It can be hard to keep graduating students engaged once the Spring arrives, but these fun, classroom election ideas that can be voted on in-person or electronically will help keep your students on track from now until June.
Senioritis and Classroom Engagement
Senioritis is a described as the general feeling of apathy that graduating students, whether in high school or at the university level, begin feeling as they inch closer to their last day.
Here at eBallot, we’ve talked before about tips and strategies to boost classroom engagement, but what can be done to engage students who have already checked out mentally?
To get a sense of what we're referring to, studies show that mock elections and classroom voting strategies can help improve student understanding of civics, problem solving solutions, and even math skills. While the benefits of online voting in the classroom discussed here place an emphasis on how this helps educators and students, there is evidence to suggest that holding mock elections within schools can improve a nation’s overall voter turnout percentage.
How to Set Up a Mock Election
The first thing to think about when setting up a mock election is to determine the type of ballot you’d like them vote on. Will they be deciding on political issues, community initiatives, or classroom measures? Will there be a campaign process associated with this election, or will it be a referendum style vote? Here a few suggestions for each.
- Political Issues: Keep it light and have students vote on a variety of education policies that would have an impact on their school district, post-graduation. You can have students campaign for their favorite policies before the vote and then use the opportunity to explain how different political systems have varying processes for voting on policy.
- Community Initiatives: With hot button topics happening every day, it’s important to teach your students how to debate their stances in a way that facilitates a positive exchange of ideas. Why not have a referendum on key community issues that your students are most passionate about? Check out our sample ballots for classroom voting here.
- Campus Measures: If you're truly committed to to staving off senioritis, try having your class vote on measures that impact them the most. For example, allow students to choose their senior trip or prom destinations with electronic ballots or use an enterprise voting solution like ours to let university students decide on campus speaker selections. This will not help your students want to be more involved, but it also helps ensure that they'll feel heard by the administration.
Mock Election Ideas for High School Seniors
- Student Loan Interest Rates Hike
Your students may not understand the financial and logistical complexity that goes into passing a spending bill or regulating interest rates, but that doesn’t mean they can’t feel the impact.
Start teaching the value of paying attention to education politics by asking students to research the impact of a student loan interest rate hike on their 5 or 10 year plan, and then run a vote to see which students are for or against the increase.
This can be used as a valuable way to get students to think about the importance of affordable education and also about how the current student loan crisis could affect them for years to come.
- Free College Prep Courses for All HS Seniors or New Library for ES School Students
Teenagers tend to have a more optimistic view of community building and organizing than most adults, and a lot of that comes from the naive understanding of local politics.
Give students a chance to make the hard choices by asking them to decide between two well-intentioned community initiatives, and have them defend why they chose one over the other.
This will give your students a chance to think about their values, why they hold them, and learn how to exchange their beliefs in a healthy and respectful manner.
- Change School Start Time By One Hour
Lastly, you can give students an idea of how increased responsibility leads to making tough choices.
Propose a change in school start time to your class, and then assign them the task of managing the logistics when making such a change. Make sure they understand the processes, organizational flow, and task management efforts that it will take to make the transition run smoothly.
Once they’ve considered all aspects, ask your students to vote yea or nay on the change and then discuss the risk/benefit analysis that goes into the voting process for these kinds of large, group decisions.
If you’re an educator or school system looking for electronic classroom voting software or mock elections tool, visit our K-12 Education page and learn more about how eBallot can support online classroom voting today for the decision makers of tomorrow.