Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Civics with Dean - Class 5 – Mock Election

 


It doesn't get better than this - teaching Civics during a Presidential Election year!

izzit.org diligently worked on creating mock-election materials, including key terms students should know as they navigate their way through election media coverage. In addition, izzit.org provided I Voted stickers to truly emulate the voter experience. 

Since my class is in New Hampshire, I wanted to keep up with the First-in-the Nation motto, so I decided to have my class be the izzit.org Mock Election pilot. We began the class with a new Teachable Moment, "Why Reading Matters," which features economist and educator Thomas Sowell. The message I wanted the class to understand was that reading, researching, and being aware of the candidates makes citizens better informed. Rather than relying on hearsay, students (electorate) need to be self-reliant and take responsibility while performing their civic duty. I prefaced to the students that when they do the reading (research), they alone can decide devoid of other opinions or misinformation. One part of their homework was to research who they would be voting for today!

I then turned on the television and selected two channels with opposing viewpoints - the Ah, Ha moment happened! Some students heard what was important to a particular political base on one channel, and a very different perspective from the other station. Several topics were discussed as replicated from the talking points at the second presidential debate. They included:

1) Economy
2) Covid
3) Race issues
4) Foreign relations
5) 2nd Amendment (as both candidates had local ads in NH addressing this issue)

I then introduced Jeff Kelman, VP of Development at izzit.org and a well-researched expert on the 2nd Amendment. Jeff explained the Framers' intent, and further discussed the implications on both sides of the issue. My students had some focused questions, including the fact that new gun technology was never foreseen by the Framers. My students insisted that this meant the Constitution is a living document. Finally, I shared the impetus behind the 26th Amendment and that eighteen is the age to be able to vote in the United States.


As students came up to receive their ballots, vote, and return their ballot to our “voting box,” they received an I Voted sticker (see picture). After ballots were read, the class selected former Vice-President Joe Biden to win over President Trump by 6-4.

izzit.org's complete Mock Election results can be found here: https:/izzit.org/mock_election


Dean Graziano is the Vice-President of izzit.org. He is a multi-state, award-winning educator and former Curriculum Specialist Teacher grades 6-12 Social Studies, with over 25 years in education. He served on the Massachusetts MCAS Standard Setting Panel, and also selected by the College Board to be an Advanced Placement Reader for U.S. History. He worked on the historical inquiry model and a national presenter for ABC-Clio, a Social Studies data base company. 


In 2007, in a surprise visit to his school, he was awarded the United States Department of Educations' American Star of Teaching Award. Dean was selected as the 2017 State of New Hampshire's Extended Learning Opportunity Coordinator- of -the Year. Dean’s pilot program in Rochester, NH was singled out by NH Governor, Chris Sununu as the model for the State of N.H. Career Academies. In 2019, he developed and implemented a proposal to purchase a Mobile Classroom ( a new & remodeled 36’ RV, aka M.A.P.s) utilizing Perkins V funding, to bring CTE/WBL programming - leveling the playing field/equity for ALL NH students and spoke nationally at several ACTE Conferences on this model.