Sunday, October 16, 2016

Teacher: I like to engage my fifth-graders in presidential elections. ‘But not this year. I just can’t!’ - The Washington Post

Teacher: I like to engage my fifth-graders in presidential elections. ‘But not this year. I just can’t!’ - The Washington Post:

Teacher: I like to engage my fifth-graders in presidential elections. ‘But not this year. I just can’t!



Election years offer teachers rich opportunities to bring students into the electoral process in real time. But “not this year,” according to Ralph Ratto, an elementary school teacher from Long Island and president of his local teachers union. In this post, Ratto explains why this race between Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is different — and what he is doing with his fifth-grade students that is different from past election years. A version of this appeared on Ratto’s blog, Opine I Will. He tweets at @rratto.
By Ralph Ratto
Nine- and 10-year-old children are a curious bunch. They are on the cusp of adolescence and are just beginning to get a grasp on the outside world. Their minds are like sponges, soaking up everything that is around them. This is a very special time in their lives where they have opinions based on their own schema.
As a fifth-grade teacher, I have always looked forward to election season to introduce the concept of opinions, fact and fiction. I particularly enjoyed introducing my young students to presidential campaigns, the Electoral College and the importance of debate in our democratic process.
Not this year.
In the past, my students looked at candidates, discussed their campaigns, looked at the issues and debated themselves. We always had mock elections, and looking at the results was often an interesting exercise. My students usually began by parroting what was heard at home or they would disagree with what they heard at home. I encouraged them to read the news and watch news channels.
We often discussed the different viewpoints presented. We read opinion pieces and discussed that opinions were worthless unless backed up with real facts. I also encouraged them to watch the debates and be prepared to discuss them the next day in class. Yes, we did that in fifth grade!
Not this year!
How can I? This year I cannot discuss the issues with children. In addition, I am faced with Teacher: I like to engage my fifth-graders in presidential elections. ‘But not this year. I just can’t!’ - The Washington Post:




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