As the election day approaches, teachers all across the United States are trying to figure out ways to engage their elementary students in the democratic process. One way to do that is by encouraging them to keep a journal. Of course, journal prompts can be used for a variety of reasons, but in this context, they can be especially effective in stimulating young minds to think critically about their role in the voting process.
Here are some sample journal prompts that can help your students understand why people vote, the importance of their voices being heard, and how they can make a difference in the world. For instance, ask them to complete a brainstorming exercise to list various reasons why people might go to the polls, like “to improve their community, to make a difference in their country, to have a say in decision-making,” and so on. Through this process, you can help them to develop a sense of civic duty that can stay with them for years to come.
Another timely prompt is asking students to consider how the laws and policies they vote for may affect their lives over the long-term. By getting young learners to reflect on the implications of their choices, you empower them to be more informed and thoughtful about the democratic process overall. And isn’t that the ultimate outcome we’re hoping for–to create young people empowered to care and understand how their country supports, protects and serves them?
Election Process Explained for Elementary Students
The election process can seem confusing to elementary students, but it is an important part of our democracy. In elections, we choose who will represent us and make decisions on our behalf. Here is a simple explanation of the election process:
- Candidates decide they want to run for office and announce their candidacy.
- Candidates participate in debates and share their ideas with the public.
- Registered voters go to their polling place on election day to cast their vote.
- Voters may also vote early or by mail in some states.
- Votes are counted to determine the winner of the election.
- The winner is sworn into office and begins their term.
- The process repeats for future elections.
- Our democracy allows us to peacefully transfer power from one leader to the next.
- Voters must be registered to vote in order to participate in the election.
- Each state has different rules for who can vote and how to register.
- People over 18 years old are generally eligible to vote.
- Students can learn about the election process by following current events and reading news articles.
- Teachers can facilitate discussions in the classroom about the election process and candidates.
- Voting is an important way to have your voice heard and make a difference in your community.
- It is important to respect the outcome of the election and work together for the good of the community.
By understanding the election process, elementary students can be empowered to participate in our democracy when they are old enough to vote. Teachers and parents can encourage students to ask questions, learn about candidates and issues, and emphasize the importance of voting.
With this knowledge, students can begin to see the importance of civic engagement and how everyone can make a meaningful impact in their community and country.
History of Election Day for Elementary Students
Election Day is a special day where people of a country decide who will get elected to represent them. In the United States, Election Day is held every four years on the Tuesday following the first Monday in November. This tradition dates back more than two centuries to when the first presidential election was held in 1789.
- The first presidential election was held on January 7, 1789, but it was not until 1845 that Congress decided to set a specific day for the election. Before that, states could hold their elections on any day they chose.
- The date of the election was chosen to accommodate the needs of farmers who were busy with the fall harvest but still needed time to travel to their polling places. It was also important to avoid holding the election on a Sunday, due to religious beliefs.
- In 1872, Thomas Nast, a famous cartoonist, drew a picture of a donkey representing the Democratic Party and an elephant representing the Republican Party. This tradition has been carried on to this day and is often depicted in political cartoons.
- In 1920, women were given the right to vote in the United States, making Election Day an even more important day for all citizens to participate in democracy.
- In 1964, the 24th Amendment was ratified, eliminating the poll tax, which had been used to prevent many people from voting. This was a major step forward for equal voting rights.
- In 1971, Congress passed the 26th Amendment, which lowered the voting age from 21 to 18. This was in response to the fact that many 18-year-olds were being drafted to fight in the Vietnam War and felt they should have a say in the government that sent them to war.
- During the Civil Rights Movement, African Americans fought for their right to vote, and their efforts were successful with the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965.
- The concept of the Electoral College was created by the founding fathers, and it is still used to elect the president today. This system gives each state a certain number of electors, based on its size, with the winner of the popular vote in each state receiving all of that state’s electoral votes.
- Since the 2000 presidential election, there have been controversies surrounding the accuracy of the vote count. This has led to greater emphasis on the importance of ensuring the integrity of the election process.
- Some countries hold their election on weekends to allow more people to vote. Others may hold their elections on a holiday, so citizens have more time to participate in the voting process.
- Presidential elections are not the only elections that take place on Election Day. Other elections may include local offices, state legislatures, and ballot measures, making it a crucial day for democracy at all levels.
- In some countries, such as Australia, voting is mandatory, meaning all eligible citizens must vote or face a fine.
- Election Day is not just for adults. Children can participate in mock elections held in their schools, learning about the importance of making their voices heard in a democracy.
- In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic led to many changes in the election process, such as increased mail-in voting to reduce crowding at polling places and other safety measures.
- Regardless of the challenges, Election Day remains a critical day for America and other democracies worldwide. It is a time to celebrate our freedoms and take part in the democratic process that makes our countries strong.
Learning about the history of Election Day helps children understand the importance of voting and participation in democracy. It also helps to give them a sense of the legacy of those who fought to uphold our fundamental rights and freedoms.
