I just finished putting together a packet for my students to work on during the inauguration tomorrow.  We will be having normal classes in the morning, and then watching the inauguration from 11:30 on.  I wanted to have a packet for the students to work on in the event that they get bored or just need something else to focus on for a few minutes.

I am thrilled that we will be watching the inauguration activities live, because it is such a historic event!  I know I would be watching it all day if I were at home.  I just hope my students are interested, too!

Inauguration Activities?

How are you planning for the inauguration in your classroom?  I know that we are trying to figure out if we can watch the swearing-in (our students may be in lunch, where there are not televisions), but what else are you doing?  

I have been perusing this and getting some great ideas, but I would love to hear what others are doing, too!

My Class Wants You to Vote!

Click to play Vote 2008
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Nonfiction Monday: Ballots for Belva by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen

Ballots for Belva: The True Story of a Woman’s Race for the Presidency was exactly what I needed in this race to the finish for the 2008 election. I am inundated daily by campaign ads on TV, radio, flyers, and more. (We live only a few miles from a battleground state). While I am heavily invested in the race, I am sick and tired of the negative ads. I have been trying to stay away from politics on this blog, but picture books are partisan enough. And I really enjoyed this one!

Ballots for Belva: The True Story of a Woman’s Race for the Presidency is the story of Belva Lockwood, an woman well ahead of her time who ran for president twice, in 1884 and 1888. In this picture book biography I learned that Lockwood was married, a mother, a widow, a college graduate, a teacher, and a suffragette.  In the midst of all this, at the age of 39, she decided she wanted to become a lawyer, but no law school would admit her.  In true independent spirit, she “moved a mountain” and got her law degree.

But what the book really focuses on is Belva’s nomination at the Women’s National Equal-Rights Convention for President of the United States. The campaign was not easy for her.  Most newspapers referred to her campaign as “the most laughable masquerade… ever witnessed.” Most women did not support her! In fact, the National Woman’s Suffrage Association did not support her. But Belva continued traveling across the United States promoting her message of equal rights for all people, regardless of their gender.

I loved this book!  I think it’s a story that very few children or adults will be familiar with, but it is one that we should all know.  Belva’s campaign is inspirational and a great conversation starter with kids.  In fact, I plan to read the book to my students this Tuesday as part of our Election Day activities.  Bardhan-Quallen includes a wonderful author’s note and glossary, along with a timeline of important date’s in women’s rights.  In class, we will be using the context clues in the book to define unfamiliar vocabulary (related to the election) in the book, and then checking our answers against the glossary.

While this is an especially timely book during this election season, I think this would also fit in well during Women’s History Month (when I plan to use it again).  Our students need to know that there are amazing women besides Susan B. Anthony and Rosa Parks out there!  (Any teacher knows that these are the only famous women chosen for Women’s History projects, year in and year out!).  Hopefully, Belva will introduce students and teachers to a new heroine!

Election 2008

Like Stacey, I spent a lot of time today considering how I would approach the election with my students this week.  Due to the NJEA Teacher’s Convention, we only have a 3-day week, so things are hectic as it is!  But I knew that I wanted to involve my students as much as possible in this historic election while still allowing enough time to move forward with Tuck Everlasting and our personal essay unit of study.  Then, while paging through some of my resources, I had a great idea.  

Susan E. Goodman’s See How They Run: Campaign Dreams, Election Schemes, and the Race to the White House is a book I have been meaning to use all year, but somehow never got to until now.  While perusing Susan’s website today I found a great presidential survey for kids.   With a few adaptations, I made a copy that I can use in my classroom tomorrow.  My students will be filling out the survey and then writing an essay entry in their writer’s notebook about the 3 biggest issues our new president will face upon election.  I am really looking forward to hearing their thoughts!