Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Analysis of a real-life bill

Today you were supposed to look at a bill currently in Congress and analyze it. The questions for analyzing are in the make up tray.

The bill we analyzed was H.R 7110 about economic stimulus and job creation. This is an appropriations bill and remember appropriations is a fancy word for government spending. Appropriations bills are the only kind of bill that must start in the house of representatives. Any other kind of bill can begin in either.

Here are some resources for researching the bill:

Monday 10/6: Mrs. Abshire is absent

I was sick:(

While I was gone the assignment was to complete the end of chapter questions for ch. 11.

Friday 10/3: Election Update and Committees

On Friday you got an election update about how the candidates for U.S. president felt about the war in Iraq. For later classes we found out in real time that the U.S. Congress and President Bush agreed to pass the $700 Billion bail out package for the economy.

Don't forget: watch any of the debates between presidential candidates and tell me what they said about the issues for extra credit. It will replace your lowest classwork grade!

When we got to work on Congress, we remembered from the days before that the most important step to a bill becoming a law is when the bill is in committee. A LOT is decided there.
We practiced assigning bill to committee. For example, a bill about government spending would go to the appropriations committeel; a bill about a treaty with another country would go to the foreign relations committee; a bill amending the No Child Left Behind Act would go to the committee on Education and Labor; a bill proposing a $700B bailout of the economy would go to the joint economic committee.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

U.S. Congress Research Project

Today we began a research project that requires you to use reliable internet resources to research the background, voting record of certain members of Congress as well as the leadership structure of Congress. You will find the research questions and rubric about the project in the makeup work tray in the classroom.

The most common mistake made today that you need to avoid is that people were choosing to research a member of the Texas Congress rather than the United States Congress. Make sure your choices in research are about United States Congress at the federal level.

Some very helpful websites for completing this research project are:

If you choose to use other websites that's fine but be careful. Some of the websites you find on the internet were written by random people and don't have any credibility, and sometimes it's hard to tell what these sites are. For example, wikipedia is a popular place to look up topics but it is not necessarily credible because anyone can go on the website and change things. Be careful when you're researching. Usually anything you find on the school district's library resources page will be good.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

How a bill becomes a law

You're never too old for cartoons, especially educational ones. If you are not on an SBISD internet connection I suggest you go to youtube and look up the school house rock song, "I'm just a bill". (If you are on an SBISD computer, try teachertube) We watched "I'm just a bill" today to figure out the steps for how a bill becomes a law. If you were absent today, you need to go to the make up work tray and get the scrambled steps for how a bill becomes a law, cut them out and glue them to a piece of paper in the correct order.

Remember, the most important step in a bill becoming a law is when the bill is in committee. Go to http://www.access.gpo.gov/congress/ to see the list of different committees and to see what they're up to.

New Unit: Congress

On Monday we began a new unit, and for the next few weeks we will be studying how the Legislative branch that we call Congress works. Your first assignment was to explore Article 1 of the U.S. Constitutions and answer questions about it. You will find the questions in the make-up work tray in the classroom. You should have also outlined Article 1 in your copy of the Constitution.

Here is some vocabulary that you should know:

•Expressed Powers-
powers the Constitution specifically grants to the national government

•Implied powers
- inferred from the express powers that allow Congress to carry out its functions.

For example the constitution specifically says that the Congress is allowed to coin money. But nowhere does it say they were allowed to charter a bank. But the power to coin money implies that you need a bank to put it in so the Congress used the Necessary and Proper Clause also known as the Elastic clause to say that they have to power to create a bank.

Another example is that the Constitution specifically grants the Congress the power to Declare War but no where does it say that it gives the government power to collect intelligence. But the power to declare war implies the need to fight war effectively so the government created the CIA.

Over time the Elastic clause has allowed the National government to expand its power.