Sunday, October 28, 2012

Election Selection

Understanding our election process is difficult enough for older students (and adults!), but how does a teacher address this topic to young primary students?  We all know the answer is to bring it down to their level, make it relevant, and make it fun!

Although I do not teach my own class, I do try to sneak in a little seasonal and holiday themes as much as possible.  My obstacle is that I do not have more than 30 or so minutes with my reading groups and I have to make sure whatever I do supports students' learning goals.  With the exception of my one Corrective Reading group, I design my own reading and literacy intervention programs for K-2.  I begin with where my students are, their strengths, and where they need to be.  I integrate themes and materials from our Treasures reading series as well as from other sources.

 I worked with a second grade teacher this week who wanted to use a readinga-z text I found for her on the Presidential election.  Because she was able to borrow real, authentic voting booths that had to be returned last Friday, we did things a little backwards.  She wanted students to vote on a story character that would make the best mayor for their classroom!  Both characters were from tall tales:  one was Johnny Appleseed and the other was Dona Flor (a character from a story in the grade 2 Treasures series). 

 I designed various posters for the classroom and hallway as well as voter registration cards and ballots.  Then, I made a blank template for students to design campaign posters to try and convince their classmates as to the best candidate for the job.  The students worked with a buddy to design the poster and to write four reasons why he/she was the best person for the job. To do so, they had to revisit the text to search for endearing character traits.  They turned out really cute!

Unfortunately I was out on Friday (voting day)  and am anxiously awaiting to hear the results!

From there, I moved into first grade mode.  Now, with second grade, I co-teach and do more of a push-in for intervention and support.  With first grade, I pull out two groups a day.  I know the classroom teacher will read aloud several election theme picture books that will include some of my favorites:

 Grace for President (new jacket) 
 Duck for President (New York Times Best Illustrated Books (Awards))
 Amelia Bedelia's First Vote

I wanted to use a leveled reader that would be appropriate for my firsties and maybe even my kinders, but could not find one.  So, I wrote my own book!

 This little printable book is 12 pages long including the cover page. It simply states the election process using kid language and is designed with line art for students to color after reading. My own son, my in-house "guinea pig" colored his book.  See pics above!

First grade will complete this as a shared reading and I will read aloud to kindergarten studentsI will use my vocabulary word wall cards to front load instruction and reinforce election vocabulary.

I will not have the time for students to use the poster templates and voting ballots, but their classroom teacher may!

I am excited to use this little book this week.  We have been learning about main ideas and details as well as summarizing, so we will complete a graphic organizer after reading.  I will share that with you next week!

There are many Election Day packets available for teachers.  Mine is simple, only 22 pages, and not a complete unit.  It was designed for my students' needs in a reading intervention setting.  If you are interested in this packet, you can see the listing here in my TpT store.
 Enjoy this last week of October... if you are in Sandy's path, stay safe and take good care!

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