Web Resources | » Citizens in Action

Virginia Performs: Measuring What Matters to Virginians,

Commonwealth of Virginia

Virginia Performs is part of Virginia's open government initiative. The website includes information on Virginia's progress in areas such as health, education, and transportation. For example, users can find information on high school graduation rates in Virginia and surrounding states. The website also includes information on government initiatives to increase high school graduation rates. Questions to consider include: What is the role of state and local government? How are policy decisions implemented at a state and local level?

Virginia Ideas Forum,

Commonwealth of Virginia

The Virginia Ideas Forum offers a place for residents and citizens of Virginia to voice their suggestions and concerns to state officials. Other residents and citizens may comment and vote on these ideas. In addition, state officials offer responses on the forum. This website is an excellent place for individuals to become involved in government.

National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation,

National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation

The National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation is an organization that fosters mutual understanding surrounding difficult issues, as well as logical fact-based decision making. The website includes conflict-resolution models, and ways to implement these in your own community. In addition, there are details about active modes of civic involvement throughout the country. NCDD does not seek to influence what people believe. Rather, they try to give people the tools to discuss difficult issues and engage issues in a civic forum.

Political Cartoonists Index,

Daryl Cagle and ClassBrain

This website offers five lesson plans and associated political cartoons every day. Such frequent updates ensure that each lesson plan covers the latest issues. By necessity, each lesson plan is fairly brief. It offers a brief overview of background on the political cartoon, a list of discussion questions, the state where the cartoon was published, and links to articles about the issue. The main page also offers a comprehensive index of political cartoonists, which includes the Richmond Times-Dispatch and the Fredericksburg Freelance-Star, that visitors may want to use for research purposes or simply a quick laugh.

Virginia Service,

Virginia Office of Volunteerism and Community Service

Virginia Service is a portal for volunteer opportunities run by the Commonwealth of Virginia. Hands-on volunteering opportunities are an excellent way for students to learn about civic duty and good citizenship. In addition to a search feature of available volunteering opportunities, Virginia Service also describes some academic benefits of volunteering.

Political Activity for Public Servants (Hatch Act),

U.S. Office of Special Counsel

These Hatch Act guidelines outline the legal restrictions placed on government employees’ involvement in political activities. This website is aimed at state, federal, and local government officials, and it offers a window into potentially problematic areas of government. How may state and federal officials participate in political campaigns? When does it become a conflict of interest? These questions and more could form the basis of a classroom discussion or a research project.

Virginia Public Access Project,

VPAP

The Virginia Public Access Project is a non-profit, non-partisan organization which strives to provide information to the public about Virginia campaign donations through computer technology. Their website offers maps of where legislator’s donations come from, the size of their donations, and lists of contributors. There is also information on lobbyists, donors, vendors, and committees. In addition to using the wealth of information on this site, students may benefit from comparing it to the Virginia State Board of Elections Campaign Finance Website. How does a private group’s portrayal of campaign financing differ from the government website?

Virginia Voter Registration,

Virginia State Board of Elections

The Virginia State Board of Elections publishes voter registration information. Eligible citizens can use this site to register to vote, and get involved in the political process. Even those who can’t vote may use this website as a way to encourage friends of family members to vote.

Capitol Classroom: Games,

Virginia General Assembly

Capitol Classroom’s Games is a series of printable classroom games and classroom activities for students in grades K-12. Many games for younger students can be adapted for an older audience. A particularly relevant activity for older students is the Civics I.Q. test, which quizzes users on their participation in different levels of their civic involvement. This game shows that civic involvement is more than just voting in an election.

Rock the Vote,

Rock the Vote

Founded nearly twenty years ago, Rock the Vote works to involve students in the electoral process through many methods, including contemporary music, with artists ranging from Madonna to Snoop Dogg. There are also guides to voter registration campaigns, and even a Twitter feed. In addition, the website offers guides on how to mobilize young voters. Rock the Vote has remarkably flexible materials to involve youth in the electoral process at the state, national, or local level.