A. Instruction - 8.3
B. Design - 9.5
C. Engagement - 7.3
Countable: A Top Resource for Current Events
Summary : Making Current Legislative Relevant!
Countable allows users to quickly gain information and voice their opinion about social, political, and cultural issues being debated by the government. To engage Countable, users must first register with the website by entering in their email or social media information. Next, users are able to access Countable’s home screen, which shows them a variety of legislative topics being presented to the congress. When users found a topic of interest, they can click on it to access: (1) an overview of the bill, (2) people’s opinions about the bill and share their own, (3) details of the bill including links to its full text, and (4) activities that explain where the bill is in the legislative process. With the Bills, Profiles, and Issues dropdown menus at the top of the screen, users can browse more specifically by topic. Lastly, all the materials and information found on the Countable website can be shared on Facebook and Twitter.
- To frame a class debate, teachers can choose the “Issues” button and select a topic by tapping it. Teachers can then connect their computer to a projector to show students the issue they will be debating. Next, the teacher can form groups of 3-5 students and have each group locate the item in this website from their device. The groups can then read about the issue and vote on it. Additionally, each group will have to compose a paragraph that provides a rationale explaining their perspective on the topic. Finally, the teacher can moderate a class debate by calling on groups to share their thoughts and allowing times for groups to respond to each other’s thoughts.
- As a writing prompt, students can explore this website for a topic that interests them. Once found, students can compose an essay where they express their opinion regarding the topic. To format the essay, students can first introduce and summarize the topic in the first paragraph. Next, students can compose a thesis statement that voices their stance about the topic. Students can then compose additional paragraphs that each makes points in support of their thesis statement. Student essays can be written using the Quip, Office Offline, or WPS Office app, and the essays can be both emailed to their teacher for grading and shared with classmates by posting to a class website.
- To develop academic argumentative skills, pairs of students can select or be assigned an issue to debate from this website. Students can then be given time to research the topic. When ready, the pair of students can debate the topic in front of the class using a “point-counterpoint” format. At the debate’s conclusion, the students who observed it can vote on the issue and write a short rationale that justifies their vote.
- After becoming familiar with the issues in this website, students can research a local issue and create a website using the Jimdo or Weebly app to bring awareness to it. On the website, students can include what a “Yea” and “Nay” vote means in addition to supplying background information regarding it.