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Monday, November 7, 2011


Tomorrow is the second Tuesday in November and the official “Voting Day.”  I know many schools will be closed tomorrow, so today is the perfect time to discuss what it means to be an American and the privilege that we have to vote.  Here are some good questions:
         How old must you be to vote?
         Can men and women both vote?
         Do you have to pay to vote?
         What does “secret ballot” mean?
         How do you determine who wins?

The “majority rules” is a key concept to our democracy and something that you can practice in your classroom on a daily basis.  Let children vote on the game they want to play, the song they want to sing, or the story they want to hear.  The teacher will still be in charge by selecting two or three options (the outcome of which will achieve her goals), but the children will buy into the idea because they have some voice in the matter.  Voting can also contribute to the feeling of community and team spirit in your classroom. 

In my kindergarten I set up a cardboard box on a table to be the voting booth.  Children took turns checking off a class roster as their friends voted in the booth.  The ballot had two options for each of these categories:  game, story, song, and snack.  There were picture clues along with the words so children could “read” and mark their choice.  A shoebox became the ballot box and the excitement increased as we tallied results at morning meeting.

I remember in my history of education class that the purpose of schools in the United States was to “educate to perpetuate a democratic citizenry.”  You can plant the seeds in your classroom today and every day by providing children with the opportunity to vote!