Government – Taxes and Spending

Discussing taxes in class? Check out the TaxJazz – The Tax Literacy Project web site, the project of a law professor at Tulane.

Where do our taxes go? That answer can be found at USAFacts (“Our nation, in numbers.”) While government financial data is a major focus, it also covers demographic information (“Who are ‘the people’?”) It uses the four missions of government, as outlined in the preamble to the Constitution, as an organizing framework. Steve Ballmer (with an impressive list of partners) is behind the project.


Literature and Language

Want to jump-start a Lang Arts class? Try the By Heart series from The Atlantic. (“Authors share and discuss their all-time favorite passages in literature.“) What would your students pick for theirs?

(This series has been going on since January 4, 2013, usually with two or more articles per month, so lots of possibilities!)

For language use, there’s First Words from the New Your Times (“Essays on what language reveals about our moment.”) Words shape our non-fiction world, too.

History – U.S. and World

How do we organize history? Is it just a series of discrete events, to be arranged chronologically? What about context?

Here’s one solution – Horizontal History – and, perhaps, another class project? (This is an excellent way to cross disciplines, too – pretty much every subject we study has its own history, so how do we integrate all of it?)

And while you’re teaching your students about conceptualizing historical time, you can go from macro to micro and discuss their personal time with 100 Blocks a Day, from the same web site.

Want to integrate micro and macro? Try The Atlantic’s Life Timeline – punch in your birthdate and see what’s happened in your lifetime (with links to specific articles about those events). Want to understand your parents, or grandparents, better? Type in their birthdate to see the events that shaped their lives. (Class project, anyone?)


U. S. History & Government – the Presidency


Prior to the 2016 election, the Washington Post ran their Presidential podcast, covering each American president.

Since the election, they’ve had the Can He Do That podcast, exploring the limits of the office, and how those limits are being reshaped. Lots of controversies!

Similarly, The Atlantic has their Unpresidented series of videos.

If you go through pretty much any Social Studies standard, reading graphs and charts comes up somewhere. Americans size up Trump’s first 100 days, a graphic from the Washington Post, certainly meets that standard. It opens with a comparison of presidential approval/disapproval ratings for the first 100 days, going back to Eisenhower, before dissecting the current office-holder. (Polarization, anyone?)

Want to sound like the President – literally? There’s an app for that – for both Trump and Obama. What would your students like to hear the President say?

Some Presidents are easy to write about. Others, not so much… Telling Trump’s Story to Children – For Book Publishers, It’s Tricky


U.S. History – Civil War

Upon the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, both the Washington Post and the New York Times started series on the war.

The Washington Post ran their Civil War 150 series. Along with that has been a continuing series of articles: A House Divided.

For the New York Times it was their Disunion series. As a blog that runs from the end of the war back to the beginning, it may be a bit of a challenge to find specific posts/articles. Their Timeline for the series may help find specific time periods or events.

Need a project for your students? Like the Gettysburg Address? Have them do their own Learn The Address project.

Dropbox Links

Main level folders; number codes in subfolder and article names are MMYY so you can tell at a glance how current they are:

Teachers – includes folders for Art, Fashion, Foods, Geography, Health, Lang Arts, LOYO (Living On Your Own), Marketing, Math, Psychology, Science, and Sociology. There are also some uncategorized articles on the field of education in general (filed by date), and a few other items, that can be accessed from the main folder link.

Cartoons for the above areas: Education (mostly general school-related cartoons, plus folders for Debate, Language Arts, Math, Middle School, Psych, Science, and Social Studies), Art, Fashion, Food, Social Issues, and Tech.

Government – Lots of subfolders (too many to list here) on specific topics, plus some uncategorized articles on other topics by date.

History – World and U.S. history articles.

Religion – Specific religions, sects, and issues.

Extemp and Extemp Backfiles – My speech team folders on current events, both domestic and international. Divided into subfolders by country (of use to Geography teachers) or topic. The backfiles contain the older articles that I move to keep the main folder from getting too large. I usually update the Extemp folder weekly, for speech team reasons.

LD-Values – Lincoln-Douglas debate, which involves propositions of value. You’ll find a number of current even areas that often involve value issues. A lot of Sociology material can be found here. Explore!

LGBT Issues and LGBT-Same Sex Marriage – I pre-date the delisting of homosexuality as a mental illness, which translates to finding out that one of my best friends in high school, who happened to be gay, was given electroshock aversion therapy to ‘cure’ him of his homosexuality. I’ve tracked the issue ever since, and have a lot of former students and team members who aren’t cis-gendered. If you happen to be the sponsor of your school’s GSA (Gay-Straight Alliance) or equivalent organization, these articles might be useful.

Education – College – Of use to school counselors, students headed to college, and those who follow the issues in post-secondary education.

Teens – Want to animate your class discussion? These are articles that struck me as ones that involve issues that might trigger a lively class discussion.

PSci (Political Science) – My college major; articles for the diehard Social Studies teacher.

Other topic areas I track:

Abortion – I pre-date Roe v. Wade, so the topic has been of interest to me for a long time.

Affirmative Action – In spite of being a white male, I was hired as a minority once (telephone operator) under Affirmative Action guidelines.

Church-State – Separation, or lack thereof, between the two. Could have been included in the Government folder, but wasn’t.

Death Penalty


Gun Issues

Interp – Articles, often book reviews, for inspiration in finding cuttings for students doing Drama, Humor, or Duo Interp. Heavy on memoir reviews, since single-voice pieces are easier for new competitors.

Poetry – Articles, often book reviews, for inspiration in finding cuttings for students doing Poetry Interp. This one may be of use to Language Arts teachers.


Right To Die

Speech – Articles of use to coaching the speech team; may also be of use in a speech class.

Theater Reviews – For Drama/Humor/Duo Interp inspiration.