Educators across the state have developed innovative ways to expand the Kid Governor® experience in their classrooms. If you’re looking for creative approaches to teaching the program, consider the following ideas!
Collaborate with Your Town’s High School Students
Windsor Public Schools designed a new collaboration in their district by bringing their AP Government students to local 5th grade classrooms to teach the Kid Governor® lessons. The high school students use the Connecticut’s Kid Governor Toolkits as a springboard for creating their own classroom activities, which help them review state government and civics for their own coursework while giving them the unique experience of teaching a class. They teach lessons, lead activities, and act as mentors to the student candidates as they build their platforms and run in their school primary. Other districts, including Enfield and South Windsor, have also engaged high schoolers in teaching the Kid Governor lessons to their 5th graders… and your district could be next!
Host the “Meet the Candidates” Traveling Exhibit at Your School
Each year, The Connecticut Democracy Center at Connecticut’s Old State House creates a “Meet the Candidates” Exhibit with panels about the student nominees who ran for Connecticut’s Kid Governor. The exhibit features a panel about each student and their platform and can be used to inspire your 5th graders to run for office or younger students to think about running in the future. There is no cost or fee to host the exhibit. To learn more and request the exhibit for this fall or spring, see the Traveling Exhibit page or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Invite Guest Speakers to Your Classroom
Guest speakers are an excellent way to deepen your students’ engagement with the Kid Governor program. Inviting your mayor, selectperson, state representative, state senator, or another elected official to your school to answer questions about government can draw parallels between the Kid Governor lessons and your own community. Thomaston Public Schools invited a former candidate for local office to speak with students about the experience of running for office and building a platform, which gave students a tangible example of how campaigns work. Other districts invite community members to speak with students about specific community issues they are researching and how their town or city is making a difference on those issues.
Engage the Entire School
Although only 5th graders can vote in Kid Governor® school primaries and the Statewide Election, consider engaging your entire school community in the program to teach students about elections. As part of their primary, a school in Manchester held a school-wide assembly to show all students their final candidates’ campaign videos. Other schools, including one in Cromwell, also hold school assemblies and show all students the campaign videos of the seven final Statewide Election candidates, inviting non-5th graders to hold mock elections in their classrooms. The lessons in the toolkits can be shared with and adapted by any teaching in your school.
Show Your Election Spirit!
Encourage you students to get excited about elections! When it comes time to vote in school primaries or the Statewide Election, some schools hang campaign and “Vote!” signs around their building and have students and teachers wear red, white, and blue clothing to school. Consider setting up a voting area in your classroom or school with a ballot box, balloons, voting stations, and more!
Recognize Your Candidate If They Do Not Win Kid Governor
Because the spirit of Kid Governor is students learning that they can have a positive impact on their communities, it is important to recognize the passion and courage you students have for running for office. If you candidate does not win the Statewide Election, consider making the student a leader in your school community and helping to implement his or her three-point platform. Enfield Public Schools holds a district wide primary to select the single candidate from their district and if the candidate does not win the Statewide Election, he or she is recognized as the Kid Mayor and collaborates with their mayor throughout the school year.
Add Kid Governor® to Your School or District Curriculum
Several school districts across Connecticut have incorporated the Kid Governor program directly into their 5th grade curriculum. This connects the program and lessons with other social studies units, and ensures district-wide participation and enthusiasm each fall. Contact us if you would like to speak with district leaders who have incorporated Kid Governor into their 5th grade curriculum!
For more information about these creative approaches or to share techniques that excite your students, email us at email@example.com.