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  Welcome To The Education Resource!

April 21-28, 2011

This Week We Feature Capitol Classroom

The widespread news coverage of the Washington State Legislature's ongoing struggle to reach agreement on this year's state budget provides an opportunity to introduce classroom activities that not only create interest but can also generate responsibility for how government procedures and processes work. Most students do not have a personal investment in bills and laws that can affect them, their families, schools, and neighborhoods. And, with Civics components now required in state Social Studies classrooms, teachers are constantly looking for ways to encourage students to become informed, engaged citizens and to help civics education and local issues come alive.

Enter Capitol Classroom -- a new education program that lets students participate directly in the legislative process at the State Capitol via TVW video connection. With Capitol Classroom, students and teachers work closely with lobbyists in Olympia to choose a piece of legislation to support or oppose. Then, through video connections with TVW's studio in Olympia, students communicate directly with the lobbyists who testify on their behalf during committee hearings for the legislation they have chosen. They also hear from bill sponsors, proponents and opponents of the legislation, and local legislators. The goal of Capitol Classroom is to provide a rich and immersive learning experience by investing students in the legislative process and connecting them directly with professionals in Olympia. Capitol Classroom is funded, in part, through grant support from the Charlotte Y. Martin Foundation and the Henry M. Jackson Foundation.

Currently, Wenatchee and Evergreen High Schools are using Capitol Classroom/ Teaching with TVW with positive results. Interested in using this multimedia resource in your classroom? Classrooms need only internet access, an LCD projector or Smartboard, and a computer equipped with a camera, a microphone, and Skype capability to participate in Capitol Classroom. For more information, contact  program managers at teachwithtvw@tvw.org.

Testimonials on the Capitol Classroom webpage come from students, teachers, and local politicians. One student named Richard reflected, "We use TVW to look at the budget meeting, and to watch it on the floor, and have a real life understanding of what's going on. It was easier to understand watching it. I would definitely use TVW in the future, it would be a great source. Unlike some TV where they cut certain things out, they don't let us know the whole story, I can go online and watch the whole thing right there. It doesn't cut anything out. You can find what you want instantly." 

Image of protesters at capitol building 1970. Courtesy Museum of History & Industry

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