Municipal Election Lessons Note to Educators


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This document outlines my intentions for the set of municipal election lessons that I developed and proposed for Student Vote.

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Municipal Election Lessons Note to Educators

  1. 1. Note to EducatorsAnatomy of a LessonEach lesson in the 2010 Municipal Resource aims to help students understand a different facet ofthe upcoming 2010 Ontario municipal and school board elections while also providing instructionalchoice for educators depending on the needs of a particular group of students. The followingfeatures of lessons have been designed to further this aim.Enduring Understanding – Beneath the title of each lesson, an enduring understanding is stated asa guiding concept that students will hopefully comprehend long after the details of the lesson havebeen forgotten. Lessons have been structured with the aim of helping students to discover thisunderstanding for themselves rather than having it taught through direct instruction as a fact.Hook – The hook is a brief introductory activity intended to activate students’ intrinsic motivationto learn about the topic by presenting a challenge, problem, or provocation that challenges theknowledge students bring to the classroom. Hook activities have been phrased in manner thatspeaks directly to students, rather than instructing the teacher on how to conduct the activity.Essential Learning – This section is comprised of activities recommended to help students acquirefundamental knowledge, understandings, and skills related to the topic. The emphasis on factualknowledge in these activities is intended to equip students with the essential information that willenable students to make an informed voting decision on Student Vote Day. Essential learningactivities have been phrased in manner that speaks directly to students, rather than instructing theteacher on how to conduct the activity.Extended Learning – Extended learning activities are designed to provide educators withopportunities to differentiate student learning while challenging students to employ analytic andcreative thinking skills to the topic. The activities have been ranked according to increasingdifficulty, and so educators should assess the ability of students before assigning an extendedlearning activity. Extended learning activities have been phrased in manner that speaks directly tostudents, rather than instructing the teacher on how to conduct the activity.Key Terms – The list of key terms are intended to highlight election vocabulary that might be newto some students; consequently, educators might consider previewing or posting these terms inorder to support student learning. Definitions of key terms can be found in the Glossary of thisresource.Essential Questions – Essential questions have been posed for each lesson as suggestions forpromoting inquiry leading to the heart of a topic and for generating debate, discussion, andreflection among students. An extended list of questions related to each topic can be found in theAdditional Resources section of this resource.Teacher Preparation – Each lesson involves some forethought and preparation on the part of theeducator in order to tailor learning for a particular group of students. Teacher preparation notesare intended to help ensure that teachers have materials, activities, and instructional strategiesprepared for students.Assessment – Although an assessment tool with descriptors for levels of mastery has not beenincluded in this resource, criteria for demonstrating understanding have been included in eachlesson to guide educators towards the evidence that should be sought from student activities
  2. 2. Instructional ChoicesBecause each group of students is unique, all teachers are strongly advised to consider theactivities and instructional activities that will best help their students to acquire a multi-facetunderstanding of municipal and school board elections in Ontario. In this regard, the followingreminders are offered:Alternatives to Written ArtifactsStudents do not necessarily demonstrate their understanding of elections in written form. Many ofthe activities have been worded in a way that leaves students free to express their thoughtsthrough discussion, debate, oral presentations, dramatic presentations, and images. When seekingevidence of understanding, educators are strongly encouraged to vary the form of evidencerequired in order to allow all students to successfully demonstrate mastery of election knowledgeand skills.Emphasis on Literacy Skills… On the other hand, a significant proportion of lessons in this resource and of publicly-availableelection information rely on print material. Do not be daunted; rather, please consider using theselessons as an opportunity to practice literacy skills and learn about elections at the same time.Links to exhaustive literacy teaching strategies provided by the Ministry of Education are listed atthe end of the Additional Resources section in this resource.Authentic TasksStudent Vote strongly encourages students and educators to share products of learning activitieswith the public; the publication or distribution of information and commentary on the municipal andschool board elections lends authenticity to student tasks and has the opportunity to generategreater public interest in local election campaigns. Please consider publishing student work in aspecial run of school newsletters, posting work on bulletin boards throughout the school, makingstudent-made content available online, or encouraging students to submit artifacts of learning tothe local newspaper. Educators are also encouraged to invite feedback, be it from another class ofstudents, members of a social network, or individuals living in the community, because dialoguewith parties outside the classroom often enhances the authenticity of learning exercises, justifieslearning in the eyes of students, and triggers students’ intrinsic motivation to learn about elections.