Spent much of yesterday watching football and eating way more than I should. But I also had the chance to spend some time with my middle school daughter reviewing for a Greek history quiz she’ll take today. Some useful stuff; Socrates, Plato, forms of government, medicine, etc. You know . . . the good stuff!

Of course, being a former social studies teacher I had to quiz here beyond what was on her study guide. And she did pretty well. It seems like the conversation in her class is helping her go beyond just the details.

Being eleven, she still humors her dad but it got me thinking. Do we really focus on the “big picture” of social studies enough as teachers and students?

Tomorrow I’ll go to the Super Tuesday caucus. Isn’t that part of the “big picture?” The whole “educated participants in a democracy” thing? We do a great job of focusing on details but don’t always help kids connect the dots. We all struggle with the application part.

Found some very cool tools to help kids understand (at least partially!) the process of participatory government. Ginger Lewman at Turning Point Learning Center in Emporia, Kansas has helped her kids create a wonderful collaborative project that is focusing on the election process. Kids from around the country and the world are working together to understand the process. Great stuff!

Two useful sites that help kids understand candidates and issues are Glassbooth and Electoral Compass. Both give a user the chance to articulate their own position on the issues and to connect with the candidate that best represents that position. Both provide very useful overview of the issues and ways to explore the issues.

Check ‘em out!