The theme for the Democratic National Convention in Denver is One Nation. Great theme to get everyone involved ....including future voters who will live with the consequences of our decisions.
Would you like to know what the future voters -- today's teens -- think about all this and about issues facing the nation? What do they think of the Democratic ticket -- Obama and Biden? The Republican National Convention is next week starting on September 1. What will students think about McCain's choice of running mate? We will all have a chance with a timely project from the National Writing Project, (www.nwp.org), a non-profit dedicated to improving writing in the schools.
To start off this school year, the National Writing Project, together with Google Docs is sponsoring a program called Letters to Our Next President: Writing Our Future to encourage young Americans to write a letter to the candidates letting them know their views on the issues.
Tell all the teachers you know.
Any middle school or high school teacher in the country is eligible to sign up to publish their students' work. They can work with whole classes, specific groups of students, after school clubs, or any combination of young people. So if you are a teacher reading this, this is a great way to get kids involved in the upcoming elections and help their writing.
If you are a parent or community member, then this is a great suggestion you can make to your child's teacher or local school. Kids want to be heard and this gives them a way to be part of the discussion.
As a longtime teacher in Palo Alto, I can tell you that kids love to write for a real audience; it motivates them and this project gives them a national audience and also gives adults an opportunity to see what teens are thinking about our national politics.
Here is the way to get involved: Go to the National Writing Project website and all the instructions are there.
We as a nation are worried about our children's writing. Here is a perfect opportunity to give students a valuable writing experience.
Google has added a special resource called Election Tools for Teachers.
A special blog I wrote for teachers about the project can be found on HotChalk.com at 21st Century Teacher.
Additonal resources can be found at Resources for Teaching About the Presidential Election , including the National Student/Parent Mock Election, the League of Women Voters, One Vote 2008, Rock the Vote, and Googlitics.
This is a great opportunity to get students to learn writing techniques while speaking out on what is important to them.
We can all read the letters and we can hope the next President will read them too.
Here is the Timeline
August: Registration for teachers opens
September 8: Registration for teachers closes
September 16: Letters to the Next President: Writing Our Future website launches for teachers
September 24: Letters to the Next President: Writing Our Future website launched for public
October 30: Deadline for teachers to publish student writing at the Letters to the Next President: Writing Our Future website
Disclaimer: I am a long time high school journalism teacher at Palo Alto High School, Palo Alto, CA, but I also have children who are either employed by or otherwise have a financial interest in Google. I am not employed by Google and own no Google stock.