In Ms. Redman and Ms. Sizoo’s Freshman Civics classes, we are learning about the impact of elections in a democracy. Students have been engaging in learning activities that range from simulations, to case studies, and understandings of the basics of government offices. By the end of this unit, students in room 417 will be aware of who their state and local representatives are, how to reach them, and how to potentially run for their positions one day. We will take surveys to see what political values the students hold and will guide them in how to use that information when it comes time to vote.
Students have explored the history of our great city and its’ pivotal moments. They have learned in great detail who Harold Washington was and the impact that he made trying to create a “fairer than fair” political environment for the future. The students made connections to the historic Harold Washington library downtown, named for the former mayor. We analysed the voter turnout of the mayoral general election of 1983 and students were inspired by how many new voters were registered. Without Harold Washington, Chicago politics would have looked much different and communities would have continued to be underserved.
Throughout the rest of this unit we will be looking at how speeches play a significant role in supporting candidates. We will look at the role of money in elections and what campaign donations mean to the candidate running. We will also analyse the reasons people give for not voting and the impacts that has on policy and the effectiveness of an administration.
Ultimately, we are working on educating the students about the past, learning from it, and encouraging them to make a difference in the future. Our hope is to empower their voices to become advocates for what matters for them on a political level and all other levels of their lives.