Despite the crushing never ending line of students that need passwords reset at the beginning of the year, and all of the glitches I’ve been helping people fix with their technology, I managed to finish my first full fledged effort in creating my own flipchart for a Promethean Board. I’ve been using some of the premade ones downloadable via the insanely helpful Promethean Planet site (it’s free!), but once I saw that they had posted some resources and templates for the 2008 election, my curiosity was peaked.
While perusing the resources I noticed an invitation to apply for Promethean’s student elections. The idea being, that using the board and the student response devices, we could have the students vote, and then submit those votes online with other Promethean users around the country. To my surprise, I was chosen, and received an exciting e-mail that notified me that my school had been chosen as the Michigan representative in Promethean’s online 2008 Student Elections. My curiosity turned into determination to create a flipchart that would provide the students with a good working knowledge of the issues.
When it comes to student presidential elections, I abhor the typical “Rah, rah for my candidate; Boo for the other guy!” attitude that permeates their lunchroom and playground discussions. SO instead I visited Nickelodeon’s Kids Pick the President website, dug around in Discovery Streaming, and put together a nice flipchart that helps explain how the Electoral College works, and presented 5 of the issues from the 2 major candidates. I’ve had great success with all of my 4th grade students this past week, and they’ve all thoroughly enjoyed sharing their opinions and voting on the issues; rather than show them which candidate supports which measures, I hid the candidates while discussing the two positions on the issue, and then had them vote. Only after we had voted, and I let a few students share their viewpoints or thoughts did I move the presidential seal I had covering the two faces of John McCain and Barack Obama; the results were priceless. Several times the kids jaws dropped as they realized that they had voted for the position of the candidate they were against, especially when it came to healthcare and education.
In all, we had a wonderful time digging into the issues, and opening up our minds a little bit more beyond the typical “cheerleading” that occurs during election season. In fact, by the end of our discussions, several kids changed their minds on who they wanted to vote for (in both directions too!). If you’d like to use the flipchart in your classroom, I highly recommend taking a look at how I typed up the issues. I tried to make them as neutral as possible, copying them almost verbatim from the Nickelodeon site, but you’re more than welcome to change them if you think they’re biased one direction or another. It was interesting to me to see just how evenly split they were on issues like the War in Iraq and the Environment, and how different they were on Education.
The flipchart is available for download over at Promethean Plant; just follow the link below: