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Lesson Plan

Voting! What's It All About?

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Voting! What's It All About?

Grades 3 – 5
Lesson Plan Type Unit
Estimated Time Eight 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Renee Goularte

Renee Goularte

Magalia, California


National Council of Teachers of English



Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice



Students begin this unit by writing about what they know about voting to provide a basis for future discussion. Students discuss information read aloud from a variety of sources. Throughout the unit, students collect images, articles, and other things they can use to create a graffiti wall about voting. They create a chart listing what they know about the current election and how they know it, then examine the chart to determine which items are fact and which are opinion. They explore the history of voting and voting rights and create a timeline of voting history. Working in small groups, students explore election information from current sources and record information on sticky notes for the fact/opinion chart and the graffiti wall. Finally, students use the notes and materials they have collected to create the graffiti wall. They write about which candidate they would vote for, focusing on fact over opinion.

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Election Websites: Use these resources as a starting point for researching elections online.

Voting and Elections Book List: This annotated booklist is a good resource for selecting books that are appropriate for your class' needs.

Fact-Opinion Writing Rubric: This rubric is useful for assessing any persuasive writing focusing on fact and opinion.

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As Helen Dale explains in her Co-Authoring in the Classroom, "Working together on a shared goal leads to higher achievement than working alone, and it leads to gains in the kinds of thinking teachers like to model for students: high-level reasoning, generation of new ideas, and transfer of knowledge from one situation to another (Johnson & Johnson, 1994)" (5). Collaborating as they research the election process and compose their graffiti wall, students participate in the cooperative learning experiences which Dale identifies. In addition to the cognitive gains that students make as they collaborate, Dale states, "Working together on a project can involve authentic learning for students. Peer groups concentrate on what the student learns, not on what the teacher knows." Furthermore, as Dale writes, "In groups, students need to do something: communicate, organize, interpret, or apply" (6). That is exactly what will occur in this lesson: students will be doing something together, as they work to explore a variety of resources in this ongoing inquiry project.

Further Reading

Dale, Helen. 1997. Co-Authoring in the Classroom: Creating an Environment for Effective Collaboration. Urbana, IL: NCTE.

Read more about this resource


Burns, Terry J.  "Making Politics Primary: Exploring Critical Curriculum with Young Children." Language Arts 82.1 (September 2004): 56-67.

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