Knowing about the challenges and victories related to voting rights can inspire children to take an active role in shaping their own future political landscape.
Fun Election Day Activities for Elementary Students
One way to engage elementary students in Election Day is to provide them with journal prompts that encourage critical thinking and self-reflection. Journaling is a fun and interactive activity for students that allows them to express their opinions and ideas about the election process. Here are 15 journal prompts for elementary students that can enhance their understanding of Election Day:
- What is an election?
- Who can vote?
- Why is it important to vote?
- How would you design the perfect voting booth?
- If you were running for president, what issues would you focus on?
- What should a president do to make our country a better place?
- What does democracy mean to you?
- How do you feel about the current political climate?
- What qualities would make someone a good president?
- If you were a reporter, what questions would you ask a candidate?
- What would you do if your candidate did not win?
- How can we encourage more people to vote?
- What is the role of the Electoral College in the presidential election?
- What are the pros and cons of a two-party political system?
- What is a swing state?
By engaging in journaling on Election Day, elementary students can gain a better understanding of the political process and the importance of civic engagement. Not only does journaling promote critical thinking and reflection, but it also encourages creativity and self-expression.
Aside from journaling, there are several other fun activities teachers can implement on Election Day. For example, teachers can organize mock elections, create campaign posters, or lead political debates. These activities not only increase student engagement but also create a fun and interactive learning environment.
Why Voting Matters: Elementary Journal Prompts
Voting is important because it allows us to have a say in the decisions that affect our lives and communities. It is a fundamental right and responsibility of all citizens to participate in the democratic process, especially at the local level. Here are some journal prompts to help elementary students understand why voting matters:
- What are some important decisions that are made in your community?
- Why is it important for everyone to have a say in these decisions?
- What are some issues that are important to you and your family?
- How can voting help to bring about positive change in your community?
- What are some of the benefits of living in a democratic society?
- What are some of the responsibilities that come with living in a democracy?
- What are some of the challenges that come with living in a democracy?
- How can you encourage others to participate in the democratic process?
- What are some ways that you can become more informed about the issues and candidates?
- What are some of the consequences of not participating in the democratic process?
- Why is it important to be respectful of other people’s opinions and beliefs?
- What are some ways that we can work together to solve problems in our community?
- What are some ways that voting can help to promote equality and social justice?
- How can you use your voice to help others who may not have the same opportunities as you?
- What are some things that you would like to see changed in your community or country?
Voting is an important way for citizens to have a voice in the democratic process. By exercising this right, we can work together to create a better future for ourselves and our communities. These journal prompts can help elementary students understand why voting matters and inspire them to become informed and engaged citizens.
Remember, every vote counts – even yours!
Famous Political Leaders: Elementary Journal Prompts
Learning about famous political leaders can be an exciting way for elementary school students to understand how political leaders have shaped our history. Journal prompts are a great way to encourage students to reflect on their learning and personal experiences as related to these leaders. Here are 15 journal prompts related to famous political leaders:
- What qualities do you think made Abraham Lincoln a great leader, and could you develop those qualities?
- What challenges do you think Harriet Tubman faced as she helped free slaves?
- What do you think Martin Luther King Jr. meant when he said, “I have a dream?”
- Why do you think Susan B. Anthony fought for women’s right to vote?
- What did you learn from researching Cesar Chavez’s work with farmworkers, and how has it changed your understanding of the importance of fair labor practices?
- What do you think it was like for Shirley Chisholm to be a black woman running for president in the 1970s?
- Why do you think Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal was important during the Great Depression?
- Why do you think John F. Kennedy was a beloved president, and how did his leadership style inspire people?
- What challenges do you think Nelson Mandela faced as he fought for freedom in South Africa?
- What did you learn from researching Malala Yousafzai’s work as an advocate for girls’ education, and how has it inspired you?
- What do you think it was like for Hillary Clinton to run for president in 2016 as a woman?
- Why was Indira Gandhi an important political leader in India, and how did she make a difference for the country?
- What do you think it takes to be a good political leader, and how can you develop those skills?
- How can you use what you know about political leaders to make your community a better place?
- Why is it important to learn about the work of historical political leaders, and how can it help you understand your own role in politics?
These are just a few examples of the many journal prompts that could help elementary students explore the lives and work of famous political leaders. By reflecting on these leaders and their accomplishments, children can better understand the importance of leadership and the role they can play in shaping our world.
Encourage your students to share their responses with each other, or to create artwork or presentations based on their journal entries, to deepen their engagement with this important topic.
Understanding Political Parties for Elementary Students
In the United States, political parties are groups of people who share similar ideas and beliefs about how the country should be run. These parties work to elect leaders who will represent their values and ideas. There are two main political parties in the United States – the Democratic Party and the Republican Party.
- The Democratic Party believes in equality and fairness for all people. They support social programs to help those in need and believe in protecting the environment.
