By Megan McClure
It’s a familiar nightmare to many: In some way, shape or form, you find yourself standing at the front of a classroom of children, all looking up at you, ready to hear something interesting.
Your heart races and your hands sweat as you gaze into their expectant—or bored—faces as they wait for you to speak. This bad dream can come close to reality for lawmakers wishing to go out into their communities and speak with students about civics, state legislatures and American representative democracy.
So how do you prepare to walk into a classroom full of students—who may or may not be excited to see you—and teach them about your role as a legislator and how state legislatures fit into American government? How do you engage with them, make sure you hit the key points, and, perhaps hardest of all, make a connection with future voters as you bring these concepts to a personal level in hopes of fostering new civically engaged citizens with increased understanding and interest?
Never fear! NCSL is here to help with the new and improved, Legislators Talking Points Card!
One side is filled with tips on what kids need to know about their state legislature—and how to prepare for your visit. The reverse side features suggested activities for all grade levels that will reinforce the lessons of representative democracy and the legislative process.
Legislators inhabit a unique space to interact with citizens and promote civic engagement and participation in all areas of American democracy. And NCSL is proud to support you as you seek to engage with students and help guide your efforts in visiting classrooms or inviting students to the capitol.
For more information and resources or to receive a high-quality laminated Talking Points Card, email Civics at NCSL at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Megan McClure is a senior staff assistant in NCSL's Legislative Staff Services Program.