I have a bit of a confession. During the 2016 election, I was teaching 4th grade. Even though government was one of our standards that year, I avoided teaching the election at all costs. I was worried. Worried about offending anyone, unintentionally sounding biased, or not knowing enough about the intricacies of the system to cover it well. In hindsight, I really regret this. My students heard their parents talking about it at home, watched the commercials and debates on television, and saw candidate signs in their neighbor’s lawns. Many of them were eager and ready to learn more about the presidential election, but I missed that opportunity out of fear.
👉This year is different. I set out to create a completely non-biased and nonpartisan plan for teaching the election that would alleviate my fears from 2016 AND give students the opportunity to learn about the election in a fun and engaging way. I worked tirelessly on this resource and election lesson plans, and I hope it can help you accomplish this, too!
First thing’s first: I do not plan to specifically address the 2020 election or the candidates involved. 🛑 Instead, the learning activities have been made to focus on the facts: the history of voting, the election process, the Electoral College, the inauguration, and so much more.
Teaching the Presidential Election
The election is so complex, and there is so much to teach about it. I wanted to make sure it was accessible to kits and not overwhelming. In doing so, I decided to incorporate a fictional element as well as informational texts. We are going to incorporate a TON of picture books (keep scrolling for more info on that), but I also created my own resource to support teaching the election. The left side of the booklet I created follows Maria, a student whose class is conducting their own election process to decide on their class field trip. Each left/ride side pair of pages covers one part of the election (the history, candidates, parties, conventions, etc.), so the right side has informational text and features about the real election process.
As students read, they use the brochure template to keep track of their learning. I have also provided 3-5 discussion and reflection questions to accompany each pair of pages so that you can really dive into the information, including how the fiction and nonfiction pieces go together.
🗒️Don’t want to cover everything here? No problem. Not only have I included two ways to compile the booklet to make your prep easier, but I have also included single page versions of everything so you can pick and choose what you’d like to teach.
🖥️Are you still teaching virtually? No worries! I’ve got you covered. All of this is included in multiple digital options, too. You can assign an interactive version, a read only version of the booklet, or single pages from the booklet.
🤔Are you concerned about introducing biased material? Me too. I had this fact-checked and bias-checked by multiple independent editors and experts and worked carefully to avoid any bias or controversial statements.
🧑🏽💼Are you worried about addressing specific candidates this election season? I get that. While you definitely can do this if it works for you and your class, I decided not to incorporate those specifics into this resource.
If you are ready to check out the resource, CLICK HERE.
Free Resources for Teaching
While I have provided a ton of information and activities in the resource, I wanted to add just a bit more. There is a glossary of bolded words from the text, so I wanted a way for my kids to be able to keep track of their definitions. I made a little election vocabulary foldable for them to use in their reading notebooks, and then it snowballed, and I added several more activities! Instead of adding these four pages of election activities to the product, I decided to offer them free here. You can use them without the resource, but I intend on using the information from my election resource to complete the tasks.
Kids Books about the Election
I mentioned earlier that we were going to read a TON of election books for kids. Luckily, there are dozens of fantastic choices out there that cover so many aspects of the presidential election. I love following Ramona Recommends and The Book Wrangler on Instagram for book recommendations, but here are a few of mine!
As am Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. You can see all of my choices linked HERE on my Amazon Storefront. These are all books we own and believe in!
I have really carefully selected a wide variety of books that show multiple perspectives… these books cover the history of voting, suffrage, the importance of voting, the election process, etc. It is really important to me that my kids understand that not everyone was just handed the right to vote, and these books really help to accomplish that.
I would LOVE to hear how you plan to address the election this year! Drop me a comment below and share with me. 🙂