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September 19, 2016

Book Buzz: An Election for All Ages

By Brian Smith
Grades PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5

    Elections can be such a touchy subject, but as teachers we are charged with making sure that our students grow up to become knowledgeable and responsible citizens. This does not mean in any way, shape, or form that I ever share my political views with my students, but I do want them to understand the electoral process. Here is how I make this happen in a super fun way. To meet this goal I use:

    • Books

    • Materials

    • Activities

     

    The Books:

    The books I use are ones that I have purchased on my own even though I really only do these election process activities every four years.

    Madam President by Lane Smith is the first one I use because it introduces the term president and an overview of the responsibilities that the office holds without getting so technical that it loses them. Smith really is a genius in the world of children’s books.

    The next three books introduce the class to the three candidates for President of Kindergarten:

    1. Duck for President by Doreen Cronin

    2. Grace for President by Kelly DiPucchio

    3. My Teacher for President by Kay Winters

    Finally, I finish with The White House by Robert Sabuda. This is pop-up book is absolutely stunning to look at and a great book to end the unit with.

     

    The Materials:

    • A voting booth (typically a study carrel or trifold board on a desk) in the hallway

    • Bunting and other decorations (non-political party decorations are best)

    • Election KitLots of red, white, and blue

    • Ballot box (this could be an empty, decorated tissue box)

    • Voting stickers for after each child votes (star stickers on which you write, "I Voted")

    • Ballots (print these out for your classroom!)

    • Pencils

     

    The Activities


    Madam President Cover

    Monday:

    I read Madam President by the brilliant Smith to the class and ask what they know about how America elects the president. I write down what they know on the board. I don’t write down anything about current candidates that a student may say, but instead redirect the conversation by stating something like, “Yes, that is one of the people who wants to be president, but that isn’t how we pick who is president.” I want my students to hear the words: campaign, candidates, election, voting.


    Duck for President Cover
Tuesday:

    I love the Cronin character, Duck. He is clever and funny and an all-time favorite. I introduce the first candidate by reading Duck for President. We then talk about all the things Duck would do if he was elected to be President of Kindergarten as I list them on the board.

     

     

     

     

     

     


    Grace for President Cover

    Wednesday:

    I introduce the second candidate by reading Grace for President by DiPucchio. This is one of my favorite books from DiPucchio and that is saying something with books like Gilbert Goldfish Wants a Pet and Gaston on her list of titles. We then talk and list all the things Grace would do if she were elected President of Kindergarten. These are listed beside the ideas that we listed for Duck on Tuesday.

     

     

     

     


    My Teacher for PresidentThursday:

    I introduce the third candidate by reading My Teacher for President. The things that Teacher would do as president are listed beside Duck and Grace. We then review all the candidates and their campaign. Students then work on campaign posters for one of the candidates. The campaign posters are posted in the hallway.

     

     

    Friday:

    The study carrel(s) are in the hallway and everything is decorated in red, white, and blue. Each class in kindergarten gets a time to go and vote. Each teacher has their class roster in hand and checks off each child as they come through to vote and gives them a ballot.

    Each classroom teacher totals their numbers and announces the winner of their classroom election, but then tells them they have to wait to find out how each of the other classes voted.

    The teachers share the numbers from their class, and the candidate with the most votes across all the kindergarten classes is named the President of Kindergarten. The President of Kindergarten may or may not be who your class elected, but that is how I introduce the fact that there are 50 states and each state gets to vote for their favorite candidate as well.

    The greatest tip that I can offer is to never get political with this unit, but after our election week my kids knows how the process works. For further information and activities, Scholastic News has a fantastic collection of resources right here at Scholastic.com.


    
Connect with me, dad2ella, on Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.


    
I can’t wait to see you next time!

    Elections can be such a touchy subject, but as teachers we are charged with making sure that our students grow up to become knowledgeable and responsible citizens. This does not mean in any way, shape, or form that I ever share my political views with my students, but I do want them to understand the electoral process. Here is how I make this happen in a super fun way. To meet this goal I use:

    • Books

    • Materials

    • Activities

     

    The Books:

    The books I use are ones that I have purchased on my own even though I really only do these election process activities every four years.

    Madam President by Lane Smith is the first one I use because it introduces the term president and an overview of the responsibilities that the office holds without getting so technical that it loses them. Smith really is a genius in the world of children’s books.

    The next three books introduce the class to the three candidates for President of Kindergarten:

    1. Duck for President by Doreen Cronin

    2. Grace for President by Kelly DiPucchio

    3. My Teacher for President by Kay Winters

    Finally, I finish with The White House by Robert Sabuda. This is pop-up book is absolutely stunning to look at and a great book to end the unit with.

     

    The Materials:

    • A voting booth (typically a study carrel or trifold board on a desk) in the hallway

    • Bunting and other decorations (non-political party decorations are best)

    • Election KitLots of red, white, and blue

    • Ballot box (this could be an empty, decorated tissue box)

    • Voting stickers for after each child votes (star stickers on which you write, "I Voted")

    • Ballots (print these out for your classroom!)

    • Pencils

     

    The Activities


    Madam President Cover

    Monday:

    I read Madam President by the brilliant Smith to the class and ask what they know about how America elects the president. I write down what they know on the board. I don’t write down anything about current candidates that a student may say, but instead redirect the conversation by stating something like, “Yes, that is one of the people who wants to be president, but that isn’t how we pick who is president.” I want my students to hear the words: campaign, candidates, election, voting.


    Duck for President Cover
Tuesday:

    I love the Cronin character, Duck. He is clever and funny and an all-time favorite. I introduce the first candidate by reading Duck for President. We then talk about all the things Duck would do if he was elected to be President of Kindergarten as I list them on the board.

     

     

     

     

     

     


    Grace for President Cover

    Wednesday:

    I introduce the second candidate by reading Grace for President by DiPucchio. This is one of my favorite books from DiPucchio and that is saying something with books like Gilbert Goldfish Wants a Pet and Gaston on her list of titles. We then talk and list all the things Grace would do if she were elected President of Kindergarten. These are listed beside the ideas that we listed for Duck on Tuesday.

     

     

     

     


    My Teacher for PresidentThursday:

    I introduce the third candidate by reading My Teacher for President. The things that Teacher would do as president are listed beside Duck and Grace. We then review all the candidates and their campaign. Students then work on campaign posters for one of the candidates. The campaign posters are posted in the hallway.

     

     

    Friday:

    The study carrel(s) are in the hallway and everything is decorated in red, white, and blue. Each class in kindergarten gets a time to go and vote. Each teacher has their class roster in hand and checks off each child as they come through to vote and gives them a ballot.

    Each classroom teacher totals their numbers and announces the winner of their classroom election, but then tells them they have to wait to find out how each of the other classes voted.

    The teachers share the numbers from their class, and the candidate with the most votes across all the kindergarten classes is named the President of Kindergarten. The President of Kindergarten may or may not be who your class elected, but that is how I introduce the fact that there are 50 states and each state gets to vote for their favorite candidate as well.

    The greatest tip that I can offer is to never get political with this unit, but after our election week my kids knows how the process works. For further information and activities, Scholastic News has a fantastic collection of resources right here at Scholastic.com.


    
Connect with me, dad2ella, on Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.


    
I can’t wait to see you next time!

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