Teaching Election Buzz Words

Many teachers this fall have expressed how nervous they were to talk about the election in their classrooms. This October in particular it seemed overwhelming to teach kids about the election process without diving in to our own opinions about each candidate. However, this election is what everyone is talking about, and kids rarely get to take part in the conversation. It’s important for us as educators to step up to the plate and teach our students the basics, particularly focusing on the “buzz words” that they are hearing at home and on the news.

Our school is a big supporter of the magazine Time for Kids. They do a nice job of keeping students up to date on current events. Most importantly, they use sophisticated, kid friendly language in all of their weekly issues. You can also order the magazine at different reading levels, which is great for differentiating! Whether you order the 1-2 version, or the 5-6 version, it will include the same articles and information but vary the level of vocabulary used.

Time for Kids didn’t go overboard with the election issues this year, which I was very grateful for. Nevertheless, the issue they did put out on September 16th was fantastic. It kept an unbiased opinion while still educating kids about both Hillary and Donald. I decided to save this issue for closer to the election, I am so glad I did!

Inside of the double page spread about Election 2016, there is a section dedicated just to “Election Words.” I found this very helpful for teaching kids a lot of the buzz words they had yet to learn. Many times during my lesson I heard “Ohhhh, that’s what that means.”


It was so exciting to see kids so tuned in to learning about the election. They had so many thoughtful questions and were so excited to be able to go home to partake in “adult” dinner table conversations.

Whether or not your subscribe to Time for Kids, feel free to print out this word list to use! They also have some great resources online, for free! Including more vocabulary learning, some nonfiction reading, and fantastic social studies activities to tie in to your literacy program. Click here for the link! 

In addition, BrainPop (as always!) did a great job providing students with amazing videos about the election process. Some are free, others require a subscription. Make sure to check out the Elections section of their site. Click here for the link!

I hope you have found some useful resources in this post! Please share any resources you used to teach about Election 2016. Leave ideas and links in the comments below!

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