Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Election of the Year--Coming Soon!!

No one seems to have been able to fight the urge to get involved with politics this year. In an attempt to keep our students from arguing the pros and cons of Obama and McCain, it seemed to be a good idea to have our own election. Over the past several weeks, fourth and fifth grade classes have gone from the primary process to being almost ready for our own election. The difference from earlier elections is that they are creating their own parties to run books for President and Vice President of the library.

We began with nominations for each position. The students worked to define the eligibility requirements for president, settling on candidate being a work of fiction of at least 150 pages that is suitable for upper elementary and middle school students. The nominee can be a single book or a series. The nomination lists were long--much like the national presidential process which seemed to begin with everyone but me throwing a hat in the ring. We had repeated votes (primaries) to eliminate candidates until we came to one winning candidate. Much like the Clinton and Obama battle. it was not always easy to get a consensus for a final candidate. Students gave brief speeches supporting their favorites and some heated, but really quite logical and generally civil, discussions ensued. Not everyone was always happy with how things went. Feeling that they were being disregarded throughout the process, we have had threats of walk-outs by part of at least one party.

Unlike human candidates, books rely on their supporters for a voice, so the presidential candidates did not get to select their vice presidents. Instead, we did another nomination and elimination of candidates. For our purposes, the VP has to be a picture book or easy reader. There was much discussion about a good book versus a recognizable name that might be more electable.

Then there was the selection of a good party name. Some great names were discussed (and some pretty ridiculous ones as well) and the names were slowly winnowed away. There was a desire to appeal to the masses and to cross existing divisions for a party name that appeal to voters and represent a united front.

The parties are currently busy making posters and other advertising. They will have short statements about their candidates and the authors behind those candidates. They are also selecting their potential cabinet.

You, the readers of this blog, will have the opportunity to join the students of our school in voting for the winners. In the coming week, information about each of the candidates along with the cabinet selections will be posted on this blog. A poll will be added to the blog so that you may vote for your favorite party and its candidates. It will be a tough decision since each party has put a lot of thought into picking the very best candidates for this prestigious position. Please consider all that you read about the candidates and vote wisely.

Until the actual election, feel free to leave your comments. Let's get a healthy discussion going here.

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