Secondary Education

SHS Government Students Utilize 21st Century Skills to Promote Effective Political Discourse 

Last Updated on Feb 7, 2014 at 3:31pm | Secondary Education

     “Advanced Placement U.S. Government and Politics students at Southern Garrett High School are utilizing technology in their classroom activities that are geared at encouraging effective political discussion inside and outside of their regular classroom,” AP Government teacher Dave Bender said.

     As one of the highlights of Constitution Day week in September, students in Mr. Bender’s Honors Government course organized a Constitutional Convention which researched various ways the American system of government might be improved.   They also produced a Constitutional Convention “blog” called “Forming a More Perfect Union”.  The “blog” provided informational “posts” concerning Constitutional reform with the opportunity for students to “comment” on their opinions concerning the potential reforms.  
Recommended amendments included Congressional term limits, limited tenure for Supreme Court justices, non-partisan Congressional re-districting, balanced budget requirement, reforming the “electoral college” process, and changing the qualifications to run for president.  Students were also allowed to vote on amendments to the Constitution they personally supported or chose to vote against.  The “blog” can be found at http://   
     As part of a unit on political participation, these same students created a “one-stop” shopping website that provides links to telephone numbers, e-mail addresses and websites for government officials that represent Garrett County citizens at all levels of government.
“We wanted to make a space where Garrett Countians could go to find out how to contact their elected officials no matter what level of government was the focus on the concern. 
     The students also created a space (blog) where Garrett Countians could have healthy dialogue about issues that concern them.  The students learned a lot by researching the websites of every level of government in our country and discovering and applying important 21st Century learning skills,” Mr. Bender said.  “We hope this website becomes a valuable resource for citizens in our county and helps to foster an increase in the quantity and quality of political involvement of our county residents in local, state, and national politics.” 
                       The web address (url) for the student-created website is
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