Five lessons on Elections and Voting For English Language, ABE, and Citizenship Classes

blue and white stripped circle with red stars and the word vote

Thanks to Meredith Sommers for creating and contributing this great resource!

Thousands of students who are taking English, Adult Basic Education or Citizenship classes are, or will be, eligible to vote in the upcoming elections. Even if students are not eligible to vote, they can encourage and coach others on the voting process. They also have values and opinions that they can express to friends or family who are eligible voters.

These five lessons are based on stories for students to read, using a ‘real-life’ approach to learning. Follow Hawa, Fatima, Carlos, William, Nhong, Mai and Tran as they register to vote, learn about the candidates and issues, make choices, and finally cast their vote in the 2016 election. Students develop skills in reading, writing, speaking and critical thinking while they learn about a significant facet of life in the United States – voting and elections. All lessons include an original story, related vocabulary, a worksheet with questions for discussion, an activity, and relevant information for the instructor. Links are provided to websites for more information on the election process and candidate information. Registration forms and absentee ballots are included or may be downloaded; websites are included.

Voter Education for English Language, ABE and Citizenship Classes is a primer on the basics of voting. It is written for students with intermediate through advanced English language proficiency. These lessons are relevant for all students, even if some students in the class are not citizens. They can still learn about the issues, have opinions about candidates, and talk to others
about their views.

• Lesson 1 Registering to Vote is about eligibility and voter registration. A registration form in English is included in the lesson, with instructions for downloading the form in ten other languages. Teachers are encouraged to actually register eligible voters in class, up until 20 days before the election. Otherwise, students can fill out the registration form in class, and take it with them when they vote.

• Lesson 2 Learning about Levels of Government uses a map to teach about boundaries for federal, state, and local jurisdictions. Students explore what levels of government handle various issues, such as foreign policy and immigration.

• Lesson 3 Learning about Candidates and Issues is how to become informed about the candidates. The subject of political issues is introduced, to help students discern what positions candidates support. In this case, the issue is obtaining a Minnesota Driver’s License.

• Lesson 4 Making a Choice continues the quest for information in deciding how to vote. Students learn how to find information about candidates, the political parties and their platforms, so they can make their own decisions.

• Lesson 5 Election Day focuses on procedures for voting, both absentee and going to the polls. Included is a sample polling place diagram and an application for an absentee ballot. Students end the lesson series when they make a sticker to wear that says “I Will Vote!” or “I will encourage others to vote!”

Written as a contribution to democracy and education by Meredith Sommers ESL/English Language Teacher, Centro Guadalupano, Minneapolis, MN

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