The Congressional Record

For history teachers, history buffs, or the would-be politicians in your class, this app offers up an insider's perspective on the day-to-day discussions that take place on the floor of the United States House of Representatives and Senate. Easily navigate through verbatim accounts of all the debates, proceedings, and other activities of Congress with a searchable PDF format.  

7th - Higher Ed Social Studies & History 4 Views 1 Download
App Overview

Everything about this app is user-friendly. A simple home screen presents the following options to help you narrow in on the information you'd like to find:

  • Calendar:
    • Select the day, month, and year of the Congressional Record that you'd like to view.
  • Daily Digest:
    • This is a four-page document that recaps highlights of what occurred in the House and the Senate on the date selected on the calendar.
  • Senate Section:
    • A virtually verbatim report of everything said on the Senate floor on the selected date. 
  • House Section:
    • Same as Senate Section, only this time for the goings-on of the House of Representatives session. 
  • Extension of Remarks Section:
    • The Extension section is a reporting from the House. On any given day, it might include statements that were drafted for the day, but did not end up being spoken on the House floor. At times, there are also documents included such as letters from constituents, speeches delivered outside the House, or pertinent magazine or newspaper articles that relate to House activities.
  • Entire Issue:
    • This PDF is the full Congressional Record, which incorporates all of the above categories.

Once you have made one of the selections above, the PDF opens. Read through each page by swiping left, or tap the Search symbol at the top right of the screen to find specific phrases within the document.

The Share button gives several options for sharing and viewing the document. It can be e-mailed, or opened in Safari, Good Docs, Office Notes, Chrome, Evernote, or Google Drive. For devices that have AirDrop, this option is also available.

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Instructional Ideas

  • Select a day on the senate floor and have students identify the rhetorical devices used in real-life persuasive speech
  • Compare and contrast how perspective on a specific issue has changed by looking at debates held on the same topic in different years
Classroom Considerations

  • Although the search feature is fantastic, there is not a dictionary incorporated. Have one on hand for students so they don't have to switch in and out of the app to figure out word meanings.
  • Take time to discuss the actual format of the Congressional Record to help students learn how to read this type of document
  • For pupils who do not have Internet at home, have them open the assigned Congressional Record in Safari or Google Drive and add to the offline reading list so it will be available on their tablet
Pros

  • Searching for specific dates is fast and efficient with the app's scrolling date selector
  • Key phrases or terms can be found in a jiffy with the search tool
  • Allows for PDFs to be uploaded to a wide variety of readers
  • Provides digest for quick scanning of any given day's discussion topics
Cons

  • The database only goes back to 1995, and it is unclear if they plan to add more to the history database
  • While it's possible to search within one PDF, there is not a way to search through all PDFs at once