Be a Texas Voter.org
Instructor Guide

 

INTRODUCTION

The League of Women Voters of Texas in partnership with Dallas County Community Colleges created this voter education series to help instructors educate young people in understanding their role as citizens in our state.

The six modules in the series consist of learning resources that encourage students to think about civic responsibilities and the importance of participating in the voting process. Each module has been prepared in compliance with the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) social studies requirements, the Student Learning Outcomes published in the Academic Course Guide Manual (ACGM 2018), and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) Texas Core Curriculum. (See chart at end of page.)

Representatives of the League of Women Voters and faculty of Dallas County Community Colleges have approved the materials included on website. Periodic reviews of content are conducted to ensure timely updates to information.

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TARGET AUDIENCE

The modules at beatexasvoter.org are designed to assist instructors in teaching high school, dual credit, and college level students about the importance of voting. Although the website is aimed primarily at secondary and higher ed instructors, the materials are freely available to teachers at any level and to any organization or individual involved in educating the public about the importance of voting.

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LEARNING OUTCOMES

Students who complete all six modules should be able to:

  • Register to vote and cast a ballot.
  • Locate essential information about elections in their precincts.
  • Discuss the importance of active voter participation at all levels of governance.
  • Explain why voting or not voting makes a difference in their personal lives.

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HOW TO USE THE WEBSITE

The purpose of the beatexasvoter.org website is to provide instructors with easy access to curated materials they can use in either online courses or face-to-face classrooms. The design of the modules encourages flexible use of the content. Modules or portions of modules can be used in any sequence as standalone instruction or integrated into existing Social Sciences and Government curriculums.

It is not the intention of the developers that instructors will provide direct links to students to beatexasvoter.org. The html webpages can be copied in part or in their entirety and then pasted into word processing or text editing applications, learning management systems, or other websites that instructors use to develop lessons. Instructors are encouraged to select and edit the materials to meet the needs of their students in terms of skills, maturity, and abilities.

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HOW TO USE THE CONTENT

Each module follows the same organization: an overview that provides alignments and summarizes the instructional strategies, activities that facilitate interaction between students, and resources that broaden student learning experiences.

Overview

Standards
The first section of the Overview lists alignments between the module and the Texas Core Curriculum. (See chart at end of page.)

Content Overview
A brief summary of content covered in each module is included in the Overview. Following are summaries from the six modules:

Module 1 surveys common perceptions about voting and the effects of non-participation in the voting process. Topics covered include voter turnout rates in different types of elections and in different segments of the population; and the impact of voter turnout on election results; and the impact of voter turnout in determining future policies.

Module 2 examines the direct impact of decisions made by elected officials on our daily lives and the role of cultural values in determining voting habits. The connection between civic duties, such as voting and government services, is considered. Major milestones in civil rights movements are also reviewed.

Module 3 demonstrates the voter registration process, discusses voter eligibility, and examines issues related to the registration process. Students explore ways to make the process more efficient.

Module 4: Americans have a strong tradition of electing leaders. In Texas, we elect many leaders – school boards, mayors and councils, judges, county officials, state officials and federal officials. We also vote on other things like whether our cities and school districts will be allowed to incur debt, whether our state constitution will be amended, and on and on. We Texans are asked to vote all the time for many different candidates and issues. It’s how we make democracy work. In this module, we look at the major types of elections and examine issues associated with each type.

Module 5: A critical skill to develop in becoming an informed voter is separating fact from fiction. This module helps students locate reliable sources of voting information and guides them in evaluating the credibility of information.

Module 6: This module informs students on the specifics of voting in Texas and asks them to consider what could be done to encourage more people to vote. Activities reinforce the importance of confirming voter registration and locating current information on precincts and polling locations. Students also consider how existing laws and policies impact voter participation.

Grade Level
Learning materials and activities in all modules include options that are suitable for Grades 11-12 and college level students. These materials can also be modified for other age groups. (see: Target Audience)

Essential Question and Objectives
Following is a compilation of the essential questions and objectives from each module. The Depth of Knowledge level is also included in parentheses at the end of each learning objective.

