What a meaningful way to introduce and begin our current events than through the discussion of “What is voting?” This week the Grade One students have discussed: Why we vote, who the candidates are, and whether or not children have the right to vote.
All Canadians are protected by certain rights based on Canada’s tradition of democracy and respect for human dignity and freedom. The Grade One students understand that voting is a big responsibility, which is why they cannot vote for our next Prime Minister…yet.
When teachers access a students’ prior knowledge, we are eliciting ideas from students and are scaffolding the organizational process of putting our thoughts into a concrete avenue, writing. Retrieving our prior knowledge, the Grade One students were able to discuss Where we vote,“In a box with a curtain so your vote is secret.” T.J. Who are we voting for, “We will vote for Government people and the next President of Canada.” L.T., “Oh, don’t you mean the Prime Minister?” N.Z. “Yes, you are right. The President is in charge of the U.S.A.” L.T.
Learning becomes meaningful and effective, when and if students are given the opportunity to link their own lives to real-life current events/experiences. This process allows us to authenticate each child’s learning experience. We are able to build upon their prior knowledge, as well as their current wonderings, in order to make sense and grow their mindsets.
Employing our prior knowledge, the Grade One students were able to dig deeper into their initial understandings of, “What is voting?” through reading the short story “Can I vote?” The story is about a young boy who is disappointed that he isn’t old enough to vote although he thinks his voice should be heard. This was very much the case for the Grade One students as well.
“I think people would want to hear what I have to say.” L.T.
“Well, Mrs. M. you are like the Prime Minister of Grade One and Mrs. O. is the Prime Minister of Richland Academy…Could one of us be the Prime Minister of Grade One for a day?”T.J.
“We could write a speech and then vote who we want as our Grade One Prime Minister.” S.G.
Aligning with the Ontario Curriculum, the students will be able to “communicate ideas, opinions, and information orally in a clear, coherent manner using simple, but appropriate organizational patterns (e.g. give an oral account of a current event).”
The Grade One students are drafting/writing their speeches. “We are writing a speech about what we are good at. This might make someone want to vote for us.” L.T. Through listening to their voices and creating an opportunity to connect to their feelings during a week when our very own country is choosing the next Prime Minister of Canada, we will allow all students to create meaningful speeches that speak from their hearts. Stay tuned to find out who the Grade One Prime Minister will be.