My Kindergarteners are participating in a mock election at school today. I was really looking forward to being there for it, but Isaac got sick at daycare again. There’s nothing like being stuck under a feverish baby to make time for blogging.
We found out about the election last Wednesday and my mind immediately began racing, thinking about how to approach this election with 5 year olds. When I mentioned voting around the primaries to my last group, they said they would vote for George Washington, Barack Obama, or themselves. I didn’t know if they knew the candidates or what they had heard at home.
I decided to copy one of my high school teachers. When he covered government, he introduced the issues first. He described both sides and had us write about and discuss how we felt. Then he told us which party believed what. Back then I thought I was Republican because my family was, but I didn’t know what that really meant. Each day, I was shocked to see more check marks ending up on the Democrat side of my chart.
During breakfast in the classroom Thursday morning, I made a chart with a red Trump and blue Hillary. I made it then because that’s when I had the time, but it helped me get a feel for what my bitties knew in a candid way. Many knew who Trump was, calling him dumb and a bad president. (I stopped myself from commenting or giving high fives.) Nobody knew who Clinton was and a few called her Trump’s girlfriend.
Thursday afternoon, I brought up previous conversations about littering and recycling. I explained that many scientists believe that we are hurting our planet by using so much gas in our cars, planes, etc. I described the businesses that rely on gas to do their jobs. Then, I let them ask questions and talk. I gave them two choices: keep going as we are and risk hurting the planet more or work hard to find other ways to make things go. Every one of them voted for making our planet happy. One boy suggested we replace gas with cheetahs. I drew a happy Earth under Hillary (hopefully Bernie sways her in that direction more than she really is) and a sad Earth under Trump.
Friday morning I brought up two helpers. I explained that both students worked hard at their jobs but they made different amounts of money. I gave 2 counters to A and about 20 to D. Then, I gave the scenario that A got sick and needed medicine. The medicine costed 5 counters, but she only had 2. (D tried to share, but I stopped him and continued.) I asked them to talk with their partners and answer two questions: Should D help A because he has more money? and Should the president be allowed to make D help her?
When they were done talking, I had them split into 2 groups: Yes, the president should make D help A and No, A needs to figure out how to get the money herself. (I also reminded them to choose for themselves and not follow their friends). I drew a bandaid under Hillary and an Xed out bandaid under Trump. I ended up with 5 Trump voters and 11 Clinton.
This morning I was going to bring up Education (both public and college). Maybe I will tomorrow even though they already voted. A few on my team suggested Immigration, because many of our students are Mexican. We’ll see. Either way, I’m proud of my bitties for getting involved in the discussions and being smart voters. I wish I could be there to cheer them on today.