Election Day is on November 6th, it is just around the corner! A few more days and we'll get to choose who will be our next president! I think it's very important that we take the time to talk to our students about the election process and a few more important things regarding the rights and responsibilities of all American citizens. Students need to know what is going on in our country and with our leaders. That's why I decided that my students should participate in the mock election at GOES. When I talk politics I can get very passionate! So, I thought "what a perfect timing to start giving some important social studies lessons to my students". I'm supposed to be the Social Studies Lead Teacher anyway!! lol. So, this week I did give them a few lessons and will continue adding some more next week. We discussed about the symbols and values of our country "The United States of America". We studied the meaning of the beautiful colors of our flag. What do the colors represent and why are they important?. White for purity and innocence, Red for valor, determination, perseverance, and passion for our country, Blue for vigilance, liberty, freedom, and justice. I explained to them about what stars and the stripes and what they represent too. We also had a discussion about other important symbols such us the national anthem "The Star Spangled Banner" and the beautiful values that are implied in the song such us Bravery, Courage, Determination, and Fighting for Liberty and Freedom and of course we did sing it!! lol with my high pitch voice and everything and Ms Aasleteen was there to sing too, thank goodness!!! lol As I was giving the lesson, in the back of my mind I was thinking "how come some grown ups don't understand and practice what these important values mean? So sad, to see many people get influenced and manipulated by "leaders" to follow a crowd without taking the time to research about the candidates and not really understanding what they're doing??? That's why it's imminent for me to teach my students what are our rights as US citizens. I told to my students that we all are part of this nation, that a nation is a group of people who share common history and values. That a value is a belief about something that a person or group of people cherishes, honors, and holds as important. I ask them "what is important to you?, what do you cherish more than anything?", some of them answered "my family", "my parents", "my home", some wise kids said "my freedom". It was very interesting to see their faces all engaged and hear their answers. I ask them if they understood what Liberty and freedom was? of course they had an idea, but didn't understand the concept well. So, then I decided that I will give them a lesson about the Constitution and the Bill of rights. We'll discuss all of the amendments of the constitution but will study in more detail the first amendment as well as the fourth, fifth, and eight amendments. Since our school is already doing the Leader in me program, we also reviewed the seven habits of leadership, what it takes to be a leader is and what does it mean to be a leader? What are the qualities and important attributes of a leader? We discussed that a leader has to have integrity and honesty to always do what is right, no matter what the situation is, no matter if its convenient for him/her or not, a leader has to be proactive and make wise choices for him/herself as well as for everyone else. I told them that a leader is a person that knows well what he/she is doing, has clear goals in mind and effective plans to achieve his/her goals, a leader is a good communicator, articulates well, and is experienced. I told them that anyone can be a leader according to our talents and strengths. Than we spoke about the requirements to be a candidate running for president of the US and who is allowed to vote. That lesson took us to where I wanted to go, which is discussing about our current presidential campaign and the candidates running for presidents from all of the different political parties. We also worked on a booklet titled "If I was the president of the US". The children had to think about different current issues regarding our country, such as taxes, health care, education, economy, and war, very briefly of course and what would they do to help our country. and finally, I told them that we would have a mock election were they would get to choose who would they want to be a leader of our country. And YES, today we did cast our votes!! It was very exciting!! Loved the whole process!! Thanks to Ms. Martin that coordinated this whole important event!