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October 26, 2016

Election Day Extravaganza: No-Prep Lesson Plans

By Nancy Jang
Grades 1–2

    Every year, I look forward to the end of October. Halloween is almost here and Thanksgiving is around the corner. This year there is an extra dash of excitement with a presidential election sandwiched in-between these two holidays.

    I love social studies, and with the constant press covering the presidential election, it gives me the additional opportunity to be able to dive a little deeper into civics with my kids this year. Although my kiddos are a little too young to understand the ins and outs of the presidential debates and what issues are at stake, it does allow me to talk about how a candidate is elected President of the United States. I've combed through traditional and online resources to use in my classroom to give my students age-appropriate materials to help them understand the process.

    Over the past few weeks, we have been studying the three branches of government. Now with Election Day just weeks away, it’s a great time to explore how a president is elected, and hold our own election. I've turned to some great resources here including books, online activities, and magazines.

    First I read the book Grace for President by Kelly DiPucchio. Even though this is a children’s picture book and is fiction, it has a great storyline, wonderful illustrations, and talks a little about the Electoral College system and how the number of votes is assigned to each of the states. If you don’t own this really well-crafted book, there is a video that offers a great alternative. On "Storytime with Miss Yumi" from YouTube, Miss Yumi does a great job of reading the story out loud.

    After we read the story, I visit the Scholastic News Election site. It has tons of great information, videos, and other election resources for free. (What teacher doesn’t love FREE?!) As a whole class, we walk step-by-step through The Road to the White House. It covers from beginning to end, the process of being elected president. I pause periodically during our tour and we talk about the vocabulary, fill in a scavenger hunt page, and/or watch a short video. I would recommend watching the videos in the following order "The Presidency," followed by "Political Party Time" and finally, "On the Campaign Trail."  All of the videos are relatively short, informative, and kid-friendly.

    Here is a handy study guide/scavenger hunt that I use with my kids to help solidify their learning.

    The Scholastic Election site also allows us to take a closer look at the Electoral College map. Under the tab Election Central, there is an Electoral College Map. I talk to them about how the votes are assigned to each of the states. This concept is briefly touched upon in Grace for President, but it is great to explore this complex subject in greater depth with the map.

    Later, we read the online issue of Scholastic News. I love that Scholastic News has well-written, timely material available all year long, but I am especially excited that they have an issue dedicated to voting. In the election section under K–2 resources, you have free access to this particular online issue of “It's Time to Vote.”

    I love integrating art in social studies, so we created a directed line drawing of the White House and wrote to the prompt “What would you do if you were the president?”

    Finally, we finish up our Election Day Extravaganza by casting our vote for president. Use an an empty tissue box or a shoe box with a slot cut in the top will do. And don't forget to hand out those "I Voted!" stickers that show you have exercised your basic duty as a citizen.

    Click on the images above to grab a copy of my writing prompt and ballot.

    November 8 is around the corner and I hope that your Election Day Extravaganza is amazing!

    Happy Teaching,

    Nancy


    #SmartTeachingTips Social Media Contest
    You could win a $200 gift card from the Scholastic Teacher Store!
     
    Simply share how you use Scholastic magazines creatively in your classroom. Share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram, and include a photo or video. Be sure to use #SmartTeachingTips. Three winners will be chosen based on the most creative submissions. Thanks for sharing—and good luck!

    (No purchase required. Open to U.S. teachers of grades pre-K–12 who are 18 or older. Void where prohibited. Ends 11:59 PM EST 11/13/16. For complete rules, visit http://bit.ly/2dn2p2m.)
     

    Every year, I look forward to the end of October. Halloween is almost here and Thanksgiving is around the corner. This year there is an extra dash of excitement with a presidential election sandwiched in-between these two holidays.

    I love social studies, and with the constant press covering the presidential election, it gives me the additional opportunity to be able to dive a little deeper into civics with my kids this year. Although my kiddos are a little too young to understand the ins and outs of the presidential debates and what issues are at stake, it does allow me to talk about how a candidate is elected President of the United States. I've combed through traditional and online resources to use in my classroom to give my students age-appropriate materials to help them understand the process.

    Over the past few weeks, we have been studying the three branches of government. Now with Election Day just weeks away, it’s a great time to explore how a president is elected, and hold our own election. I've turned to some great resources here including books, online activities, and magazines.

    First I read the book Grace for President by Kelly DiPucchio. Even though this is a children’s picture book and is fiction, it has a great storyline, wonderful illustrations, and talks a little about the Electoral College system and how the number of votes is assigned to each of the states. If you don’t own this really well-crafted book, there is a video that offers a great alternative. On "Storytime with Miss Yumi" from YouTube, Miss Yumi does a great job of reading the story out loud.

    After we read the story, I visit the Scholastic News Election site. It has tons of great information, videos, and other election resources for free. (What teacher doesn’t love FREE?!) As a whole class, we walk step-by-step through The Road to the White House. It covers from beginning to end, the process of being elected president. I pause periodically during our tour and we talk about the vocabulary, fill in a scavenger hunt page, and/or watch a short video. I would recommend watching the videos in the following order "The Presidency," followed by "Political Party Time" and finally, "On the Campaign Trail."  All of the videos are relatively short, informative, and kid-friendly.

    Here is a handy study guide/scavenger hunt that I use with my kids to help solidify their learning.

    The Scholastic Election site also allows us to take a closer look at the Electoral College map. Under the tab Election Central, there is an Electoral College Map. I talk to them about how the votes are assigned to each of the states. This concept is briefly touched upon in Grace for President, but it is great to explore this complex subject in greater depth with the map.

    Later, we read the online issue of Scholastic News. I love that Scholastic News has well-written, timely material available all year long, but I am especially excited that they have an issue dedicated to voting. In the election section under K–2 resources, you have free access to this particular online issue of “It's Time to Vote.”

    I love integrating art in social studies, so we created a directed line drawing of the White House and wrote to the prompt “What would you do if you were the president?”

    Finally, we finish up our Election Day Extravaganza by casting our vote for president. Use an an empty tissue box or a shoe box with a slot cut in the top will do. And don't forget to hand out those "I Voted!" stickers that show you have exercised your basic duty as a citizen.

    Click on the images above to grab a copy of my writing prompt and ballot.

    November 8 is around the corner and I hope that your Election Day Extravaganza is amazing!

    Happy Teaching,

    Nancy


    #SmartTeachingTips Social Media Contest
    You could win a $200 gift card from the Scholastic Teacher Store!
     
    Simply share how you use Scholastic magazines creatively in your classroom. Share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram, and include a photo or video. Be sure to use #SmartTeachingTips. Three winners will be chosen based on the most creative submissions. Thanks for sharing—and good luck!

    (No purchase required. Open to U.S. teachers of grades pre-K–12 who are 18 or older. Void where prohibited. Ends 11:59 PM EST 11/13/16. For complete rules, visit http://bit.ly/2dn2p2m.)
     

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