Cast Your Vote: Selecting Our Candidates

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SWBAT plan their opinion writing piece by completing an organizational structure that lists reasons to support the opinion.

Big Idea

In this lesson, students will choose a person they feel would make a good president, identify character traits possessed by the person, and support their opinion with reasons.

Enroll Students Into Learning

5 minutes

Today, at the start of the lesson, I say, “Boys and girls, do you know someone who would be a good president?”  For a moment, some students look at me as if they’re not sure who they should be choosing here, so I follow up with, “Think of people in your family, or friends you know, or even people here at school.  Do you know of someone that has character traits that you think a president should have?  Do you know someone who would make a good president?”  Now hands start popping into the air and I see that the students are making connections to my question.  I ask a few students to share who they would choose and why.

Experience Learning

5 minutes

I take a moment to tell them that I’ve thought a lot about this question myself, and I think I do know someone who would make a great president.  I tell the kids that my grandfather, Grandpa Carpenter, would make a good president in my opinion because he has many character traits that I think a good president should have!  For example, my grandfather is kind, and this would be important because the president would work with many people and visit many people, and being kind to all the people would be important.  Also, my grandfather is optimistic, so even when there is a problem to solve, he seems to find the positive in the situation and work towards making it better to solve the problem.  I would also say that my grandfather is hardworking.  He is always doing things around his home or helping our family members with other projects at their homes, and so he’s always working hard.

Label New Learning

5 minutes

Next, I remind the students that yesterday, we went through a list of character traits and chose those that we think are most important for a president to have.  Today, we will take a look at those traits and decide who we know that would have these traits, and therefore make a good president!

Demonstrate Skills

10 minutes

Student head back to their seats and I ask them to take out their Presidential Character Traits page from yesterday.  We look back at our pages and I ask the students to think of who they know that would have these characteristics.  Maybe it’s a parent, or a grandparent, or aunt or uncle, or a friend.  One student asks if they can choose their pet, because they feel that their pet could have some of these traits as well.  I tell the students that I don’t mind who they choose, as long as they can back up their choice with reasons that will support their opinion!  (No need to stifle creative thinking here!)  I ask the students to turn to a neighbor and share who they’re thinking of for a good president.

While students are turning and talking to their neighbors, I walk around the room to pass out our “Who Should be the President?” planning page.  While I do, I also listen in to the students’ conversations as well.

After everyone has a paper, I regain our class to whole group discussion and direct their attention to our “Who Should be the President?” planning page.  I pull this file up on the SmartBoard as well and I ask the students to write the name of the person in the center box that is titled: “I would choose…”  To model, I write my grandfather’s name, Grandpa Carpenter, in my box on the SmartBoard.

Next, I show the students how this planning page works.  Around the White House, the students find that there are five character trait boxes, followed by a reasoning box that says “This would make him/her a good president because…”  Today, students will put their five character trait choices into each of the character trait boxes.  So, for example, my grandfather is kind.  I write kind on the SmartBoard in the first box.  Then, just underneath, in the “This would make him/her a good president because…” box, I write “presidents need to be able to work with many different people all the time.”

I ask the students to choose their first character trait from the Presidential Character Traits chart and make a note of it in their first character trait box.  Then, just underneath, the kids write in the reason why this would make their candidate choice a good president.  We work through our plan in the same format until we’ve selected five character traits and have five reasons to support our opinions.


5 minutes

Before packing up today, I ask the students if anyone would like to share one of their character trait choices and reasons.  A handful of students share out their choices and reasons.  I tell the kids that these are sounding great!  Tomorrow, we’ll take our planning and turn it into a rough draft paragraph that describes our candidate, or person we’ve selected as a good president!  This is going to be fun!