Post Election Processing

Learn about Our Government and Express your Hopes For the US

Greeting

Sit in a circle if possible. Invite students to share...

--Something they're hopeful about in their lives or in the world. OR...

--An issue in the world that they care about deeply. (Hunger, Education, Immigration, Peace...)


Emphasize and encourage positive language. ("I hope that..." rather than "I'm scared that..." or "I am concerned about peace in the world" rather than "I hate war".)

Introduce Lesson

Acknowledge feelings: "US presidential elections can cause big feelings, no matter who gets elected. The language in presidential campaigns can sound divisive and mean, and strong talk about issues we have deep personal views on can create feelings of anger and fear. As middle school students, you might have very strong feelings about people and issues facing our nation and world, and it's easy to feel powerless. However, your energy and voice do matter in this school and to people who care about you, and having more information and ways to express what you're feeling can help a lot. By exploring our values and convictions, we can be more informed and active citizens.


Today we're going to talk a little bit about how our government works and balances power, and then we're going to create some space to explore values and convictions. What are some ways we can be kind and compassionate toward each other while we have these kinds of discussions? (Take some answers...for example: listen actively, acknowledge others' points of view, use kind language, etc).

What questions did that video create for you?

Notice that the executive branch, which includes the President, is powerful, but is monitored and balanced by the Supreme Court and the Legislative Branch of the House and Senate. The President cannot make laws by him- or herself!!

What's Next... (Two Options, or Both!)

Option 1: We talked in the beginning about something you are hopeful about. What do you hope the President of the United States will be able to do in his 4 years? How would you like someone in that position to behave? What is the most important issue facing our country that you think the President should focus on? What message do you think the President should send to the rest of the world about our country? Check out these letters from other young people to the next President. They come from all over the country. Let's write our own letters to the next President, and maybe we can add them to the bank of letters represented on this website. Our voices can be heard, and expressing our hopes through writing is a great way to express our values and convictions so that we can learn more about them and take them with us.


(Could offer drawing as an alternative to letter writing!)


Option 2: We talked in the beginning about an issue you care deeply about. Write a few sentences down about that issue and why you care about it. Then we'll get into partners and share our issues. After discussing with your partner, find another pair and share the issues of concern among all 4 students. Any common themes? After the group of 4 discusses, let's come back as a whole class and make a class list of issues that concern us. We will compile all these lists from each class and make a school-wide list of issues that concern Fulmore students, to be shared with the district and beyond! (could use chart paper and post-its for this, do as a gallery walk, etc)



In Closing...

Bring students back to a circle if possible. Invite them to each fill in the sentence stem: "One thing I know is true: ." Model positive answers like "One thing I know is true, is that my family always has my back." or "...is that I will be paying attention to what this President does." or ..."is that there are many people who feel the same way I do." or "...is that I am not alone." or "...is that the President cannot act on his own very often!" Thank them for their thoughtful insight, and remind them that their voices and presence on this campus are valued and needed!