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September 23, 2020

Edward M. Kennedy Institute Launches “Today’s Vote in the Classroom” Online Legislative Curriculum for Middle and High Schoolers

“Today’s Vote in the Classroom” to support educators and students as key civics resource for conducting in-person and online legislative simulations

BOSTON – The Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate today announced the launch of “Today’s Vote in the Classroom” –– an online curriculum resource for helping teachers simulate the legislative process and examine real legislation in their middle and high school classrooms. Available to all educators at todaysvote.org, “Today’s Vote in the Classroom” is a two-day interactive online lesson plan that provides students the opportunity to role play as U.S. senators, discuss topics of importance, and cast their votes on real bills that have been introduced to Congress.

“We at the Kennedy Institute recognize that this moment of the coronavirus pandemic presents significant challenges for education, and that flexible resources are more essential than ever as teachers and students adapt lessons for hybrid and remote classrooms, and prepare for potential changes throughout the school year,” said Sarah Yezzi, Director of Education, Family and Youth Programming at the Kennedy Institute. “By bringing our successful in-person Today’s Vote program online, combined with the continued support offered by the Institute, we hope to be a valuable resource for educators and students during this time of remote leaning and beyond.”

The online lesson plan allows teachers to choose from current and past topics supported by policy background information, bill briefs, classroom presentations, and state and national curriculum standards. Curriculum topics include climate change, confederate memorials, voting rights restoration, minimum wage, and assault weapons, among many others. Lessons are conducted in four key steps: Explore the Issue; Create a Senate Profile; Preview the Bill; and Deliberate and Vote. Through the virtual lesson portal, teachers can also connect with knowledgeable staff members at the Kennedy Institute for guidance and support.

“My students love the Today’s Vote curriculum because it allows them to engage in the actual work of crafting and debating policy in the classroom,” said Glen Fant, U.S. History, Modern World History, and AP Government teacher at Arlington High School. “The materials provide scaffolding to help to build their confidence in research, public speaking, and negotiation, all while understanding the importance of hearing other viewpoints. I am very excited to use the new online resource and activities this year in my remote classroom.”

Full lesson plans and resources for the two-day “Today’s Vote in the Classroom” legislative simulations are available for download at todaysvote.org. The new "Today’s Vote in the Classroom” online offering is made possible through the generous support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

About the Edward M. Kennedy Institute
The Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate is dedicated to educating the public about the important role of the Senate in our government, encouraging participatory democracy, invigorating civil discourse, and inspiring the next generation of citizens and leaders to engage in the civic life of their communities. Learn more via www.emkinstitute.org.

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