Monday, October 29, 2012

Election Time!

My first year of teaching was 2008-2009 and I had so much fun teaching my third graders about the election process that year. They are at the age where they are beginning to grasp harder concepts of social studies and the large effects of individuals' actions. That being said, I am very much looking forward to teaching through another election year! As we draw near to Election Time, here are some ideas to use in your classroom.

The first thing we talk about is the importance of voting. In order to vote, citizens must be registered with their county. I made voters' registration cards for the students to decorate (idea from The First Grade Parade). Thhen we vote in an activity I call Majority Wins. The students vote on some of their favorites (ice cream, book, toy, pet, color, etc.). We graph the results and discuss the word "majority". The students do a quickwrite about the importance of their vote.
As a class, we discuss important qualities of a President. My students do a graffiti writing activity to come up with a "Top Ten" list of what a President should be. They have to keep passing the paper around their table adding qualities until the timer goes off. Then the group ranks the qualities they came up with. Each group presents their top qualities and defends them to the class.

We learn about the Presidential candidates as well. I have pictures of Obama and Romney displayed while we fill out a Venn Diagram about them. The ideas they have are quite entertaining!

In order to promote voter information, the students practice voting again. What they do not know if that they are voting on two different ballots. One ballot gives little information while the other explains a topic ( Ballot A: Recess; Ballot B: Recess will be replaced with 20 minutes of sit-ups and push-ups). Then we discuss the importance of knowing about what you are voting for.
I recently found a worksheet asking students to create a budget for campaign advertisements. I gave my students a $10,000 budget to work with. They must decide how much they want to spend on the advertisement options I gave them: tv ads, billboards, radio spots, mailings, phone banks, and/or yard signs. Students will also defend how they decided to spend their money.
The day before our mock election, students will journal "My Wish for the Nation". What would they like to see happen in our nation? How do they picture the future of our country? Think of what is important to them. For my third graders, they have just ten years until they will be voting as well!
We will hold a mock election on November 6th. The students will vote for who they would like to see as the next President/Vice President of the United States. We will graph our results. I will also remind students to watch the news that evening to see the nation's election results.
Post-Election, we will graph the nation's votes. We will also color in the states red or blue based on which way they voted. It is awesome to hear their opinions and views of our nation and why one state went blue or red.

Here are more resources: Election Time and Scholastic's Election 2012 

1 comment:

  1. What good connections. I like the integration of all the graphing.