Module & Essential Question

Module Objectives

  1. When and Where Do I Vote?
  1. Use online tools to confirm voter registration and acceptable forms of voter ID. (Level 1)
  2. Locate polling places for early and election day voting. (Level 1)
  3. Describe three voting systems used in Texas. (Level 2)
  4. Explore alternate methods of voting that might increase voter participation. (Level 2)
  1. Does My Vote Matter?
  1. Explain why voting participation is important to your community. (Level 3)
  2. Discuss the role of activism in securing voting rights. (Level 2)
  3. Predict a difference that becoming a Texas voter can make in your life. (Level 2)
  1. How Do I Register To Vote?
  1. List five basic qualifications of voting eligibility. (Level 1)
  2. Identify places/ways to register to vote. (Level 1)
  3. Discuss issues that create barriers to efficient registration. (Level 2)
  1. What Am I Voting For?
  1. List the steps in the election process for the different types of elections. (Level 1)
  2. Describe how candidates are selected in Texas to run in the general election for federal, state, and county offices. (Level 2)
  3. Explain how partisan elections differ from non-partisan elections. (Level 3)
  4. Describe how electoral systems influence voters and election outcomes. (Level 2)
  1. Where Do I Find Information?
  1. Locate reliable sources of information about candidates and issues. (Level 2)
  2. Assess the accuracy of information (online and print) about upcoming elections. (Level 3)
  1. When and Where Do I Vote?
  1. Use online tools to confirm voter registration and acceptable forms of voter ID. (Level 1)
  2. Locate polling places for early and election day voting. (Level 1)
  3. Describe three voting systems used in Texas. (Level 2)
  4. Explore alternate methods of voting that might increase voter participation. (Level 2)

 

Materials
Instructors have the option to either link to the module’s video in their lesson plan or embed the code into their own html platform. Specific instructions for embedding the video are included in this section.

Reading Assignments
Links are provided to open source materials that are freely available. For the OpenStax textbook, instructors have the option to download and print the content or they can provide students with link(s) to read the material online. Please read the copyright information and observe the Terms of Use for all assignments.

A range of ability levels are included so instructors can select material that is appropriate for their students. Some assignments also include review questions that instructors may want to assign and collect for a grade.

Activity Questions and Student Handouts
All questions and handouts can be copied directly from the Activity section and modified to fit the instructor’s format.

Activities

The instructional sequence for all modules begins with a Hook Activity, also known as an anticipatory set or advance organizer. This activity introduces content and helps students connect to prior knowledge as they prepare to learn new material. Most Hook Activities consist of true/false questions that instructors read to the class and then discuss answers in a large group setting. Another option is to copy and paste the questions into handouts created by the instructor. Some modules also include pair/share activities or large group discussions that can be used instead of true/false questions. Overall, the activity is not designed to be a formal, graded assessment, but it can be used as an informal measure of class participation.

The next step in the sequence is for students to view the video. Students should enjoy the short, engaging scripts, but also take away basic concepts and knowledge that will be further explored in the reading assignment and assessments. A brief summary of video content is included for the instructor’s reference below each embedded video.

The followup discussions are designed to reinforce the essential question posed in the video. Vocabulary may also be introduced at this point, depending on the students’ grade level and experience. Terminology and definitions for vocabulary work, if elected, should be based on the Reading Assignment.
Guided reading suggestions for the Reading Assignment are provided in the format of either a series of bulleted study questions or Talk/Read/Talk/Write. This approach is intended to deepen students’ understanding of the content and minimize the need for instructor lectures.

The research and discussion assignments that follow the reading component cover a wide range of topics and abilities. Instructors should choose options that are appropriate for their students and modify assessments to ensure student success.

Resources

Additional links to instructional and supplemental materials are provided in this section. If used effectively, these resources can help instructors guide students in furthering their knowledge and developing a deeper understanding of concepts presented in each module.

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ALIGNMENT CHART

The following chart maps the alignments between standards and modules.

