How it works
Here are some sites explaining the system.
- Laure Peskine recommends an animation called "Electing a US President in Plain English" (level B1)
- a written version on Ben's Guide
- a shorter one
- an original written version with pictures on the BBc website, comparing the elections with base ball
- Brain Pop also offers useful Flash animations, but it doesn't always work and you may have to pay to access some videos or the subtitles.
Michelle Henry's page is packed with useful sites and ideas for the US elections:
You can also compare with the 2004 elections (Bush/Kerry) with these sites:
Most newspaper offer full coverage and special reports for the elections. For me the best and easiest for students is the different sections in the Election 2008 page of Time For Kids:
But there are also interestinf reports :
from the US bureau of International Information
from the New York Times (with a good guide on the issues)
from the BBC
Election 2008 webquest, from the académie de Paris
Electing a President from Pocantico Hills School, with a very short and visual presentation, a quiz and easy activities. (level A2)
Based on the Time For Kids pages, I designed a worksheet for my students to work from, level A2. There is a questionnaire and two texts. The students work in pairs, both have an empty information sheet with lines to fill in (some items are missing, they have to decide what they are, either in pairs or as a class), then one has Obama's profile, and the other Mc Cain's. They have to ask each other questions in order to find out the information about the other candidate and complete the questionnaire. I already did this worksheet about the 2004 US Presidential Election ad the students loved it. I have tried the 2008 version with two of my classes and it works well!
BBC learning English offers a short text level A2, about Obama's speech of acceptation (plus the audio file and a teacher's guide to download).
the full text and the video are there:
You can also find other speeches on You Tube, and the transcripts either in the special reports or on the website of the candidates:
Bac paper about Obama's book On e-teach, Sandrine Babayan recommends bac from March 2007 in Nouvelle Calédonie based on an extract from "dream from my father". You can download the text, the questions and the corrections from the e-teach shared document page.
Discover Sarah Palin
In the last edition of Time magazine, you can find an article about Sarah Palin and photos. Since she is a new character in the run and a woman, it might be interesting to introduce her to start a teaching unit about the elections.
And you'll find lots of reports, videos and information on this page from the Anchorage Daily News
See also this video of an interview by Charlie Rose (PBS), where she answers precise questions and says things like : "the best advice my father gave me was : "Never try to please everybody" "and "my main concern is to keep American safe". (level B2)