Daniel K. - Libertarian Candidate for President
Speaking about Immigration Reform
Joey D. - Constitution Party Candidate for President
Speaking about Social Security
I started this lesson by having the students do some general research on the issues that their political party has taken sides on. Then, we went into an empty room next door to watch me perform a mock debate where I had two students move their lips while I spoke for them on two issues important to my students: hot lunch choices in our cafeteria and the amount of homework teachers can assign. As I spoke for each child, I took a slightly different position and explained my thoughts clearly. I supported my opinions with facts and tried to appeal to my audience's senses. After getting some laughs for our performance and a standing ovation for putting a limit on homework, I explained to them that I will want candidates to explain the political issue and state their position in the same ways that I did.
Each candidate (and their campaign staffs) were given a specific issue to research (today it was Education), find out what their party's position is on it, and write and perform a debate speech on video. We then posted them on our Political Issues page online for others to see. These videos are unedited, but they were allowed to be scripted so students could work collaboratively to make intelligent-sounding speeches in teams.
Our first videos are pretty weak. I encourage you to watch one or two, because it's good to see where kids are at to start the year and then look again at the end of the year to appreciate their growth! I also learned that I am expecting my students to learn a bit too much on their own this early in the year. I will need to scaffold the future topics better so my students have a better understanding of what it is they are taking a position on. Finally, my students keep using their last names in their videos, so I need to remind them again that we don't do that for privacy reasons!!! :) I've attached one of the videos that did not use a last name for your perusal, but the links should be active by tomorrow with re-done videos sans their last names, if you'd like to see them then!
Here are all of the issues facing this year's presidential candidates that we created videos for our Virtual Debate: