The California Student Mock Election Team invites teachers to share their memorable mock election activities and moments, so we can post them for the benefit of other teachers. We hope they inspire you and stir your creativity, as you look for ways to get your students excited about voting and informed on the issues and candidates that will come before them in the Student Mock Election.
If you would like to share tips and memorable experiences from your student mock election please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Making It Real: Polling Places and Other Ideas
"We obtained voting booths from our local registrar of voters and set them up in the same room in which adults voted on November 4th."
"To increase the youth-friendly factor during the mock election, we had student volunteers make posters that displayed the pros and cons of the different propositions... we were delighted to find that voting students were intent with their choices by actually going over the pros and cons of each proposition."
"We created an atmosphere in our library that resembled a voting place. On our main bulletin board I posted an 8x10 picture of Obama, McCain and their running mates. I wrote their names below the picture and my caption was, '2008 Presidential Election, Who will you vote for?' Our voting booth was a table with two covered cardboard dividers. Reactions varied from, 'I'm so nervous,' 'This is exciting,' 'Wait until I tell my mom,' to the simple enjoyment of receiving their 'I Voted' sticker."
"One of the schools in our small district set up voting booths (made by the high school wood shop classes) exactly like an actual booth. They had the students sign in where their names were registered, just like an actual polling place. The students were very excited to enter the booth with their ballots and vote in secret. With the Student Mock Election process each and every student had the opportunity to vote and feel like they were part of something important."
"Our students voted in our multi-purpose room. We had it set up like an actual voting poll. Students signed in first, then received their ballot and voted in booths we had set up. We had a great deal of parent involvement, and parents in general seemed very happy that their students were learning about and participating in the voting process."
"We had a great time during the actual election. We set up a polling place and the students were the workers and had to deal with the ebb and flow of voter turnout."
"We created voting booths for the students and created our own 'vote here' signs. The kids were very into the day and asked many days before when they'd get to vote."
"Voter registration days-using a school wide roster, students manned registration tables; if students wanted to vote in the Mock Election, they had to stop by the tables, show their school ID, and get marked off the roster as registered voters. They then received a voter guide."
If the candidates debate, why can't we?
Several teachers held debates to give students the opportunity to expand their knowledge and share varying ideas regarding the candidates and propositions.
"We held an evening Simulated Debate, with Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidates, speaking and answering questions. Coordinated with Journalism students, who attended with mock 'Press' passes, to ask questions and provide coverage. An amazing experience because it was more than just the Election Day voting."
"Having the students debate and making a wall visual was a lot fun. They also evaluated the live debates on TV, It led to great conversations."
"All our history classes went out to our amphitheater and we allowed the students to debate each other on each proposition. After the debate we went back into our classrooms and voted. It was probably the best lesson we have done all year and the students loved it."
"Part of the debriefing was to analyze voter participation in California and the nation. Students also analyzed and evaluated exit poll data. The fact that they participated in the mock election made these activities more meaningful and relevant."
In the spotlight - media coverage and other exciting memories
A number of schools had the opportunity to be visited by their local media. Whether or not their stories were published, they each had spotlight moments that will remain with the student body.
"We had a guest speaker, co-editor of an online newspaper, who came and spoke to our classes about the role of journalists in the election process."
"Several of my continuation students had already turned 18. They went out on their own and registered to vote. They were really excited and came back and told the class all about it. I doubt they would have done this if we were not doing the mock election in class."
"Just the excitement at the school to get ready for the election and to vote. I paired up with the after school program. The after school program provided a pep rally for voting the day before the mock election and then they counted all the votes so it was a good collaboration activity between the regular ed. classroom and the after school program."