"Whatever you think you can do, or believe you can do, begin it, because action has magic, grace, and power in it." Goethe

Teaching Tip: Just Do What You Can…Planning a Mock Election with an Eye to the Future

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I have so many teaching ideas running through my mind at any given moment. The more creative, the better. If art is involved, I’m ready. The problem is time, dear readers.

I think back to previous school years. That is a dangerous thought process. I do not recommend it.

Every school year is different because every group of children is different. Their reactions and needs and abilities are different as well.

So, here we are…my fourth grade team …and our 60 kids. We are moving forward with a mock election plan. We want our students to go from room to room on campus and present factual information about each candidate, talk about the importance of voting, and then have the classes of students come into the hallway to a portable voting booth ( a large rolling cart) and vote.

Fourth graders will tally all of the votes and report back at the end of the day.

This is a much different format than some of the elections we have held in the past. There have been years when we have registered all of the children in the school, given them their own voting card to bring to a decorated polling place where they cast their vote.

Still, this will work. Different isn’t always bad. As a matter of fact, the effort alone will get us somewhere. We are learning through our conversations with the students that their voting minds are made up, and made up mainly based on race and misinformation about the two primary candidates, not facts. This bothers us.

We want our students to be able to talk about some facts about each candidate. While they are not mature enough to discuss each issue that might be important to adult voters, they are old enough to base their decision on something more than what color the candidate is. We have our work cut out for us, and it will continue long after the election is over.

Time is our enemy, we know. But, this year, our energy will be spent less on decorations and aesthetics and more on educating our students so that when the day comes that they can vote “for real” as adults, they will want to…and they will recall ways to make informed decisions before they cast that ballot.


Author: agnestirrito

I write. Make art. And in between, I do the best I can. ✌🏼️

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