COMMUNICATOR UPDATE: April 2003
Welcome to The Dirksen Congressional Center's "Communicator" - a
web-based e-newsletter providing educators with news and ideas to
enhance civic education and improve the understanding of Congress --
NEWS FROM THE DIRKSEN CENTER
<<<Robert H. Michel Civic Education Grants>>>
***DEADLINE: May 1, 2003***
The Dirksen Congressional Center invites applications for grants
totaling $35,000 in the two selection rounds, October 2002 and May 2003,
to help teachers, curriculum developers, and others improve the quality
of civics instruction, with priority on the role of Congress in our
federal government. Areas of interest include designing lesson plans,
creating student activities, and applying instructional technology in
Teachers (4th through 12th grades), community college faculty, and
college and university faculty are eligible as are teacher-led student
teams and individuals who develop curriculum. Priority will be given to
the following disciplines: history, government, social studies,
political science, and education.
Institutions and organizations are eligible under certain conditions.
Inter-institutional consortia and other groups of individuals may apply,
but grant funds may not be used to defray indirect costs or overhead
expenses. The funds are intended solely to produce "deliverables" of use
to classroom teachers.
Final proposals must be e-mailed or postmarked by no later than May 1,
2003. Complete information about eligibility and application procedures
can be found at The Center's Web site --
The Center does not
provide an application form. You may find it helpful to review the
sample grant proposal at --
is the program officer -- mailto:fmackaman@...
<<< Congratulations CongressLink! >>>
"Tech Learning: The Resource for Education Technology Leaders" -
selected CongressLink as the site of the day based on its functionality,
content, design and organization, and use of technology. Find this
Selection criteria can be found at:
<<< Clickschooling Citation >>>
"Clickschooling: Curriculum Ideas for Homeschoolers" - searches the
Internet to recommend one educational Web site each day: Monday-Math;
Tuesday-Science; Wednesday-Language Arts; Thursday-History and Social
Studies; Friday-Virtual Field Trips, and Weekends are for electives -
art, music, foreign languages, and more. Congress for Kids, falling
under the history and social studies category, was recommended as the
site of the day on March 13.
<<< Government Printing Office -- GPO >>>
The United States government is well represented on the Internet. Many
government agencies have designed Web sites to disseminate information
and advertise products and services. Physical access to U.S. Government
Documents is important. In the age of the Internet, the complexity of
access can be navigated and achieved with the assistance of resources
posted on The Dirksen Center's Web suite -
U.S. government documents are essential in supporting teaching and
research in many academic departments, schools, and programs. Through
the Government Printing Office (GPO) and its predecessor agencies, the
government provides online access to a variety of information since
1790. Find our AboutGovernment hot link, "Government Printing Office
(GPO)" at: http://www.aboutgovernment.org/legislativebranch.htm
"GPO Access" is a service of the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO).
It links the public, at not cost, to electronic information available
from all three branches of the federal government. This reliable and
timely service can be found at: http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs/.
Access" includes the Congress Record, the official daily record of the
floor proceedings of the House and Senate. It reports on all floor
debates, including material submitted by the members in support of their
positions on various bills and issues of the day. The GPO publishes the
Congressional Record and offers an online, searchable database for 1995,
1996, and 1997. Find "The Congressional Record via GPO Access" at:
"GPO Access" also contains over 1,900 databases. Those that pertain to
Congress are listed below:
(1) Congressional Bills - Contains all published versions of each bill
(2) Congressional Directory - The official directory of the U.S.
Congress, prepared by the Joint Committee on Printing (JCP).
(3) Congressional Hearings - Meetings of a committee or subcommittee to
take testimony in order to gather information and opinions on proposed
legislation, conduct an investigation, or review the operation or other
aspects of a federal agency or program.
(4) Congressional Record - The official record of the debates and
proceedings of the House and Senate.
(5) Congressional Record Index - Serves as the index to the
(6) GAO Reports - Contain reports on audits, surveys, investigations,
and evaluations of federal programs conducted by the General Accounting
(7) History of Bills - Lists legislative actions on bills that are
reported in the "Congressional Record."
(8) House Journal - The official record of proceedings of each
legislative day in the House of Representatives.
(9) Public Laws - Contains laws signed by the President.
(10) United States Code - The codification by subject matter of the
general and permanent laws of the United States.
To link to resources that detail these legislative applications, find
"Government Printing Office" at:
Teachers can use many of these sources in combination. For example, the
Congressional Bills, History of Bills, Congressional Record, Public
Laws, and United States Code sources can be used to obtain a detailed
history of a bill. The "GPO Access" Training Manual is available on the
Internet in PDF format and includes a section that demonstrates how
various sources relate to each other. On page 47 of this training
manual, you will find an example of how to use "GPO Access" to obtain to
detailed history of a bill or to track legislation currently proposed in
Congress. Download the training manual at:
Teachers, do your students know that the executive branch of our
government is made up of more than two hundred different agencies and
corporations? These agencies and corporations administer government
programs in all areas of American life. We know many of these agencies
and corporations by their acronyms. Have your students polish up their
familiarity with the acronyms' names by taking the "Acquired American
Acronyms" quiz on Congress for Kids at:
<<< Featured Project >>>
This month our featured project is a $4,000 Robert H. Michel Civic
Education Grant awarded to Plainville High School in Connecticut. This
project, "Curriculum Units for Civics and American Government Courses,"
developed a comprehensive concept-based curriculum for both the civics
course and the American government course at Plainville High School.
Each curriculum unit will include Performance Based Learning and
Assessment tasks that engage students in learning about government.
Teachers will be able to determine what the students know and how they
apply their knowledge about the critical concepts in civics and
government. Learn more about this project and others at:
Do you have a project? Submit a grant proposal! For more information
about how to submit a Robert H. Michel Civic Education Grants proposal,
please visit: http://www.dirksencenter.org/grantmichelciviced.htm
<<< Department Dim or Agency Able? >>>
1. What U.S. government department or agency gathers strategic
information about other countries, evaluates it, and passes it on to the
A) General Services Administration
B) Central Intelligence Agency
C) Environmental Protection Agency
D) Bureau of Labor Statistics
2. Lobbyists for school administrators try writing letters, testifying
at agency hearings, and other ways to influence the decisions of what
U.S. government department or agency?
A) Department of Labor
B) Commerce Department
C) Department of Education
D) Food and Drug Administration
3. The United States Secret Service, which provides protection for the
president, vice president, and other officials, is a branch of the
A) Department of Justice
B) Department of Treasury
C) Department of Defense
D) Department of Labor
4. The main difference between private and government corporations is
A) One has a board of directors and the other has executive officers.
B) Investors support private corporations and Congress supports
C) One reinvests profits and the other returns them to taxpayers.
D) Private corporations are flexible and government corporations are
Answers to the March issue of "Fun, Facts, and Trivia" link here:
That's all for April! Encourage your colleagues to subscribe to the
Communicator. If you have questions, comments, or suggestions, contact
Cindy Koeppel at mailto:ckoeppel@...
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