Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Power of Story During an Election

As an educator, election season is one of my favorite times of the year because of the opportunities for authentic learning experiences it provides. What better time to teach our students the power of exercising our right to vote than election  day? And what better way to teach this than through the power of story? 

Consider hosting a mock election with storybook characters as candidates. (See book list below for ideas.) Encourage students to consider what character traits they feel are most important in a candidate. Brainstorm each candidate's character traits as evidenced in the stories. Engage students in the planning of the voting event by making voting boxes, ballots, forming campaign teams for favored storybook characters, advertising election day details and counting the votes. *School librarians: Use this opportunity to host a school-wide mock election with storybook characters as candidates. Post or announce election updates throughout the day (or week) as each class votes.

Check out some of the election-themed children's books in the list below. These thoughtfully written children's books are the perfect conversation starters for discussing the importance of elections and the power of exercising the right to vote.

I Need My Own Country by Rick Walton is perfect as a read aloud for K-2 students as well as students in grades 3-6. Frustrated by her little brother, a young girl decides to form her own country, make her own currency and her own flag. She soon realizes the importance of citizenship in her country and the need for rules and laws. 
The Class Election from the Black Lagoon by Mike Thaler will pull the young chapter book reader in with familiar humorous characters from the Black Lagoon. Readers will explore the importance of candidates standing up for what they believe in as characters in this story must choose the offices for which they will run.
Duck for President by Doreen Cronin is an enjoyable read aloud that is sure to spark meaningful discussion among students young and old. Duck is tired of the way Farmer Brown is running the farm so he decides to do something about it by running for office. (See video featuring this book at top of blog post.)
Grace for President by Kelly DiPucchio is a suitable read aloud for students in grades K-6. Grace, determined that there should be a female presidents, decides to run for president at her school's election. Grace for President would be a great introduction for an upper elementary lesson on the electoral system.

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