Congress in Classroom 2009

Posted by on March 16, 2009


Deadline: April 15, 2009

Congress in the Classroom is a national, award-winning education program now in its 17th year. Developed and sponsored by The Dirksen Congressional Center, the workshop is dedicated to the exchange of ideas and information on teaching about Congress.

We designed Congress in the Classroom for high school or middle school teachers who teach U.S. history, government, civics, political science, or social studies. Forty teachers will be selected in 2009 to take part in the program. All online applications must be received by no later than April 15, 2009. We will notify individuals of our decisions by April 30, 2009.

Although the workshop will feature a variety of sessions, the 2009 program will focus on two themes:  (1) developments in the 111th Congress, and (2) new resources for teaching about Congress. The workshop consists of two types of sessions: those that focus on recent research and scholarship about Congress (and don’t always have an immediate application in the classroom) and those geared to specific ways to teach students about the federal legislature.

Throughout the program, you will work with subject matter experts as well as colleagues from across the nation. This combination of firsthand knowledge and peer-to-peer interaction will give you new ideas, materials, and a professionally enriching experience.

“Until now so much of what I did in my class on Congress was straight theory-this is what the Constitution says,” noted one of our teachers. “Now I can use these activities and illustrations to help get my students involved in the class and at the very least their community but hopefully in the federal government. This workshop has given me a way to help them see how relevant my class is and what they can do to help make changes in society.”

The 2009 workshop will be held Monday, July 27 – Thursday, July 30, at Embassy Suites, East Peoria, Illinois.

The program is certified by the Illinois State Board of Education for up to 22 Continuing Education Units. The program also is endorsed by the National Council for the Social Studies.

Participants are responsible for (1) a non-refundable $155 registration fee (required to confirm acceptance after notice of selection) and (2) transportation to and from Peoria, Illinois. Many school districts will pay all or a portion of these costs.

The Center pays for three nights lodging at the headquarters hotel (providing a single room for each participant), workshop materials, local transportation, all but three meals, and presenter honoraria and expenses. The Center spends between $30,000 and $35,000 to host the program each year.

What follows are the sessions planned for the 2009 edition of Congress in the Classroom®. Please re-visit the site for changes as the program develops.

The View from Capitol Hill
Aaron Schock, freshman member of the House of Representatives from Illinois’s 18th congressional district INVITED

Congressional Insight
A team-oriented, highly interactive simulation of a Congress member’s first term CONFIRMED

The Ten Most Important Things to Know About the U.S. House of Representatives
Raymond Smock, Director of the Robert C. Byrd Center for Legislative Studies, Shepherd University and former Historian of the House CONFIRMED

The Ten Most Important Things to Know About the U.S. Senate
Betty K. Koed, Assistant Historian, U.S. Senate Historical Office CONFIRMED

How We Developed the Art and History Sections of the New Capitol Visitor Center
Maria Marable-Bunch and Carol Beebe, Public Programs Division, Capitol Visitor Center CONFIRMED

Resources for Teachers from the House of Representatives
Kathleen Johnson, Historical Publications Specialist, Office of History and Preservation, Office of the Clerk, U.S. House of Representatives CONFIRMED

Teaching with Primary Sources:  The Library of Congress’s Teaching with Primary Sources (TPS) program
Cindy Rich, Project Director, Teaching with Primary Sources, Eastern Illinois University CONFIRMED

What Do Our Students See When They Look at Congress?
Jeffrey Bernstein, Department of Political Science, Eastern Michigan University CONFIRMED

The Congressional Glossary Project
Michael Kirby, FedNet CONFIRMED

Evaluating the New President:  What Factors Account for Success in the Oval Office?
Frank H. Mackaman, The Dirksen Congressional Center CONFIRMED

How to Get Your Point Across to Congress Members
Stephanie Vance, Advocacy Associates, Washington, DC CONFIRMED

The Influence of the Internet on Political Information and Engagement
Julie Barko Germany, Director, Institute for Politics, Democracy & the Internet, The George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management CONFIRMED

Setting Up a Congressional Office
Congressional Management Foundation INVITED

Take a look at The Dirksen Center Web site – — to see what participants say about the program.

If you are interested in registering for the Congress in the Classroom® 2009 workshop, you can complete an online registration form found at:

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