Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Vote for Me! Elections Unit Study: Prelude Class

Welcome to the Vote for Me! Elections Unit Study here at Little Blue School. After a quick run to the computer store for a new monitor to save my laptop, which I apparently decided to throw on the floor at midnight last night and which now has a screen that looks like a shattered windshield, I'm ready.
Today's lesson is huge, massive, enormous! It's meant to last all week, and some of this material may not sink in or be relevant until farther on in the unit, but I want to lay some groundwork for us to get started.
To get all the materials, you will need three files:
There are five sections in this lesson. Download the PDF, have a look at it, and print out the sections that are necessary. Some of the lesson may be done without printing; some requires a pencil and paper.

Read-Along Teach-Along Sheet: Who is the President?
This is our first Read-Along Teach-Along so let me explain this technique. The first time or two through, read the sheet to your student. The next time, let the student read it. Now you read it again, but leave out a few words and let the student fill them in. The goal is to read the sheet leaving out all the bolded words and having your student supply them. It’s best to do this in a very dynamic, dramatic voice, and when you leave the words out, look energetically and expectantly toward the student, indicating you’re waiting for their response. When they respond correctly, smile and go on. If they don’t know, don’t make a big deal about it, just fill in the word and go on. It may take a few days of reading the sheet — maybe mark each repetition with a sticker on the top. This section has a song to accompany it.

Activity / Discussion: Why do we vote?
In this discussion, you’ll notice that new vocabulary words are introduced without explanation as they are connected to the students’ experiences. For example, in the first scenario they “choose” and in the second they “vote.” When you get to introducing minority and majority this way, you may need hand gestures and facial expression to give clues as to which is small and which is big.

Math: Majority and Minority. How Do We Decide?
A sheet of word problems. Some may be too hard or easy. Skip those.

Math and Geography: States and Electoral Votes
Use the map and info on page 1 to answer the questions on page 2. This section has a song to accompany it.

History: Voting Rights
A worksheet with a lot of open questions that will lead to tough discussions. How you handle these questions is up to you, but it’s best to just be honest about what happened and how you feel about it.

Questions you may have:
Is every week going to be this worksheet-intensive?
Are you going to make us learn two songs a WEEK?
What should we do with the completed assignments?
Anything you'd like to send me, I'll look at and respond to, whether that is a scanned image, an email with answers, a letter in the mail, or whatever. Of course since I'm not grading anything and not authorized to give you any kind of meaningful diploma or certificate or let you be President or anything, I don't *require* that anyone turn in assignments. I mean, I could require whatever I want, but you don't have to do it, right? :D I would love to see your students' work, and if my involvement would encourage them or add some level of achievement or accountability, then by all means bring it on. If you want my mailing address, email me for it.
I found a typo/broken link/mistake!
Great, thank you so much. I'm sure there are many. Please let me know so I can correct the problem right away.
Individual PDFs to download, if you don't want the whole lesson, which is above:
Note: The tune to "Who Goes to the Electoral College" is from a song called "Big Mouth" by The Muffs and is used with permission from Kim Shattuck, who wrote the song. The Muffs are one of my favorite bands of all time, and I'm thankful for Kim that she was so generous with her tune. All other materials including the lyrics to that song are created by me and owned by me. I don't have my URL or name stapled all over the pages, but if you link to them, make your link to this page, and not directly to the PDF or MP3. Please don't punish me for all this work by using these materials for your own gain.


  1. Thanks for doing this! I just wrote a post on my blog about your "e-class". :o)

  2. Thank you so much! I can't wait to look over the materials and get started. :D

  3. Thank you for sharing! I'm excited about this unit study.

  4. This class looks great. I'll be doing it (somewhat modified) with my kids starting this week. Thanks so much for posting all of this great stuff!!