Friday, September 12, 2008

Presidential Education

Even though the children can’t vote, I decided the theme for our read-aloud at the homeless shelter last night would be “Presidential Elections.” Some day they will be old enough to vote and they can certainly encourage their moms to vote in the upcoming election.

I held up the above book "Son of Promise, Child of Hope", published on August 26, which I had ordered from Amazon. Here’s the way the conversation went:

Me: Does anyone know who this man is?
Kid 1: I don’t know.
Kid 2: Barack Obama.
Me: Can you tell me something about him?
Kid 2: He ran for President and lost to a white man.
Me: Not just yet. The election will happen later this Fall and many people are supporting him.

BINGO! That’s why this is an important topic, even for kids.

The book, which obviously was published in haste, was quite well done. It interspersed the questions and comments of a single mom and her son David who were watching this year’s Democratic Convention with the life story of Barack Obama.

The kids got to read David’s part and to say “Yes, we can” at the appropriate place.

We then read a book called “So You Want to be President”, which was a treasure trove of information about all our Presidents to date. It included such trivia as the following:

Theodore Roosevelt’s children didn’t just have pets, they ran a zoo. They had dogs, cats, guinea pigs, snakes, mice, rats, badgers, raccoons, parrots, and a Shetland pony called Algonquin. To cheer up his sick brother, young Quentin once took Algonquin upstairs in the White House elevator!

By the end of our reading, a 7-year-old boy announced in all seriousness, “I think I want to be President.” I replied, “I’ll be you can do it!”

For our activity, the children could write a letter to anyone in one of the current campaign families. Here is a letter to Malia and Sasha from the boy who wants to be President one day:

And another to Senator Obama:

I'm trying to figure out where to send these letters. It would mean so much to these kids if they got an answer. Any ideas?


Blogger Lemmonex said...

You can send them to the campaign OR the Senator's office on the Hill. A staff will probably send an answer, though it could take a few months.

10:21 AM  
Blogger Steve said...

Yeah, I was going to suggest his Senate office. I'm sure they'd get a response.

It's never too soon to teach kids about Democracy and voting! I love it that one kid thought the election had already happened. You'd think so, wouldn't you, based on the coverage in recent weeks!

10:37 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Lemmonex -- Thanks so much for the information. I just spoke to a wonderful woman at the Obama office in Chicago who gave me an address and assured me the kids would get an answer!

10:39 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Steve -- I'm thinking the kid that thought it was over had seen the Republican Convention following on the heels of the Democratic Convention and figured they had won!

The kids are very cute. They seemed so excited about the election by the end of the hour. A small triumph!

I'm always amazed at what they don't know about things we take for granted.

10:41 AM  
Blogger Mo said...

What a great idea! Kudos to you for doing this. And Kid 2's comment? I don't know whether to laugh or cry :)

10:50 AM  
Blogger Kristin said...

Great books and a fantastic session (once the kids arrived). I'd imagine that either his office here or the campaign office would forward the letters.

1:53 PM  
Blogger media concepts said...

I never pimp my individual blog posts, but I'll make an exception this time. This post I wrote in December 2005 could be read to kids as a civics lesson, and the teachers might get something out of it on a different level.

2:43 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Mo -- You just never know what is going to come out of those kids' mouths. But you can't scream and you can't hit them. :)

Kristin -- You are always a Rock of Gibralter in these reading sessions, quietly shushing and untangling kids to try to get them to listen. Thanks so much for being my reading partner!

MC -- Loved your post. Actually I think the kids would love it too, but I'm already treading on partisan grounds...

I can just imagine what you might write if (heaven forbid) SP was elected VP. My guess is you already have a substantial draft.

3:42 PM  
Blogger Kellyann Brown said...

I love all those stickers on the postcards!!! Kelly

8:35 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Kelly -- What kid doesn't love stickers? They especially liked the glitzy ones.

I mailed the letters off today and hope someone will send the kids a response. They would be so excited!

8:45 PM  
Blogger lettuce said...

this is such a good idea - i hope they get replies

8:09 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home