Updated November 2015

C-SPAN Classroom: Classroom Deliberations

High-impact activities get students reading, writing, debating

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Subjects & Skills
Social Studies, Character & SEL, Critical Thinking

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C-SPAN Classroom Deliberations is a resource for teachers who want to engage their students in research and debate around major issues in the United States. Teachers can choose from 25 different issues -- some of which are timeless ("How should the government address poverty in the United States?") and some of which are a little more specific to a particular event ("How should the U.S. respond to the Russian annexation of Crimea?") but still work in any context. Each issue has its own page that includes a lesson plan, vocabulary preview, classroom aids (like note-taking guides and info handouts), plus info on the actual deliberations and conclusions reached by U.S. lawmakers. These pages also feature C-SPAN videos that represent multiple perspectives on each issue plus links to reputable outside resources with additional info on the issue at hand. There's a strong focus on providing high-quality primary source documents that students can use to explore real-life issues in detail.

Meanwhile, the site features 10 different "deliberation activities" that teachers can use to engage their students in exploring and debating these issues. Each activity includes an overview, steps for implementation, and additional resources to help teachers implement the activity in their classroom. This site is an extraordinary resource for getting kids engaged in the real-world issues that face the President and members of Congress. Activities range from writing activities (like writing a position paper) to in-class activities (like holding a moot court) to creation activities (like building your own deliberation website).

Classroom Deliberations feels like the best possible way to use C-SPAN's videos: It's a laser-focused, targeted way to view short videos, read short texts, and then actively engage with the issues that matter most in a high-stakes decision-making process. Teachers can get a pretty good sense of the issues by glancing at the overall list; spend your time delving into the detailed descriptions of the activities to get a sense of which ones suit your classroom best. No matter which activity you choose, there's a ton to support you and your students, so check this out as a one-off activity for your classroom or as a regular feature of your class's engagement with current events and issues.

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Featured review by
Brian R. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
East Orange Campus High School
East Orange, United States
Classroom Deliberations provides saves you time with great resource sets for you to teach controversial issues in your social studies class
Overall, I love the website and the resources provided. They are structured in such a way that you can take a resource set and use it with your students without doing any additional prep work to find video clips, background readings, etc. This type of lesson is so important for creating opportunities for deep learning, but they can take a massive amount of time to research and put together properly. The Classroom Deliberations website takes all of that time out of the process and let's me focus on actua ...
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