This year looks to be a real doozy of an election. Our kids are going to be talking about it, and even arguing about it, particularly in the upper grades. Our job is to give our students information about what an election is all about, why it is so important, and to help them use critical thinking as they watch what is going on not only on TV, but in their own neighborhoods. I hope the suggestions, links and the freeebie below will help you enrich your students' understanding of our American voting process. Helping our students understand the importance of one vote, is always my goal!
Election season is the perfect time to help students use critical thinking skills. Many students believe anything they hear on TV, so now is the perfect time to show them how to delve deeper and look for the truth. This skill can easily be carried over to commericials for food, or commericals for anything. Refusing to believe blindly is a critical skill for young citizens. There are a number of sites whose only mission is to debunk things that are untrue, and often tell when something is partially true and why. They are non-partician (and cover other things besides politics) so you get the real low down. Students can type in their question at the top of most of these sites. Check out snopes , truthorfiction , factcheck.org and politifact
Respecting other's opinions
Discussions about presidential candidates can get out of hand pretty fast. Students bring strong opinions from home. This is the perfect time to discuss how to talk with others when you don't agree with what they are saying. Discussions done in a respectful way can give all concerned new things to think about. Think about giving the following tools to use in classroom discussions, (they will help with a LOT more than just presidential elections).
Discuss with students:
Respect is an attitude. Without respect, it's almost impossible to succeed in life. To get respect, give respect to others.
Being rude or dismissive of other people's opinion will only cause an argument. As Taylor Swift has said, "We don't need to share the same opinions as others, but we need to be respetful."
Respect other people's right to have a different opinion as you do. It would be pretty boring if we all shared the same opinions.
Once someone raises their voice or touches someone else, the discussion is over.
Take turns speaking, and really listen when the other person is talking.
Agree to disagree.
There are SO many terrific sites out there to help teach about this election! Be sure to check out some of the following:
Time for kids has a great online (free) issue about the candidates, the conventions and more. At the bottom is a great video about branches of government. Don't miss Time For Kids: Election 2016
Elections For Kids is an amazing site about the race, the candidates, the White House and even a teacher resources section filled with reproduceables, lessons plans with activities and much more!
Check out: Elections for Kids
Below are a couple of freebies that you might want to use with students. Discussion afterwards is always a great way to bring a lesson to a close. Click on the link below the pictures to pick them up in Google Drive.
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