Elections – it’s not a topic that everyone likes to teach! How about a fun activity that integrates literacy as well as civics in a fun and meaningful way?
So I posted a book review of Danny Katz’s book A Little Election. Lots of you liked and and emailed asking what activities I did with the book – so I have worked hard to polish up my flipbook so you can get your class as interested in this topic as mine were.
This flipbook is written for an Australian audience but to be honest it could be used in any country that hold elections for a Prime Minister through a democratic vote for a political party.
This flipbook activity is best done at the start of the year. Most Aussie school who have SRC reps will elect them sometime in the first two weeks of school. I usually complete this activity towards the end of week 1/beginning of week 2 to give them time to get to know each other and finish off the activities.
Now, let’s get to the good stuff!
What you will need
* a copy of A Little Election by Danny Katz
* a copy of the flipbook (1 per student)
* a box of some description (tissue boxes or flip-top boxes work well)
This is going to depend on your class but you need to allow at least 2 x 1.5 hour lessons. I found afternoon lessons worked well for most of the class.
Special tips for teaching?
Firstly, I like to read to page 19 in A Little Election and stop there so the class doesn’t know who wins the election.
What makes a good leader. You may wish to brainstorm this as a class first or just have students write their thoughts directly on their page and then share. Either way, make sure you get the class talking.
Opinion writing. I love giving students a statement to see if they agree or not. I got a mixed response last year for this one.
Subjectively looking at characters. For once the students get to put the facts aside and go with their gut – you will get some hilarious responses. This activity also includes two special folding pieces to make.
Count the vote is an actual voting task to do based on A Little Election. Ballot papers are also included and the graph caters for classes up to 34. You may wish to call out the votes and tally on a board or just have the students mark the results one at a time as you call them. Up to you.
Slogan writing. This activity breaks up the writing to let them be creative. You can either use the page for ideas and then have them create their slogan on a larger sheet of paper – or do ideas in the back of their book and use the sheet as the good copy.
Speech. Yes, time for the students to all think about their good points. A lot of students tend to write this piece for their SRC speech. Whether they actually run for the position of not, it is good to have the students write about the positive point about themselves and have a “maybe I can be a leader” attitude as opposed to “I wouldn’t be good as a leader”.
I also did an activity with my class of the Australian prime ministers from Edmund Barton to present – but this isn’t included in this flipbook. I may look at that set later on though. Basically it was a visual timeline set which required the students to look at the prime ministers and decide in what order they served.
It is so much for fun to have the elections role-play activity. You could just collect the votes for Debra-Jo and Rory but come on – let’s get creative! The students will love it!
I used a little flip-top box (I got it at a discount because there was a tear on the bottom from Cheap as Chips. It was also my first class mailbox before we got…well a real mailbox).
I printed the sign in colour (included with the flipbook) and laminated (as I use it every year). I tried to find clipart that was country-neutral – this was the best I could do – not a lot of Aussie-specific clipart out there at the moment! (In 2018 I added a blackline version of the sign shown and also an alternative one that isn’t as “young” looking).
I attached a name / place holder tag (apparently people use them on table to put a sign in to show who sits where – they were about .75 cents from a newsagency) with Velcro towards the back.
Then I just slipped the laminated sign into the holder and voila! I had myself a ballot box!
I hope this gives you a fresh approach for teching Elections and Civics in your classroom this year!