California teacher Justin Trinh-Halperin and his seventh- and eighth-grade students have partnered with the county election department to prepare a Kids Vote ballot, which has photos and simple language to teach students how to vote along with adult voters in the county's 136 voting precincts. Trinh-Halperin said the effort aims to encourage young people to vote when they are eligible.
Some sophomores, juniors and seniors attending a California high school this fall will examine what it means to be an American as they study U.S. immigration and history in two courses, using a new yearlong curriculum created by U.S. history teacher Chrissy MacLean and English teacher Alysia Shariet. Students viewed a film this week and will read books about undocumented immigrants. They will also complete research and writing projects throughout the school year.
Some students at two high schools in Santa Cruz, Calif., are getting hands-on job skills training and helping the local environment at the same time. The students recently learned about habitat restoration by clearing invasive species and planting native plants at a local park. The schools' alternative-education programs offer graduation credits, career training and hands-on work experiences in a range of fields, including agriculture, construction, alternative energy, habitat restoration and computers.
The writer of this New York Times blog post suggests that teachers address Women's History Month with a brief lesson that should take only one class period. The idea involves studying a week's worth of newspapers to find articles, photos and other material that focus on "women's lives and roles in the world." Then, ask students to identify patterns, study women's roles in our culture and make connections to their own lives.
Students at Watsonville High School in California spent much of last year working on documentaries focused on community issues such as unemployment and immigration. While they also had to write papers, the students were inspired by having award-winning documentary filmmaker Bob Gliner on campus while he filmed a project of his own, said English teacher Christine Kopecky. "Social change is not something other people do," said Gliner, a retired sociology professor. "If we're going to have a democracy, we need people who understand issues and get involved in solving them."