participation“ resources to teach election media analysis.
    Election Literacy Resources
  • Session 3: Understanding the Election Machine — Monday, Mar. 9, 2020
    Presenter: Dr. Jay McCann, Purdue Political Science
    Focus: Pull back the curtain on presidential elections. What happens behind the scenes before candidates are on the ballot? How does polling work and how important is it? What should citizens know about elections that they probably don’t?
    Understanding the Election Machine Resources

Register for the 2019-2020 Professional Development Program!

Register Now

2018 Program – Citizen Literacy

Professional Development Series for Upper Elementary through High School Teachers

  • Session 1: Critical Media Literacy and Fake News — Monday, Oct. 1st
    Virtual Presenter: Sarah McGrew, Stanford University
    Focus: Citizens must effectively navigate and evaluate online media and information sources.
    Goals: strategies for evaluating sources, helping students develop healthy skepticism and critical reading skills.
    Critical Media Literacy and Fake News Resources
  • Session 2: Civil Discourse in the Classroom — Monday, Nov. 5th
    Virtual Presenter: Facing History and Ourselves
    Focus: Citizens must be able to rationally and respectfully discuss issues on which they disagree or come from different perspectives and background experiences.
    Goals: Learn strategies for helping students be comfortable expressing their ideas respectfully, fostering an environment of respectful listening, taking on multiple perspectives.
    Civil Discourse in the Classroom Resources
  • Session 3: Argument Writing — Monday, Feb. 4th
    Presenters: Carrie Gaffney and David Lawson of the Hoosier Writing Project with Kerri Hoffman of CLEAR
    Focus: Citizens must be able to express a position and support it with relevant and accurate information.
    Goals: Learn strategies for teaching argument writing from Hoosier Writing Project presenters.
    Argument Writing Resources

Contact the Ackerman Center at (765) 494-4755 or by email at
Beering Hall 4119 West Lafayette, IN

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