Common Sense Review
Updated November 2015

C-SPAN Classroom: Classroom Deliberations

High-impact activities get students reading, writing, debating
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This module is part of the Website C-SPAN Classroom.
Common Sense Rating 4
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  • Classroom Deliberations helps teachers integrate C-SPAN videos and content into civics and history classes.
  • Browse all 25 issues to find a topic that interests your students or fits with your curriculum.
  • Select an issue to view teaching tools, like a lesson plan and handouts for students.
  • Explore the activities page to find activities to use with any of the 25 issues.
Patricia Monticello Kievlan
Common Sense Reviewer
Foundation/Non-Profit Member
Common Sense Rating 4
How Can Teachers Use It?

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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