Monday, October 06, 2008

The Presidential Election Lesson Plans & Presidential Word Clouds

For history, civics, and government teachers the Constitution Center is heaven.

It is an overwhelming array of multi-media sure to keep you interested for hours.

What makes the Constitution Center even better is its undying devotion to education and its continuous rotation of great exhibits. Fortunately for me, I can walk to the National Constitution Center (NCC) from my house. I'm close. I can experience everything it has to offer... And having said that, I'd like to share a little bit of what I have to look forward to during my next visit.

The NCC is on top of things. They prepare months, probably years in advance to bring the greatest ideas and technology to the forefront. The exhibit highlighted below is no exception.

It appears to be based on the US Presidential Speeches Tag Cloud where someone has taken the time to create a tag cloud of the words most often used in speeches for each president. It's fascinating.

Check out the link first, then read about what the National Constitution Center is doing (in their own words)

Hindsight is Always 20/20

"The Center celebrates the excitement of the election season with Headed to the White House and now, with an extraordinary exhibition that displays each president’s State of the Union addresses as you’ve never seen before.

Hindsight is Always 20/20 examines the history of the presidential State of the Union address through the metaphor of vision. Drawn from the annual addresses given by Presidents to Congress, ‘Hindsight’ consists of a single Snellen–style eye chart for each president who performed this Constitutional act. Instead of the typical eye–chart characters, the piece highlights words from their State of the Union speeches presenting the sixty–six most frequently used words from each presidential administration, starting with the most often used word on the top line. The result is an engaging snapshot of each presidency, containing a mix of keywords related to events of the day and rhetoric unique to each president and the time period in which they served.

Artist R. Luke DuBois is a composer, artist, and performer who explores the temporal, verbal, and visual structures of pop–culture ephemera. Past exhibitions of his work have been displayed at the Insitut Valencia d’Art Modern in Valencia, Spain; San Jose Museum of Art; Daelim Museum in Seoul, Korea; Sundance Film Festival; and Sydney Film Festival.

Hindsight is Always 20/20 is part of the Center’s long range goal to broaden our audiences and expand our offerings through compelling and diverse exhibitions."

Additionally, they offer free lesson plans and ideas to help incorporate civics into the classroom. The link below is a link to some some excellent resources about the upcoming


FYI - I'm teaching world history this year and am looking for creative ideas to incorporate the election into the curriculum. We're starting Greece on Friday and I see a natural link with Greece's democratic government with that of the United States' government, and an easy transition to the election.

If anybody else has any other ideas, please share them...

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