Teaching students about the voting process and the value of elections not only encourages them to make their voices heard but also inspires them to become engaged citizens later in life.
That's why it's important to make voting an active part of your classroom and school. Get your students started with voting using some of these ideas for voting activities:
- Vote on Student Preferences - Give your students statements in which they can respond in three ways: Agree, Disagree, or No Opinion. You can also invite students to give their own statements to be voted upon. Conclude by voting on a statement that can be tallied and implemented immediately, such as whether or not they would like to work on a project individually or in groups.
- Demonstrate Different Approaches to Counting Votes - Give your students a variety of options to vote on, like their preference of book to read as a class, but give certain students two votes instead of one. An easy way to do this is to split up the class by their birthday month -- students born in months before July get twice as many votes than students born on or after July, or vice versa. This lesson demonstrates alternative ways of counting votes and can spark debate regarding how to fairly tally votes in different circumstances.
- Mock Presidential Election - When teaching students about history, politics, or current events, one way to increase their participation is to hold a mock presidential election during election years. This can encourage students to research candidates and positions that they feel strongly about and will prepare them to become future voters when they are eligible.
Voting as a Student or Class Body
- Talent Show Winning Acts - One fun way to get the student body involved in voting is to have them select their favorite performances from the school talent show. Students could also vote within different talent categories, such as Best Musical Act, Best Comedy Act, etc.
- School Motto/Mascot - If your school is new or decides to rebrand its image, it might be a good idea to have students propose new mascots or mottos and vote on their favorites in an all-school election.
- School Dance Theme - If your school holds social events like dances, invite your students to vote on a theme of their choice. This encourages creativity and involvement, which may ultimately lead to higher turnout for the event later on.
- Student Council Elections - Perhaps the easiest example of elections in schools are student councils. Student Councils give your students fantastic opportunities to learn about running a campaign, speaking to their peers, and getting involved in their communities.
- Student Council Officer Elections - While each school may differ on the organization of its student council, many opt to elect representatives within each class, then conduct officer elections for the whole school to participate in. Officer elections could also take place solely among the elected members of class representatives to keep things simple.
- Student Council Initiatives - Officers and representatives within the student council may propose new initiatives or actions for other members to vote on.
- Teacher of the Year - One way for your school to show appreciation for your teachers is to have students nominate and vote on their favorite teachers, with a ceremony or recognition for the winner taking place at the end of the school year.
- Faculty of the Year - Likewise, your school may want to show appreciation for the hard-working faculty like custodians, librarians, nurses, or food service workers. Students can vote on their favorites and give them recognition at the end of the year.
- Faculty Committee Positions - Teachers shouldn't have to miss out on the fun of voting! If your teachers create committees like an employee "fun" committee or a diversity committee, they can elect committee directors or vote on initiatives for the committee to take on.
These are just a few examples of what you can do with voting in schools. Do you have voting examples that did not make this list?