This week, our fifth and sixth graders spent the week campaigning for SCA offices. There were posters, buttons, and stickers. There were speeches on Wednesday and winners announced. And this year was probably the best. Most of the students running truly cared and showed it through their posters and speeches.
So, I wanted to focus on one of my favorite books to share during election time ~ Duck for President.
This book is one of the animals on the farm series by Doreen Cronin, and it is just as fun and silly as her others, like Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type or Giggle, Giggle, Quack. What is amazing to me is that most of these books are for younger kids, but they have such meaning to older students too.
The book Duck for President tells the story of the farm and all of the jobs the animals have to do. Duck is not happy with Farmer Brown and his chores, so he decides to hold an election to win and run a farm. Duck wins by a landslide and finds that running a farm is hard. So, he decides to run for governor and finds it is hard to do as well. He continues all the way to President and realizes he should go back to the farm. This reminds me so much of how students just vote for whoever is popular and not who will do the job the best.
My third graders are working on author's purpose this week, so I decided to take them on a field trip through the halls to look at the posters. It was amazing what they learned about the candidates. Based on some of the posters, they were able to decide who would make the best candidate. Here are some of the examples.
|They were not too impressed with this one. Hoping to hear more from the speech.|
|They liked the duct tape and glitter!|
|Our favorite! It told us everything! Too bad he didn't win!|
|What? Do you get it? Nope, we weren't voting for this one! Crazy that she won!|
|A treasurer "great at math"! Perfect!!|
After reading the book and looking at the posters, I want my students to really think about what they could do to make our school better. I had them make lists of things they would do and then either make a poster or write a speech for the school. I truly believe that one of the best ways to learn a skill is to use it. Hopefully, they will "get it"!
So, what could politicians learn from all of this? Right now our governor's race is going on, and all I hear are negative ads about the other person. One ad actually bleeps out a word said about the other candidate. I don't even want my children watching these, but they come on during the news!! Politicians really need to look at these students' posters and hear their speeches. They all tell what is good about them and why we should vote for them, not what is negative about someone else. Even Duck did that in his efforts to campaign for office. I would love for politicians to show me what they can do for me and their constituents!
Needless to say, my students actually understand how authors persuade us to do things and why a little better through this life lesson. What other ways can students gain a better understanding of author's purpose?