The Choices Blog

History and Current Issues for the Classroom

Month: July 2011

Maine Teachers Use “Protests, Revolutions, and Democratic Change” TWTN Lesson for Innovative Project

Media coverage of pro-democracy protests across the Arab world – collectively known as the Arab Spring – has captured the world’s attention. Amy Sanders (Social Studies teacher) and Cathy Wolinsky (Instructional Technology Integrator) at Yarmouth High School in Yarmouth, Maine, seek classroom partners for a collaborative study of the Arab Spring. The project, modeled after the Flat Classroom Project, will begin in early October and last approximately one month. Utilizing the CHOICES Teaching with the News lesson, “Protests, Revolutions, and Democratic Change,” the project envisions students working in international collaborative teams to learn more about the protest movements in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Syria, Yemen, and Bahrain. Students also will be asked to reflect on what they have learned and connect this to their experiences with democracy. If you would like to join the project or would like more information, please visit: or contact Amy Sanders at

The Debt Ceiling Debate

In less than two weeks, the Obama administration says the federal government will run out of money to pay its bills unless Congress raises the nation’s $14.3 trillion borrowing limit. Congress is now in a contentious debate with the White House on whether to raise the debt ceiling. Liberal Democrats oppose deep spending cuts, while conservative Republicans refuse to raise taxes, putting the nation at an impasse. If Congress does not raise the limit, the government will likely be forced to default on its debt, which has never happened in U.S. history. The results, most say, would create economic catastrophe.

Since 1980, the debt ceiling has been raised 39 times. With the deadline looming, Brown University political scientist Wendy Schiller explains what makes this time so different.

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