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September 22, 2008

Thinking About the Election and The Debates

As with many people across the United States, and the world, my mind has been wrapped around the upcoming historic election and the upcoming debates. With the word "change" in the air, it has me wondering how students (and adults) can best reflect on their own thinking using Thinking Maps®. I am also interested--as are most teachers at this time--in having students LOOK at how their own experiences and beliefs, "The Media", "The Campaigns", and "Special Interest Groups" frame how they think about the election. The election is really an event that calls for critical thinking about the issues and reflection on how one's own frame of reference influences what and how we are thinking.

So here are a few examples from an "Election Guide" I put together for your use. Click here to download the whole guide! Read, Try it out and respond by getting back into this blog with your ideas. It will be great to hear from you about what you think of this guide. If you work in a whole school using Thinking Maps®, send the document to your colleagues. Even if they don't use it.... they may get some more ideas about how to use these tools as a foundation for thinking!

Examples from the complete Election Guide.
What are the characteristics that you believe are most important for the next president of the United States to have as a leader? Create a Bubble Map, and try to use adjectives or adjective phrases to describe these qualities (ex: honest). Put a Frame around your Bubble Map. Within the Frame note where these qualities are important in your life. How would you evaluate each candidate using these criteria?

One of the major issues of this campaign is America's involvement in the Iraq war. Let's analyze this important topic. Create a Multi-Flow Map and write "Obama: Remove the Troops." This is a simplification of Obama’s position, so discuss his solution in greater depth. What events and ideas cause Barack Obama to believe that this is the correct solution (add causes on the left). What are the effects of this solution, short and long term (extend the map to the far right for long term effects).

Now create a second Multi-Flow Map in the same way and explore John McCain’s view, writing "McCain: Stay until Victory is achieved" in the center of the map and show the causes and effects. Again, this is a simplification of McCain’s position, so discuss his solution in greater depth before further analysis.

David Hyerle
dhyerle@sover.net