Bring election season to your classroom with book resources, lesson plans, reproducibles, and activities.
About the Book
Duck was tired of his chores on Farmer Brown's farm. Duck didn't like to take out the trash, mow the lawn, and grind the coffee beans. So he organized an election to pick someone kinder as head of the farm. The animals voted, and Duck won! Now he was in charge! But Duck's ambitions didn't end there. Soon he became governor of the state, then president of the country! Was the job of president fun? Sadly, no. So Duck put his V.P. in charge and returned to the farm to do what many former presidents do — begin his autobiography.
With a humorous story by Doreen Cronin and pictures by award-winning Betsy Lewin, this light-hearted book will appeal to students and teachers alike. Whenever a presidential or local election is coming up, this is a great introduction to voting, campaigning, and job responsibilities.
- Duck for President by Doreen Cronin
- Copies of the True or False? Student Activity Sheet printable
- Optional: Chart paper and markers
- Optional: Election ads from newspapers, magazines, or the Internet
- Optional: Nonfiction books about elections
Before-Reading Questions: Set the Stage
Look at the front and back covers and talk about the title and pictures.
- Notice the emphasis on red, white, and blue colors. Why do you think these colors were used?
- Why might Duck be standing at the microphones? Why do you think there are balloons and hats in the picture?
- Explain that when the story opens, Duck is unhappy with his present job. What are some things he can do about that?
After-Reading Questions: Review the Story and Discuss
After students have enjoyed the book, lead a spirited discussion with these questions:
- Which of Duck's activities do you think he enjoyed the most? What makes you say that?
- When Duck ran for president, what are some steps he and his supporters took to get him elected?
- What are some things Duck learned from his experiences?
- Which picture in the book is your favorite? Why?
- Did anything in the story surprise you? Please explain.
True or False Activity
Hand out the True or False? Student Activity Sheet printable and have students determine which events really happened in the book.
To expand students' understanding of the story, try these classroom activities:
- Sketch It Out: With your students' help, list on the board ten major events in the story. Then create a large storyboard with ten frames. Have volunteers draw each of the events in the correct frames and add a speech bubble to show what the main character is saying. Retell the story using the finished storyboard.
- I Need Your Vote: Ask students to pretend to be Duck running for head of the farm. Each student should give a short speech telling the other animals/students why they should vote for him.
- Make it Real: Ask students to find pictures in newspapers and magazines showing candidates electioneering. Which of these strategies are similar to those in Duck for President?
To help students' connect the story to real-world elections, try these classroom activities:
- Read Other Books: Read aloud to the class an appropriate grade-level biography of a former president. Talk about the accomplishments and disappointments that president had on the job.
- Go to the Polls: Have students create posters encouraging people to get out and vote in the next presidential or local election. Talk about the elements that make a good poster. Display the posters in the classroom or corridor.
- Do the Research: To run for president of the United States, a person must meet certain requirements to hold office (be a natural citizen of the U.S.; be 35 years old; be a resident of the country). Read aloud a book that explains these requirements and talk it over with students.
- Vote for Me!: Hold an election for class president and vice president. First discuss the duties and responsibilities of the job and its duration. Accept nominations, encourage some electioneering, and hold the election itself. Later, have the elected officials write about the pros and cons of their jobs. Invite classmates to write about their views of the officials' performances.