TRC Read to Kids

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Monday, October 15, 2012

Election Day — Hold the Politics

In anticipation of Election Day, we organized a theme around elections, voting and democracy. We began the session by discussing ways in which the children already get to vote, whether for their favorite food at home, for a class representative at school, or about what to do with their friends. 

We first read Duck for President by Doreen Cronin, in which Duck is tired of doing his farm chores so holds elections to take over the farm from Farmer Brown. In an entertaining story, Duck continues to run for higher and higher offices to redress certain grievances.  

In Max for President by Jarrett Krosoczka, Max and Kelly decide they both want to be class president in a tale about election processes and compromise.  

Otto Runs for President by Rosemary Wells presents a similar theme of class elections, but shows what happens in a “race to the bottom” filled with unrealistic campaign promises. 

Books
Vote! by Eileen Christelow
If I Ran for President by Catherine Stier
Larue for Mayor by Mark Teague
I Could Do That! by Esther Morris
Grace for President by Kelly DiPucchio
Woodrow, the White House Mouse by Peter and Cheryl Barnes
Clifford for President by Acton Figueroa
My Teacher for President by Kay Winters
D is for Democracy by Elissa Grodin
Why Are Elections Important? by Jacqueline Laks Gorman
Voting in an Election by John Hamilton

Activities
The team and children then demonstrated democracy in action by voting at multiple polling stations. To prepare for the voting, every child made a Voter Identification card and every volunteer an Election Official card. The children wrote their names on pre-printed identification cards, then hole-punched them and tied a yarn “lanyard” through them. At the same time, the Central Election Official also set up three separate tables for polling places

When everyone had their IDs, we assigned the voters and election monitors to their first polling place. To be successful, following directions is important, much like in real-life voting. The volunteers helped the children understand the voting question and method at each polling place.


At each station, the election monitors checked the voter IDs, verified that each child had not already voted, explained the voting question and helped the children cast their vote.  

At the first polling place, the children marked a paper ballot and deposited it in a box. At the second, a marble was added to the jar representing their vote and at the third, the voters selected from multiple options on a computer. The team used this last vote as a way of determining the interest level in certain topics we were considering for future Read-Alouds. 

About every 5 minutes, once everyone had voted at their polling place, the Central Election Official called time and each group moved to the next polling place. After everyone had voted at all of polling places, the volunteers and 1 to 2 Deputy Monitors tallied the vote, and then the deputies delivered the official results to the Central Election Official. 

We then discussed the differences of each voting method, revealed the overall results to all the children on a white board, and informed them that they (unknowingly) had voted for a treat at a future Read-Aloud (the snack choice vote). 

Everyone really enjoyed the voting. It was entertaining to see the children and volunteers take their roles seriously and to watch the children try to influence each other.  



Guest blog post written by Jason Dutil, volunteer at Woodbury Park.



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