You can’t turn on your radio, TV, or computer without hearing news about the coming election; not to mention, all the phone calls encouraging you to get out and vote. It is such a hot topic that I decided to bring it up in a speech and language group this week. What a great opportunity to build vocabulary, practice tricky speech sounds – like “v” in “vote” – encourage correct grammar all while emphasizing civic duty to my young scholars. So, I brought in the book, Duck for President, by Doreen Cronin, illustrated by Betsy Lewin.
When a group of kindergarten students settled down around my classroom table, I asked if anyone knew the name of the president of the United States. One child looked around for clues and seeing the book in my hand, said with confidence, “Duck”.
“Well, no,” I told him, “actually, it is Barack Obama.” Then we had a nice discussion about fact and fiction. That fit in nicely with the subject of politics but I didn’t expand in that direction. Instead we talked about candidates, elections, and ballots then moved on to the book.
Duck charmed the kids but they felt Farmer Brown gave him too many chores. The cows had only to weed the garden and the sheep just had to sweep the barn, but Duck had to take out the trash, mow the lawn and grind coffee beans. The unfairness of it ruffled their feathers, as well as Duck’s,
“Why is Farmer Brown in charge, anyway?” thought Duck. What we need is an election!”
He made a sign and hung it up in the barn.
Farmer Brown was furious when he found the animals registering to vote the next morning. On Election Day, the animals filled out their ballots, counted the votes and posted the results. “The voters had spoken. Duck was officially in charge.”
He soon discovered that running a farm is hard work and so he decided to move up the political ladder and run for governor. His aspirations didn’t stop there but I will. If you haven’t read this book, I suggest you get a copy. It is a fun introduction to our political process as you see Duck hitting the campaign trail, attending town meetings and giving speeches “that only other ducks could understand.”
When we finished the story, I brought up the subject of our candidates for president of the United States. I mentioned we will soon be voting for Obama or Romney and I asked whom they wanted as our next president. One student blurted, “I want three presidents, Obama, Romney and Duck.” He may not understand our political system yet, but he understands kindergarten politics – we share, we play fair, and whenever possible, we make sure there are no losers – not a bad way to operate.