The title "C-Span" displayed on a computer monitor.Have you ever watched C Span on TV?

Ok, it might have been a little boring. And 50, 60… 90% of what’s on C Span live is going to be dull. But there are tons of little gems and tidbits in there.

Did you know that much of what is aired on C Span’s network of stations is archived on their website for you to access and play via the Internet? That includes floor proceedings for the House and Senate, Committee Hearings, Campaign Events, National Conventions, and many other major political events and speeches. There is a virtually endless amount of material for you to pull from to use in class.

Now, it certainly isn’t all extremely useful stuff. But, this is a great planning resource if you’re teaching modern U.S. history or government and politics. Take a little time (or a lot of time) to sift through their video library and you’ll certainly find some gems to watch with your students. I’m sure you could even put together a collection of videos for us in some webquests, if you want to use them in a more student centered way than just watching a single clip together.

C Span also produces a website specifically for teachers – C Span Classroom. They basically sift through the vast C Span archive for you, categorizing some potentially useful video clips by topic that you can use in class.

Last week, my AP Government class started it’s unit on Congress. Coincidentally, that was the day after the 113th Congress began. We watched a few clips of the House Proceedings from that day to get a more concrete idea of how the House does business, before we launched into a more nuanced discussion of the Constitution and Congress.

For today, I think I’ll leave it at that. However, I’ve been using C Span clips a lot in my class this year, since I’m teaching AP Government and Politics. I’m also considering applying for the C Span Teacher Fellowship for this summer. So, as an exercise in thinking about how best to utilize C Span in the classroom, I might run a weeklong series of posts about it in the future with some more specific tips, topics, and lesson ideas.