(Photos and video by WSB’s Patrick Sand)
A presidential vote this morning at Roxhill Elementary! Above, students listen to Roxhill teacher Christopher Robert, who explained the plan in advance, via e-mail:
The 5th grade teaching team has collaborated for the past three weeks on a project in which students and some staff will finally cast their Presidential votes for either Lilly (Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse, Julius, the Baby of the World) or Sam (the Library Mouse books). The idea originated when librarian Pat (Bliquez) read Grace for President during Library time. Both classes were learning about the upcoming election during Social Studies time, and we began to think of a way to help make the idea of the Electoral College more concrete for the students. We decided to have an election at school on Election Day.
Instead of choosing between the real presidential candidates, they chose the book characters.
Made sense for a variety of reasons, Robert continued:
Of course, this tied in perfectly with our October unit on character during Readers’ Workshop. Books were read to students either during Library time, as read alouds, or as part of a minilesson during Workshop. Students brainstormed character traits that a President should have, and then they thought and wrote about which of these Presidential character traits were possessed by Lilly and Sam. At the same time, they were each randomly assigned one of the 50 states, and during Computer time, they did some research on their state (nickname, number of Electoral College votes, interesting fact).
We were there for the start of the election proceedings, which Robert explained in advance as follows:
We will gather in the cafeteria. Patriotic music will play as students enter. After a welcome, two students will share their essays, one in support of Lilly, one in support of Sam.
(Our video of the speeches)
We will then begin the alphabetical roll call of states in which students/staff will stand at the microphone with a placard of their state and cast their electoral votes for either Sam or Lilly. We will keep track of the votes as we go along (so a little mental addition will happen). Even if one of the candidates reaches the coveted 270 votes, we will continue the roll call till we get to Wyoming. Finally, a winner will be announced. From there, the 5th graders will retire to the library for a small celebration (patriotic cupcakes). Upon their return to the classroom, students/staff will color a map of their state either yellow (Lilly) or purple (Sam) based on how they voted, and we will place these states as a map on the wall between the intermediate restrooms.
Since we weren’t there for the entire “election,” we have a message out to see which character won.
5:10 PM UPDATE: Teacher Christopher Robert replied – saying Sam the “library mouse” was Roxhill’s choice for president.