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***COMMUNICATOR UPDATE: March 2003***

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  • Cindy Koeppel
    COMMUNICATOR UPDATE: March 2003 Welcome to The Dirksen Congressional Center s Communicator - a web-based e-newsletter providing educators with news and ideas
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 24, 2003
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      COMMUNICATOR UPDATE: March 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 --
      http://www.webcommunicator.org

      ********************************************
      NEWS FROM THE DIRKSEN CENTER
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      <<< Congratulations! >>>

      The Dirksen Center congratulates the 2003 Congressional Research Awards
      recipients for receiving grants to study such topics as congressional
      intervention in defense budgeting, congressional oversight of the
      executive branch, and campaigns for the U.S. House. In addition,
      historians will explore the culture of violence in Congress in the
      antebellum years and the influence of incumbents in selecting
      congressional candidates at the turn of the 20th century.

      Recipients this year include Ph.D. candidates and faculty from the
      University of California at Berkeley, the University of
      Wisconsin-Madison, North Carolina State University, Yale University, the
      University of Iowa, and Michigan State University, among others.

      The Dirksen Center will distribute $35,862 in Congressional Research
      Awards to eleven projects in 2003. Since 1978, The Center has awarded
      over $585,000 to more than 315 research projects.

      A complete list of this year's Congressional Research Award recipients
      is posted at http://www.dirksencenter.org/grantcongresearchaward.htm

      <<< Family Site of the Day >>>

      World Village has cited Congress for Kids as the "Family Site of the
      Day" -- http://www.worldvillage.com/sitereviews/family.html?id=2059

      ********************************************************
      <<< THE ORGANIZATION OF CONGRESS >>>

      The Reapportionment Act of 1929 fixed the number of members of Congress
      and recognized that adding more seats to the House as the population
      grew would make it unwieldy. Resources posted on The Dirksen Center's
      Web suite - http://www.dirksencongressionalcenter.org - will help your
      students learn more about the organization and leadership of Congress.

      Every ten years, after each federal census, adjustments are made in the
      number of congressional districts - a process known as redistricting and
      reapportionment. Our CongressLink featured lesson plan will teach
      students about a census, help them understand the constitutional basis
      for it, learn how the census relates to congressional reapportionment
      process, and will help them understand and evaluate Democratic and
      Republican census proposals. Find "The U.S. Census: Enumeration and
      Representation" at: http://www.congresslink.org/lessonplans/census.html

      State legislatures usually draw congressional district lines, but
      federal courts sometimes draw districts when the original plans lose a
      constitutional challenge. The majority party, to maximize the chances
      for its candidates to win elections, often draws the boundaries.
      Governor Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts approved a bill in 1812
      creating such an oddly shaped district that his critics called it a
      "gerrymander." Learn more about gerrymandering and how it relates to the
      reapportionment and redistricting of congressional seats by completing
      the printable worksheet posted on Congress for Kids. Find "Congressional
      Districts: 108th Congress" at:
      http://www.congressforkids.net/games/houseofrep/2_legislativebranch.htm

      Members of Congress represent their constituents in different ways once
      elected to office. Some see themselves as delegates, obligated to vote
      the way the majority of the people in their districts want. Others
      consider themselves trustees, taking the views of their constituents
      into account but using their own best judgment or their conscience to
      vote. How do members of Congress make decisions about the votes they
      cast? To answer this question, CongressLink presents an interactive
      exercise using vectors that illustrates the process of congressional
      decisions. Find the PowerPoint presentation, "Understanding
      Congressional Decisions Through Vectors" at:
      http://www.congresslink.org/sitefeatures.htm#decision

      In elections, members of Congress have a clear advantage over
      challengers who want to unseat them. Do your students know why sitting
      members of Congress are almost always re-elected? Have them visit our
      AboutGovernment hot link of the month to learn why. Find "Why Are
      Sitting Members of Congress Almost Always Re-Elected?" at:
      http://www.aboutgovernment.org/legislativebranch.htm

      The composition and powers of Congress and the qualifications necessary
      for election are set forth by Article I of the U.S. Constitution --
      http://www.congresslink.org/article1.htm Yet there is no legal or
      constitutional job description for a member. Each one defines their
      individual duties and priorities. Find "What Members of Congress Do"
      at: http://www.congresslink.org/WhatMembersDo.htm

      Newly elected members of the House of Representatives meet at the
      beginning of each two-year congressional term to organize and select
      their leaders. Members of both parties hold organizational meetings
      where they elect their own leadership, adopt internal rules for how
      their party will operate, and draft their version of the institutional
      rules for the House. Find "Congressional Leadership Information" at:
      http://www.congresslink.org/leadershipbasics.htm Teachers, you may want
      to show your students what challenges congressional leaders face by
      using the CongressLink lesson plan, "Making Congress Work Through
      Leadership." Find this lesson at:
      http://www.congresslink.org/lessonplans/FMldr3.html

      <<<Featured Project>>>

      Our featured project this month is a $5,500 Michel Civic Education Grant
      awarded to Susan Potter on behalf of the Washington State Historical
      Society, the Olympia School District, and the Washington State
      Redistricting Commission. Susan's project, "Redistricting and
      Reapportionment: Curriculum Guide and Apportionment Game" is designed to
      teach legislative and congressional redistricting and reapportionment to
      students in grades 4 - 12 by developing a curriculum guide, a board
      game, a Web site featuring a virtual game, and a video that addresses
      the complex issues of redistricting and reapportionment. Learn more
      about this project and others at:
      http://www.dirksencenter.org/grantmichelciviced.htm#2001

      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 Final
      proposals for our next round of competition must be received by May 1,
      2003. If you have questions about the Robert H. Michel Civic Education
      Grants, contact Frank Mackaman at mailto:fmackaman@...

      <<< Learning Legislation Lingo >>>

      1. The U.S. states of the Southwest and West have gained
      representatives, and those of the Northeast and Midwest lost them,
      through the process called _____ that followed the last few federal
      censuses.

      2. True or False: The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that states may not
      place a legal limit on how many terms their elected congressional
      representatives may serve.

      3. Gov. Elbridge Gerry signed into law an 1812 elections bill that
      included a salamander-shaped congressional district sure to elect
      Republicans to office. As a result, strategically designed election
      districts are now called _____s, and the act of drawing such districts
      is called _____ing.

      4. A representative who considers it his or her job to express the
      district will of voters back home is often called a _____, whereas one
      who emphasizes his or her own best judgment is often called a _____.

      Answers to February's issue of "Fun, Facts, and Trivia" link here:
      http://www.webcommunicator.org/funfactstrivia0203ans.htm

      That's it for March! Spring is here! Encourage your colleagues to
      subscribe to the Communicator. If you have questions, comments, or
      suggestions, contact Cindy Koeppel at mailto:ckoeppel@...
      Your feedback makes a difference!
      ***************************************************
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