Kindergarten Lessons

Native American Tribes

Class Election

Science Mini-Unit

All About Me

"Elect a Class President"
see a picture from this lesson

Topic
The students will participate in the election of a class president and vice-president.  We will talk about the qualities a good leader should have, and about the national presidential race.  Then, they will nominate four students for each office, and then vote for the student they would like to win. 

Rationale
It is imperative that we teach students about the process of voting, because it is the underpinning of democracy in this country.  Especially because it is an election year, they will be hearing a lot about the topic from their family, friends, and even the media.  This lesson will give them a chance to understand some of the terms they might be hearing, and give them a strong foundation for future learning.  Reading the book “Duck for President” about a duck running for office will give them background about the subject in a familiar format while promoting literacy and reading.  The students will be engaged and excited while nominating and voting for the class president and vice-president.  Finally, creating small “I Voted” signs will give them a chance to be creative while still learning to follow directions.

Prior Knowledge
The students have gotten to know each other over the past month and a half, so they will be able to identify the students that embody the qualities of a good leader; we will discuss the qualities prior to the nominations.  Additionally, because of the pervasive nature of the national election, it is reasonable to assume that students will have some awareness of the election, or the candidates.

New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards
Social Studies:
6.2:D.1 - Citizenship 1. Identify examples of responsible citizenship in the school setting.
Language Arts & Literacy:
3.3:A.1 - A. Discussion 1. Share experiences and express ideas.
3.4: B.1 - Listening Comprehension 1. Listen attentively to books teacher reads to class.

Objectives
Big idea: Why vote, and who deserves my vote
SWBAT use the vocabulary words vote, candidate, and ballot in the context of a class election for president.
SWBAT identify the characteristics a good leader should have, and participate in the voting process.

Hook
We will read a book to the students called “Duck for President”

Activities, Questions & Examples
         
While we are reading the book, we will ask the following questions:
Why doesn’t Farmer Brown smell very good?  What is an election?  (when you pick a new leader)  What does it mean to vote? (every person’s choice gets counted)  “What is a ballot?” (How you write down your vote)  Farmer Brown got 6 votes and Duck got 21 votes, who got more votes?  Who won?  What are ballots?  Who do you think one, the governor or Duck?  What is the president in charge of? (the country)  Who do you think won, Duck or the President? 
          After the book is finished, we will ask the students where else they heard of a president.  On the news, from their parents?  Do they know the name of the president?  Then, we will talk about President Bush and John Kerry, and say that they both want to be President, and they are trying to get people to vote for them.  Then, we will talk about what it means to vote (their opinion is written down and counted).  We will explain that when they are 18 years old, they will be able to vote for the president of the country, but for now they will vote for president of the class.  But before we vote, we will talk about the qualities a class president should have.  “Should the class president be absent all the time?”  “Or should they be here, and pay attention.”  “Should the class president be smart? Kind? Helpful? Responsible?”
          After this discussion, we will ask the students to go back to their seats so we can begin the voting process.  First, we will explain that they need to choose four students (2 girls, 2 boys) for president, and four students (2 girls, 2 boys) for vice-president.  We will explain to the students that they need to raise their hands in order for their choices to count.  We will put the students’ names on our chart, and then show the students the ballots.  This is where you write down your vote, so it will be counted.  We will model how to fill out a ballot with a candidate’s name, using the charts as guidance.  We will make sure the students understand that they can only write down the name of a student that was nominated.  Then, we will pass out the ballots and have the students fill them out.  We will ask them to do this quickly, because they will only have a limited amount of time.  After they are finished filling out the ballots, we will collect them, and then begin to model how to make the “I Voted” signs.
          Each student will be given a straw and a piece of paper that they can fold over and attach to the straw with glue.  We will instruct the students to write “I Voted” on the signs, and then to decorate the sign however they like.  They can make flags, stars, donkeys, elephants, etc. in order to decorate their signs.  When they are finished designing their signs, we will distribute the glue, and the students will fold the paper over onto the straw, and attach both sides of the paper using the glue.
          While the students are working on their signs, one of us will count the ballots and write the results next to the names of the students on the chart.  When the students are finished with their craft, we will announce the new president and vice-president of the class.

Closure
After we announce the winners, we will tell the students that they should be proud that they voted, because voting is extremely important in our country.  They made the signs so they can show their family’s that they participated.

Individualization
We will have the names of the nominated students displayed on a poster in the front of the class, so the students can copy the names themselves.  This will give us a chance to walk around the room and help any student that is having trouble writing, or is unsure of what to do. 

Follow-up Activities
We could make a graph with the students, representing the number of votes for the different candidates.  Also, the students could participate in another voting activity to name the class fish.  The students can write their suggestions, and then draw and present them to the class.