TEKS

Module

USG.3 Geography. The student understands how geography can influence U.S. political divisions and policies. The student is expected to:

  1. Understand how population shifts affect voting patterns.
4
USG. 10 Government. The student understands the processes for filling public offices in the U.S. system of government. The student is expected to:

  1. compare different methods of filling public offices, including elected and appointed offices at the local, state, and national levels.
4
USG.11 Citizenship. The student understands the role of political parties in the U.S. system of government. The student is expected to:

 

  1. analyze the function of political parties and their role in the electoral process at local, state, and national levels;
3, 4, 6
  1. explain the two-party system and evaluate the role of third parties in the United States
1, 4
  1. identify opportunities for citizens to participate in political party activities at local, state, and national levels.
6
USG.14 Citizenship. The student understands the difference between personal and civic responsibilities. The student is expected to:

 

  1. understand the responsibilities, duties, and obligations of citizenship such as being well informed about civic affairs, serving in the military, voting, serving on a jury, observing the laws, paying taxes, and serving the public good;
1, 2, 5
  1. understand the voter registration process and the criteria for voting in elections.
1, 2, 3, 6
USG.15 Citizenship. The student understands the importance of voluntary individual participation in the U.S. constitutional republic. The student is expected to:

 

  1. analyze the effectiveness of various methods of participation in the political process at local, state, and national levels;
1, 2, 3
  1. analyze historical and contemporary examples of citizen movements to bring about political change or to maintain continuity;
2
  1. understand the factors that influence an individuals political attitudes and actions.
1, 2
USG.17 Culture. The student understands the relationship between government policies and the culture of the United States. The student is expected to:

 

  1. evaluate a U.S. government policy or court decision that has affected a particular racial ethnic, or religious group such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the U.S. Supreme court cases of Hernandez v. Texas and Grutter V. Bollinger, and
2
  1. explain changes in American culture brought about by government policies such as voting rights, the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944 (GI Bill of Rights), the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, affirmative action, and racial integration.
2
USG.20 Social Studies Skills. The student applies critical-thinking skills to organize and use information acquired from a variety of valid sources, including electronic technology. The student is expected to:

  1. analyze and evaluate the validity of information, arguments, and counterarguments from primary and secondary sources for bias, propaganda, point of view, and frame of reference.
5
USG.22 Social Studies Skills. The student uses problem solving and decision-making skills, working independently and with others, in a variety of ways. The student is expected to:

 

  1. use a problem-solving process to identify a problem, gather information, list and consider options, consider advantages and disadvantages, choose and implement a solution, and evaluate the effectiveness of the solution; and
3
  1. use a decision-making process to identify a situation that requires a decision, gather information, identify options, predict consequences, and take action to implement a decision
3

ACGM Student Learning Outcomes

GOVT 2305/2306. Upon successful completion of this module, students will be able to:

  • Identify the rights and responsibilities of citizens.
  • Analyze the election process
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
  • Analyze issues and policies in U.S. politics
1, 2, 4, 5, 6
THECB Texas Core Curriculum Objective
Critical Thinking – to include creative thinking, innovation, inquiry, and analysis, evaluation and synthesis of information.

  • Critical thinking can be demonstrated in assignments that require students to complete analyses of texts, data, or issues.
  • Assignments focused on the evaluation of information sources and student reflection may also be appropriate.
5

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TOOLS FOR INSTRUCTORS

The following links to applications may be useful in implementing or supplementing the instructional material provided in the modules.

Quizlet TX Govt 2306 (Ch. 4-6):
https://quizlet.com/125238114/tx-govt-2306-ch-4-6-flash-cards/


Quizlet, Govt 2306 Chapters 4 & 5:
https://quizlet.com/44704432/govt-2306-chapters-4-and-5-flash-cards/


Quizlet, Texas Politics Today – Chapter 4
https://quizlet.com/98760604/texas-politics-today-chapter-4-flash-cards/


Nearpod
Ready to teach, interactive lessons for all K-12 grades and subjects
https://nearpod.com/


Pear Deck
Bring interactive, engaging slide presentations to your classroom. Real-time formative assessments and discussions enhance understanding and empower your students’ learning process.
https://www.peardeck.com/


Poll Everywhere
Engage students in real time on their devices. Our clicker-free classroom response system improves learning outcomes, and fills the diverse needs of educators and students around the world.
https://www.polleverywhere.com/classroom-response-system

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beatexasvoter.org is a voter education series produced by the
League of Women Voters of Texas and Dallas County Community Colleges.

For assistance or to report broken links contact: League of Women Voters of Texas

Address:
1212 Guadalupe St. #107
Austin, TX 78701

Phone: (512) 472-1100
Email: lwvtexas@lwvtexas.org