It's my party, and I'll win if you'll 'lect me!

Greg English

Learning how the election process works will become evident as students take constituent surveys, create campaign material, and give persuasive speeches to their peers about relevant issues in their lives.
Approximate Duration:  [6-8] 45-minute classes
Content Standards:
  • Civics: Citizenship and Government
         Students develop an understanding of the structure and purposes of government, the foundations of the American democratic system, and the role of the United States in the world, while learning about the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.
  • C-1A-M1
         explaining major ideas about why governments are necessary and evaluating competing positions on the purposes government should serve;
  • C-1A-M5
         describing the organization and major responsibilities of local, state, and national governments;
  • C-1A-M8
         explaining how public policy is formed, debated, and carried out at local, state, and national levels;
  • C-1B-M5
         analyzing democratic processes used to institute change;
  • C-1A-H1
         analyzing the necessity and purposes of politics and government and identifying examples of programs that fit within those purposes;
Grade-Level Expectations (GLEs):
  • Structure and Purposes of Government
    Grade 7

    10. Explain and evaluate the major purposes of government

    Grade 8

    27. Describe ways by which public policies are formed, including the role of lobbyists, special interest groups, and constituents

  • Foundations of the American Political System
    Grade 7

    32. AnalExplain how changes are made in a democratic society

    Grade 8

    33. Analyze how the democratic process has been used to institute change in Louisiana

Interdisciplinary Connections:  
  • English/Language Arts : Standard 2
         Students write competently for a variety of purposes and audiences.
Educational Technology Standards:  
  • Demonstrate the operations of a computer (e.g., touch-keyboarding skills, save, organize and back-up files) and other peripheral devices (scanner, digital and video cameras, VCR, laser disc player) at an intermediate level.
  • Compose and edit a multi-page document with appropriate formatting using word-processing skills. (e.g., menu, tool bars, dialog boxes, spell check, thesaurus, page layout, headers and footers, word count, margins, tabs, spacing, columns, page orientation)
  • Use information, media, and technology in a responsible manner which includes following the school's acceptable use policy, adhering to copyright laws, respecting the rights of others, and employing proper etiquette in all forms of communication.
  • Use multimedia tools and desktop publishing to develop and present computer-generated projects for directed and independent learning activities.
  • Communicate information using spreadsheets and databases to visually represent data and integrate into other documents (e.g., entering data, formatting using formulas, analyzing data, and sorting).
The student will:

Identify generally accepted beliefs of national political parties;

Surey peers or staff concerning issue(s) they have been assigned;

Analyze the importance of issues facing schools and students;

Decide how they would get other students to support a generally accepted view on a topic/issue;

Communicate to their constituents (peers), through their presentations, their evaluation of the issue and their reasons for their decisions.
Lesson Materials and Resources:
Handouts and teacher resource material are supplied elsewhere in the lesson. Teacher should print Topic Cards on cardstock. Also print plenty of survey sheets, ballots and lyric sheets.
Technology Tools and Materials:

Computer(s) with internet
Digital Camera

Microsoft Word
PaintShop or other art programs

Some students may also want to use MS Publisher or other software.

•It's My Party Midi
•Huey Long singing Every Man a King
•It's My Party Midi (alt. site)
•Teacher Resource


Background Information:
Students should have a basic working knowledge of political campaigns. They also need general knowledge of the three branches of government, the various levels of government [local, parish, state, national] and where ideas for laws begin and how they filter up the governmental ladder.
Lesson Procedures:
Essential Questions
Do students (democrats) and adults (republicans) have different opinions of the topics?
How do you convince the opposite group to vote for the other groups ideas?
What topics do you think would interest both students and staff?

DAY ONE – Teacher will spend the first day discussing the basic difference between political parties, general beliefs, how platforms are created using surveys of their constituents, and the role of their constituents by using attached Party Power-Point.

Explain that students will draw party affiliation and political issues out of a hat. Instead of using national issues they will use local school level issues such as uniforms, lunchroom menus, class time schedules, arrival/leave times, lunch times, class requirements, earrings on boys, paper-towels/soap in the rest-room., testing (LEAP), and lack of dances. Explain that they will interview other students or faculty which will represent their constituents. (Teacher should change cards based on “hot” topics for their own school)

Draw cards then hand out constituents survey form. Have students write their survey topic on the top of a survey sheet. Collect topic cards. Some students will survey students (Democrats), half surveying boys, half girls. Others will survey faculty staff (Republicans) half men, half women.

"Democrats" will represent the student population whereas the "Republicans" will represent the faculty/adult population.

DAY TWO – Between day one and day two students should interview various student/adult constituents and use those findings towards their “side” or argument for their ‘campaign’. They will complete survey forms before coming to class on day 2.

In class, teacher should explain that students will create a campaign slogan concerning their issue, campaign poster/sign, flyer about themselves and their “issue”, create a song such as Huey Long’s “Everyman a King” (use video clip) using “It’s My Party” midi (the line must be “It’s my party and I’ll win if Ya ‘lect me”).

Show video clip of Huey Long singing his song then play “Party” midi.

You might want to put all “Republican” students on side of the room and “Democrats” on the other so that they can compare notes as to faculty vs students.

Once students have their campaign ideas together, allow them to create their presentation material/posters/flyers on Day three/four. Day five can be used for working on their Power-Point material to be used during their oral presentation.

In my classroom students have access to computers all hour, therefore many will choose to do their flyer in MicroSoft Publisher, their flyers in MicroSoft Word, and or compile survey data in Excel.

DAY THREE - Check to see that all students have survey forms completed. Give them time to work on campaign materials. (Song should be worked on outside of class – explain where students can locate an internet copy of the “Party” midi file) Students should create persuasive materials that would convince all students to “vote” for their proposal. Their proposal should be based solely on what their constituents want. Depending on class size, unfinished work becomes home assignments. With smaller classes you may be able to allow more or less in-class work days.

Note: Campaigns should represent the feelings of their constituents not their own personal beliefs.

DAY FOUR Final day of campaign material work. Students will begin presentations on days five/six.

DAY FIVE In either a computer lab, individual classroom, or home have students create a power-point respresenting the view that their constituents. This PPt will be shown as the student does his/her presentation.

DAY SIX/SEVEN - Allow students three minutes to make their presentations. Do both presentations (Dems & Rep) of an issue back to back.

DAY EIGHT - Voting day. Give students a copy of ballot form and allow time to vote. Then allow students to tally votes for each class. Class ballots will represent “district” votes. All Classes will represent the total “state” vote.
Assessment Procedures:
Student projects may be assessed according to accuracy of presenting candidates' stand on topic assigned, the clarity of presentation and creativity. A superior project would demonstrate an in-depth understanding of considered issue and their probable impact on voter decision-making.

A rubric has been supplied for students to self-grade their work.
Based of the individual students IEP you might:

Allow students to peer tutor or pair up with a stronger or higher-level student.

Allow two students to choose a single topic and do survey together as a team.

Assign an easier topic to a particular student

          ----- written by Greg English  

Reproducible Materials:
Explorations and Extensions:
Allow students who would like to survey students/adults on a "real" issue or current topic to read the newspaper or watch the news and create their own "Hot Topic". (Locally, students can watch KPLC TV's Sunrise morning show where they hav a daily 'Hot Topic')
Lesson Development Resources:
My Brain
Marion Bordelon
Lessons are always better once I try them out in my own classroom. It allows me time to work out the "bugs" and kinks. Without field testing an MC lesson is just an idea without the 'meat and bones'. website copyright © 2009 Greg English