The upcoming Presidential election is a great opportunity for a fun Do-it-Yourself program, a display, a theme for a storytime or book discussion group, or for some passive programming activities you can leave out for families to enjoy. Here are some ideas you can choose from to custom tailor a program that would fit your library:
You can set out lots of crafts for a passive program, or set them out at stations overseen by teen volunteers. The Enchanted Learning site has several crafts relating to Washington and Lincoln: http://www.enchantedlearning.com/crafts/presidentsday/ , as well as flag-style crafts and Uncle Sam hats.
If you have many elementary school-age children and parents, have child-parent teams play in a game of Presidential Trivia. For trivia questions, try: http://www.diva-girl-parties-and-stuff.com/presidential-trivia.html or http://www.factmonster.com/spot/prestrivia1.html .
Play Election Vocabulary Bingo! http://www.teachervision.fen.com/elections/lesson-plan/2707.html?detoured=1 .
Have a section on Presidential Pets. Nominate some and ask each person to cast a vote for their favorite, and announce the winner at the end of the program. For a list of presidents and their pets, go to: http://www.classroomhelp.com/lessons/Presidents/Presidential_Pets.html .
Have an election focusing on favorite book characters. Have the nominees prominently displayed, and let the program attendees vote for their favorite. Give out a ballot to each person as they enter so the voting is fair; this will also be a good way to count how many people attend the program.
For readalouds to kick off the program, check out this month’s storytime theme on Presidents: http://www.bayviews.org/storytime/stpresidents.html .
Book Club Programming Ideas
Holm, Jennifer and Matt. Babymouse for President. Random House, 2012. 96p.
Babymouse runs for president of the school, promising a cupcake in every locker! This graphic novel, the 16th in the series, will appeal to boys as well as girls despite the pink cover. Here are some great activities for groups:
View the campaign ads seen here: http://www.randomhouse.com/kids/babymouse/election/campaign-ads-babymouse.php and vote for your favorite.
Check out http://www.babymouse.com .
If you have a video camera, have children make their own campaign ads.
Or, make campaign posters.
Serve cupcakes, of course!
Benton, Jim. The Frandidate. S&S, 2009. 116p.
In this seventh entry in the Franny K. Stein series, Franny creates the perfect candidate for class president. Since Franny is a mad scientist, be sure to include some science-related activities, as well as:
Franny proposes exploding chalk – use sidewalk chalk to do art on the library patio area.
Franny proposes healthy lunches – so serve fruit as a snack.
Do some simple hands-on science experiments to dazzle the audience.
Check out http://books.simonandschuster.com/Frandidate/Jim-Benton/Franny-K-Stein-Mad-Scientist/9781416902331 for a video of how to draw Franny, and coloring pages.
Tween Book Discussion Group Ideas
Clark, Catherine. How NOT to Run for President. Egmont, 2012. 235p.
In this tween novel, Aidan accidently saves a presidential candidate from falling and is soon a media “darling.” There is humor in this timely story, including an insightful skewering of cable news channels and their penchant for lies and distortion. The female presidential candidate is a nice role model, and she has a daughter about Aidan’s age, making this a book both boys and girls will enjoy. Here are some activities to use with this book during a discussion:
Since the two young characters in the book share snacks, serve similar treats for refreshments.
Aidan, the main character, plays the clarinet. See if any of the book discussion group members play an instrument, and ask if they could bring their instruments and play for the group.
The main characters also play baseball, which could be incorporated into the book club as an activity – play catch.
Aidan gains fame when his act of saving the candidate ends up on Youtube. Pre-select some presidential gaffs and triumphs seen on Youtube and share them with the group.
For more programming ideas related to this book, check out the website: http://www.hownottorunforpresident.com/ . It has a reading guide for the book http://www.hownottorunforpresident.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/How-Not-to-Run-Reading-Guide.pdf , filled with discussion questions, a quiz on leaders and musical instruments, and other activities.
Bruel, Nick. Bad Kitty for President. Roaring Brook, 2012. 142p.
In this outrageous chapter book with ink illustrations (similar in grade level and format to Dav Pilkey’s Captain Underpants books), Bad Kitty is running for president of the Neighborhood Cat Club. The story introduces the concepts of primaries, conventions, delegates, election procedures, and more in this funny book. This will have great appeal with reluctant readers due to the humor and abundance of illustrations, but all children will appreciate this parody of the electoral process. When using with a book discussion group, you can:
Hold a mock election
Make comedic campaign signs
Hold an election rally complete with speeches
Set up a voter registration display in the library
For more ideas, check out: http://badkittybooks.squarespace.com/books-journal/bad-kitty-for-president.html . The website features several Bad Kitty online games, printouts with word games and coloring pages, and online clips of the author being interviewed by Bad Kitty.
Angleberger, Tom. Fake Mustache: or, How Jodie O’Rodeo and her Wonder Horse (and some nerdy kid) Saved the U.S. Presidential Election from a Mad Genius Criminal Mastermind. Amulet Books, 2012. 196p.
Lenny’s best friend Casper (who is an evil genius) gets a fake mustache that allows him to rob a bank and run for President of the U.S. Can Lenny and TV singing star Jodie O’Rodeo stop him? Here are some extention activities for the book:
Have everyone wear fake mustaches
Have each attendee wear a nametag with a rhyming made-up name like Jodie O’Rodeo or Hannah Montana.
Watch the book trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K7SMqEjWNZU .
Gutman, Dan. The Kid Who Ran for President.Scholastic Reprint, 2012. 176p.
Twelve-year-old Judson runs for President of the United States in this humorous novel (originally published in 1996). Here are some programming ideas related to the book:
Teachers guide, which includes discussion questions, trivia about the book, and more: http://magiktheatre.org/study_guides/Kid_For_President_Study_Guide.pdf .
Interview with author Dan Gutman: http://teacher.scholastic.com/scholasticnews/indepth/kids_primaries/activities/gutman/submit-question.asp .