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Election Day - Child Style

I have mixed feelings about teaching Election Day with my students.  Of course, Election Day is an important day in our country.  We are choosing our leaders.  My little second graders certainly won't "get" the Electoral College process, but they do need to understand how an election works.

However, I'm sure you'll agree, this year's election is out of control.  The ads on TV are nasty and misleading.  People are very passionate about this election, and most feel quite strongly for their own candidate and against the other candidate.  There is a lot of anger.  I just don't want to go there with the children. (I don't want to see a fight break out in my classroom!  Kids tend to be as passionate as their parents about presidential candidates!)

My plan is to do some election day activities without getting into detail about any of the specific candidates. I've made the above freebie to practice common and proper nouns.  It has an election day theme, but never mentions the candidates.

Another idea is to have the children vote for something on a child level on November 6th.  I thought I might have the children vote for their favorite subject in school, or maybe their favorite lunch.  It's a good excuse to do some Opinion Writing (CCSS.2.W.1: Write opinion pieces in which they introduce the topic or book they are writing about, state an opinion, supply reasons that support the opinion, use linking words (e.g. because, and also) to connect opinion and reasons, and provide a concluding statement or section.)  This standard is close to the same for all grades... it just goes into more depth as the children get older.

Here in New Hampshire, we have another way for the children to understand the election process... and it's at their level, and doesn't upset anyone!  All students in grades K - 3 in New Hampshire vote for their favorite book of 10 books nominated for the New Hampshire Picture Book Ladybug Award.  The books have already been nominated, and will be voted on in the month of November by New Hampshire school children.

The nominating process, as described by the Ladybug Award website:  The Ladybug Picture Book Award is designed to promote early literacy and honor the best in recent children's picture books. A committee of children's librarians from around the state selects 10 picture book titles early in the year. Then, during November, New Hampshire children from preschoolers to those in third grade choose the award winner. The winning picture book is announced at the end of the year. The author and illustrator of the winning book will receive a crystal award created by Pepi Herrmann Crystal.
To be considered for nomination, a picture book must meet the following criteria:
  • be published within the last three years
  • be in print
  • have an author and illustrator from the U.S.
  • possess strong child appeal
  • have artistic quality with text that supports the illustrations
  • not be a title previously nominated
They even have a facebook page!  I've been through this process for several years now, and it gives the children a fabulous taste of what it's like to make an informed choice.  They listen to all the stories, keep track their ideas, and make a decision on their own.  Plus, the books are always quality literature!
Freebie Fridays

It sounds like another good excuse for opinion writing!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Sally:
    This year I am trying to coordinate our Student Council elections with the national elections to add some relevance (although I am already running behind!)
    I agree with your sentiments about the campaigning. I'm ready to go back to infomercials about kitchen gadgets and wrinkle removers!

    Finding JOY in 6th Grade


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