Resources for Students and Teachers Alike!
Ideas for Student-led Activities:
- Have eligible students download the voter registration form from the Secretary of State’s web site: http://www.oregonvotes.org/pages/voterresources/regtovote/index.html, and review it as a class. Do not have ineligible students fill out official voter registration forms. You can make a mock form by making copies of the registration form and marking VOID over the signature line. Eligible students are 17; students who are 17 but will not be 18 on Election Day may still register but won’t be sent a ballot until the next election when they are of voting age.
*Note direct online registration found here: https://secure.sos.state.or.us
- Register voters in your school and community:
Remember: Registration cards must be returned to county elections offices within 5 days of being signed!
For voter registration drive tips, check out the Bus Project: busproject.org
- Establish a school‐wide program for students who turn 17, to get a birthday card with a voter registration card. Encourage them to fill it out quickly by offering an incentive such as extra credit, a homework pass, etc.
- Develop public policy Divide the class into small groups. Ask each group to create a list of 5 public policy questions. Have students contact Oregon’s political parties (you can find contact information from the Teacher’s Guide here) to learn if your questions are addressed by state parties’ political platforms. Or compare and contrast the position of Oregon’s political parties on 5 issues.
- Ask students to create a new political party. Have them write a party platform focusing on issues they believe to be important. Encourage them to design a logo and slogan for their party. What strategies would their party adopt to encourage young people to register with their party?
- Host a debate. Whether you’re debating party platforms you’ve created, or discussing Oregon ballot measures, hosting an official debate is a way for students to really become experts on the topics they’re discussing. Check with your local City Club to see if they are interested in getting involved and moderating student debates as well! See page 77 of the Teacher’s Guide for information on hosting debates.
Helpful Classroom Web Resources:
Youth Leadership Initiative – Includes civics and high school voter registration resources
DemocracyClass.com – Class activities about civic education
RocktheVote.com – Dedicated to building political power among young people
Student Voting Guide – from the Brennan Center for Justice
FactCheck.org – A project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center; check the accuracy of political ads and allegations
The Newseum Digital Classroom – An online resource for educators that looks at how the news media covers elections
Political Party Quiz – Find out where you fit on the partisan political spectrum from Pew Research Center
We the People – Promoting civic competence and responsibility among the nation’s upper elementary and secondary students.
Tools for teaching controversial issues
(These resources have been reviewed by the League of Women Voters for quality and nonpartisanship, however we do not endorse or sponsor all listed here.)