CITIZEN ACTION POINTS 1st SEMESTER DUE DATE: 1/13/11 or 1/14/11
AMERICAN GOVERNMENT 2010-2011
A democracy depends upon citizens being involved and informed. Each individual has responsibilities
in being an active citizen and cooperative member of society. Each student must complete 6 C.A.P’s
for 1st semester. C.A.P’s make up 10% of your semester grade and will be calculated as follows
100% = 6 C.A.P’s
90% = 5 C.A.P’s
80% = 4 C.A.P’s
70% = 3 C.A.P’s
60% = 2 C.A.P’s
50% = 1 C.A.P’s
0% = 0 C.A.P’s
Not completing this will have an adverse effect on your semester grade. To help you I will put
information about C.A.P opportunities on the bulletin board that will let you know of upcoming events
Each of the C.A.P. write ups must be typed with 12 pt, Times New Roman font. The page requirements
for each category are complete pages, not half or three quarter pages (unless specifically noted as a
half page write up). All pages should be double spaced. Write ups should be headed with YOUR
NAME followed by the C.A.P. CATEGORY. The date of when the C.A.P was done, not when you wrote
it up, must also be included in the heading. If there is any question about the category you may not
REQUIRED FOR CREDIT (MUST DO 1 OF EACH):
1. PUBLIC MEETING OF GOVERNING BODY
In order to fulfill this requirement, I recommend you attend a city council meeting for either Boise
or Meridian. However, you may also attend any public meeting, such as planning and zoning, Ada
County Highway District (ACHD), A town meeting called by an elected official or a candidate forum.
Write a 2 page summary of the meeting. This paper must include an opening paragraph that details
what public meeting you attended, where it was held, date and time of attendance. The body of the
paper should include issues discussed and solutions or recommendations made at the meeting. The
final paragraph(s), minimum of ½ page must include your personal opinions and observations from
the issues discussed and the meeting in general.
*Minimum: 2 hours or to the conclusion of the meeting.
2. MAGAZINE NEWS ARTICLE
Read a magazine article from a periodical like Time, U.S. News and World Report, Newsweek, etc. or
an on-line news source. Choose an article at least 3 pages in length that focuses on a national or
international issue relating to government. A proper APA format citation must be at the top of the
paper (See Handout). Following the citation should be a 2 page summary. The summary should
include an overview of the issue and an evaluation. The evaluation should include your opinion and
reaction to the topic and its effect on society.
3. TV NEWS PROGRAM
In order to fulfill this requirement you must watch any one of the following programs:
Newshour w/ Jim Lehrer – 6-7pm PBS Nightline
O’Reiley Factor – 6 and 9pm M-F FOXNEWS Hannity and Colmes – 7pm M-F FOXNEWS
Meet the Press – 9am Sunday MSNBC On the Record w/ Greta – 8pm M-F FOXNEWS
Lou Dobbs Tonight – 4-5pm M-F CNN Situation Room – 5-6pm M-F CNN
Paula Zahn Now – 6-7pm M-F CNN Anderson Cooper 360° - 8-10pm M-F CNN
Hardball w/ Chris Matthews – MSNBC Countdown w/ Keith Obermann – MSNBC
Take notes on what you observe and hear. Include your hand written notes with your paper. Write a
minimum of 2 pages summarizing the major issues discussed during the program. A minimum of 1/2
page must be dedicated to your personal opinions and observations about the topics discussed on the
program. List the date and the title of the program that you watched.
4. WRITE A LETTER TO A POLITICAL LEADER (member of the U.S. Congress or a State Legislator)
Express your views, opinions, or questions on a political subject. The letter must be at least 1 page in
length and relevant to the person you are sending it to. Make a copy of your letter and turn it in for
credit. You may also write a letter to the editor to the Idaho Statesman. This letter must be properly
formatted and written. Please refer to the handout on “Write Your Public Officials”. Please share
with the class any responses you may receive.
OPTIONAL OPPORTUNITIES (2 REQUIRED FOR FULL CREDIT):
5. POLITICAL VOLUNTEERISM
Choose a candidate or issue you support and perform at least 2 hours of volunteer work. Work may
include distributing leaflets, stuffing envelopes, making phone calls, door knocking or a variety of
other activities. To get credit you must get a signed note from a supervisor indicating the date and
time spent along with the type of work done. You must also type a 1 page description of the candidate
or issue you chose with a description of the specific task you helped with.
6. POLITICAL RALLY
Attend a political rally, speaker or meeting. Write a 2 page summary of the event along with ½ page
dedicated to your opinion and/or what you learned. Get these pre-approved, so credit is assured.
Indicate in your summary the amount of time you ere in attendance.
*Minimum: 2 hours or until event ends
7. JUDICIAL EXPERIENCE
Attend either Youth Court (times and locations to be announced) or Magistrate Court. If you attend
Youth Court you must attend at least TWO complete cases through sentencing. Write a summary that
includes an evaluation of the proceedings (how things work) and a summary of each case observed.
Also include an opinion of the effectiveness of the system. The write up must be a minimum of TWO
pages in length and the length of attendance must be at least ONE hour. If you participate in the
Youth Court proceedings as a juror, bailiff or attorney additional credit is possible. Other judicial
experience besides youth or magistrate court is possible WITH PRE-APPROVAL.
**You may NOT be personally involved in the case.**
8. REGISTER & VOTE
Democracy revolves around the right to vote. Too many Americans choose not to exercise that right.
For those of you who are 18 years old at the time of any local, state or national election; voting will
count as a category for you. You must get a note signed by one of the election officials at the polling
place. It should include their name (written legibly) and the location where you voted. You must also
write a ONE page summary describing the voting process. What did you experience at the polling
place? Also, how do you think the actual voting process could be done more effectively?
9. JOIN A CITIZEN ORGANIZATION
Become a member of an organization which focuses on a particular issue(s). Examples: Young
Democrats or Republicans, Amnesty International, Key Club, Big Brothers/Sisters. Pay dues, attend
meetings, submit verification of attendance by supervisor/advisor and write ½ page summary for each
of at least 5 meetings in which you attended.
10. COMPLETE A WRITTEN REPORT
Complete a typed report/research paper of at least 3 pages in length. A bibliography must be included.
Please have your topic approved before you begin. Relevance to course content is extremely
important and must be adhered to. An oral report will be given to the class to meet the requirements
for the report.
11. CONTEMPORARY AMERICAN: BOOK ANALYSIS
Read a book about a contemporary American political figure. Although exceptions can be made, you
should choose a person whose life figured prominently in the period 1960-present. This person does
not have to be a President, but any prominent political figure. A book must be pre-approved for
credit. The book must have a minimum of 200 pages and the report must follow the outline in the
handout on “How to Write a Book Report”.
12. OTHER IDEAS?
Check with the instructor. It must pertain to American Government and the C.A.P purpose.