- The Republican Party believes in individual rights and freedoms, and that people should be responsible for their own success. They support free market capitalism and less government intervention in people’s lives.
- Some people are independent and do not belong to either party. They may have their own beliefs and ideas or prefer not to align with any specific political group.
- Political parties have symbols that represent them, such as the donkey for the Democratic Party and the elephant for the Republican Party.
- Political parties also have specific colors associated with them – blue for the Democratic Party and red for the Republican Party.
- Political parties look to candidates who will best represent their values. Candidates can choose to run for office as a member of a political party or as an independent candidate.
- Political parties often have platforms that outline their beliefs and ideas. These platforms are usually released before an election and can help people understand what each party stands for.
- Political parties work to get their candidates elected, often through advertising and campaigning. This is why you may see signs, commercials, and posters for different candidates during an election season.
- People who support a particular political party often volunteer to help with campaigns or donate money to support their preferred candidates.
- Political parties have a long history in the United States and have evolved over time. For example, the Democratic Party was once the party of slave owners, but today stands for equality and justice for all people.
- Political parties are not just for adults. Children can learn about political parties and have their own opinions and ideas about the values they support.
- It’s important to listen to others’ ideas and respect their opinions, even if we don’t agree with them.
- Understanding political parties can help us make informed decisions when it comes time to vote and choose leaders who share our values and beliefs.
- Regardless of political party affiliations, it’s important to work together for the good of our country and its people.
- Belonging to a political party is not a requirement for being a good citizen, but it is one way to participate in our democracy and make our voices heard.
Understanding political parties can be an important lesson for elementary students as they learn about civics and how our government works. By learning about different political parties and their values, children can begin to form their own opinions and become informed citizens as they grow up.
It’s also important to remember that regardless of political party affiliations, we should treat others with kindness and respect and work together for the greater good. By teaching our children these values, we can help create a better future for all.
Diversity and Inclusion on Election Day: Elementary Journal Prompts
It’s important to teach children the value of diversity and inclusion in all aspects of life, including on Election Day. By including these journal prompts, children can explore their own beliefs and thoughts on these topics and how they relate to elections.
- What does diversity mean to you?
- How can diversity be beneficial for a community?
- What are some ways our school or community is diverse?
- Why is it important to include everyone’s voice in elections?
- How can we make sure that everyone has an equal opportunity to vote?
- What are some ways we can celebrate diversity on Election Day?
- How do our differences make our community stronger?
- What are some ways we can include people with different abilities in the election process?
- How can we make sure that everyone feels comfortable and safe while voting?
- What role does language play in making sure everyone understands the election process?
- How can we support candidates who promote diversity and inclusion?
- What can you do to help create a welcoming and inclusive environment on Election Day?
- How can we make sure that people from all socio-economic backgrounds have access to voting?
- What role does education play in promoting diversity and inclusion during elections?
- How can we promote respect for everyone’s opinions and beliefs during the election process?
By exploring these journal prompts, children can learn about the importance of diversity and inclusion in the election process and in their communities. They can also reflect on their own beliefs and values and how they can contribute to a more inclusive and diverse society.
As teachers, it’s important to create a safe and inclusive learning environment where all children feel valued and respected, regardless of their background or beliefs. By incorporating these journal prompts and encouraging open discussions about diversity and inclusion, we can help promote a more informed and active generation of voters.
Frequently Asked Questions About Elementary Election Day Journal Prompts
Q: What are election day journal prompts?
A: Election day journal prompts are writing prompts or questions that encourage elementary students to think about the election and their own opinions on current political issues.
Q: Why are election day journal prompts important?
A: Election day journal prompts are important because they can help develop critical thinking skills, promote civic engagement, and provide a safe and constructive way for students to express their views.
Q: What kind of prompts can be used?
A: Prompts can vary, but some examples include: “What qualities do you think make a good leader?”, “What changes would you like to see in your community?”, and “What do you think are the most important issues facing our country right now?”.
Q: How do you introduce journal prompts to students?
A: Teachers can introduce journal prompts in a variety of ways, such as presenting them as a group brainstorming activity or as a homework assignment.
Q: Can journal prompts be customized for different grade levels?
A: Yes, journal prompts can be customized based on the grade level and individual needs of the students.
Q: How often should election day journal prompts be used?
A: Election day journal prompts can be used as often as the teacher desires. Some teachers may choose to use them daily leading up to the election, while others may only use them occasionally throughout the year.
Q: Are there any resources to help with election day journal prompts?
A: Yes, resources such as Teaching Tolerance and Scholastic offer free election-themed writing prompts and lesson plans.
Thanks for Reading About Elementary Election Day Journal Prompts!
We hope this FAQ article has been helpful in answering your questions about election day journal prompts for elementary students. Remember, these prompts can be a fun and engaging tool to help students think critically about the election process and what it means to be a responsible citizen. Be sure to check out the resources mentioned above for more information and ideas on how to incorporate these prompts into your classroom. Thanks for reading and don’t forget to visit again for more helpful articles!