Here in Canada we have our federal election coming up on Monday, October 19th. Along with that we have the “Student Vote” that will take place in schools. Student Vote is a great way to get students involved in the election process and they also have some great teacher resources to help students connect and understand about the Federal Elections. The Student Vote website is a great place to start for more ideas!
Activity and Project Ideas for Teaching About the Election:
- Inquiry into deep think questions (A great first research project of the year!)
- Newspaper article review and collection (create a bulletin board of all the articles students bring in)
- Inquiry/Discussion Circles on some of the top issues in the election
- Step Up to the Line/Cross the Line… (Karley mentioned this one in her last post – just change to election ideas)
- Would you rather… (I usually do this one as either a stand up/sit down or a cross the room activity to add some movement)
- Advertising for Parties (Look at the different forms of advertising, attack ads, etc.)
- Create your own class debates and have teams research party platforms
What’s Our Role?
I have written a post about this before (read it here), but I think it is VERY important that we understand the role we want to take before walking into the “political zone” with our students. Currently I’m teaching about the election in a grade 7 class – My favourite! I think in middle school kids are really starting to form their own opinions outside of what their parents and families think. But NO! That does not mean it’s time to push our own agenda on students! The classroom is a place for exploration and gaining perspective. Just last week I had a student say to me “Well you’re a teacher so you probably just vote NDP right?” and this opened up a great discussion about thinking for ourselves and not just following along with how the people around you think. I think the best way to get kids engaged in politics is to talk about the different issues that come up. Kids will get really passionate when something seems relevant to them – whether it’s environment, human rights, global issues, business/money, or whatever! To be honest, at the end of the day I would much prefer students not really have a specific party that they are aligned with but to be more aware of how they feel about different issues. I think it is more important to really know where we stand on issues than to follow a voting patter because “My family is Conservative” or “My profession votes NDP”
How do you talk about politics with students?
Are you doing Student Vote at your school?