Voting and Voices Classroom Resources

This curated collection features our best resources for civics education with a focus on elections and voting. The collection includes posters for students of all ages, along with videos, lessons, texts and student tasks for K–5, 6–8 and 9–12 classrooms.

 

Posters and Printables

A Pledge for Our Future (en Español)

Here's a chance for educators to teach beyond the classroom. We’re urging all teachers to share this nonpartisan pledge with students of all ages—and to encourage them and their families to participate in the political process. This pledge reminds us all that our voices and our votes are an essential part of our democracy.

 

5 Myths About Voting

Prepare your students to bust five common voting myths with this free classroom poster!

 

John Lewis One World Poster

“Change happens one step at a time. Keep picking them up and putting them down.”

 

Marianne Williamson One World Poster

“In every community, there is work to be done. In every nation, there are wounds to heal. In every heart, there is the power to do it.”

 

Videos

Expanding Voting Rights Videos (6–12)

A series of videos from NBC News, ranging from 90 seconds to 13 minutes long. Titles include: “The Right to Vote,” “Signing of the Civil Rights Act,” “Fannie Lou Hamer’s Testimony at the 1964 Democratic Convention,” “Suffragists Change Tactics in Fight for Equal Suffrage,” “The Freedom Riders” and more.

 

Selma | The Bridge to the Ballot (6–12)

This 40-minute documentary tells the story of how students and teachers in Selma, Alabama, fought for their voting rights. Order a film kit from TT, and we’ll send you a DVD, along with a viewer’s guide, absolutely free.

 

Lessons

What Responsibilities Accompany Our Rights? (K8)

This lesson looks at an important question students will face as citizens: What responsibilities accompany our basic rights?

 

The New Deciders (6–12)

In this lesson, students watch an episode of the PBS documentary series America by the Numbers with Maria Hinojosa, which examines the influence of voters from four demographic groups. Students will strategize about ways to encourage voter participation in their communities and plan an action project based on their learning.

 

Expanding Voting Rights (6–12)

A series of five lessons tracking the history of voting rights in the United States. Lessons include “The Early Republic,” “African Americans Face and Fight Obstacles to Voting,” “The Voting Rights Act, 1965 and Beyond,” “Women’s Suffrage” and “The 26th Amendment.”

 

Democracy Class

We’ve partnered with Rock the Vote to launch a new version of their popular Democracy Class, a series of lessons about the history and power of voting rights in the United States.

 

Who Would a Literary Character Vote For? (6–12)

In this short article, TT Award Winner Henry Cody Miller explains how he brought the 2016 election into his 9th-grade English classroom and encouraged critical literacy by asking students to hypothesize how literary characters would vote.

 

Teaching the Truth About Voter Suppression

It’s a common misconception that the only thing stopping people from voting is laziness. But voter suppression is real, and your students need to understand how it happens.

 

Teaching the Truth About Gerrymandering

You can teach students about gerrymandering and still remain nonpartisan. Here’s how.

 

Texts

Having the Talk (K–5)

Fifth grade just started, and already Jeremiah has an assignment he’s worried about: talking to his family about voting.

 

Be A Good Boy (K–5)

Harry Burn casts the deciding vote in his state’s House of Representatives, and women’s suffrage becomes law in Tennessee. This story is accompanied by a toolkit with recommendations for teachers.

 

StoryCorps: Registering to Vote (6–12)

In this primary text, Theresa Burroughs speaks with her daughter, Toni Love, about the obstacles she faced trying to vote under Jim Crow laws in Alabama.

 

The Civil Rights Act of 1964—Title I: Who Gets to Vote (6–12)

Rebecca Newland, former Teacher in Residence at the Library of Congress, offers recommendations for primary source texts that will help students better understand the fight for black suffrage in the early 1900s.

 

Can I See Some ID? (9–12)

This 2012 article explains some of the arguments behind—and some of the consequences of—voter ID laws.

 

Women Get the Vote (9–12)

This 2010 article traces the history of women’s fight for suffrage and tracks women’s political involvement into the 21st century.

 

Do Something Student Tasks

My Voice, My Voter's Guide (3-12)

Students create a voter’s guide including information about voters’ rights, important voting dates and deadlines, and an overview of what to expect at the polls. Students share the guide and ask friends and family to sign Teaching Tolerance’s Voting and Voices pledges, committing to use their voice or vote in the upcoming elections.

 

Voting in Your Town (6–12)

In this Do Something student performance task, students use online resources to analyze local voter registration and turnout rates and to explore potential roadblocks to the voting process.

 

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