Voting is still open today for the Army of Ermas contest! Check out my piece as entry # 8! I'm assuming the winner will be determined based on, well, who had the most votes and that the election process is relatively manipulation-free. Not so in the second grade.
- taking student input
- not ending up with a sucky mascot like Chipmunks
I have found that following the vote-manipulation protocol outlined below ensures that we end up with the best mascot possible, given the constraint of having to include seven year-olds in the decision-making process.
First, acknowledge but ultimately ignore any undesirable suggestions.
Second, manipulate the first round votes until you have narrowed the field down to three acceptable possibilities for the final vote.
Third, suggest compromises if the final vote does not result in the ideal choice.
"Compromising," for the purposes of elementary democracy, can mean either "combining part of each party's ideas" or it can mean, "teacher inserting an entirely new option when the existing ideas are terrible." Usually, though, one of the children’s suggestions makes it through this rigorous vetting process without even having to resort to the insert-new-idea type of compromise.
Final choices for our class mascot have ranged from “Eagles” to “Snow Leopards” to “Tigers,” which later, during the compromise phase of the selection process became the “Hungry Tigers”, and ultimately the “Brave Hungry Tigers.” This past year, the voting process was particularly precarious but we managed to avoid having to be called the Second Grade Chipmunks all year. Phew! Go Turtles.
If democracy's not what you're going for (feigned though it may be), check out what happened when we kicked off our study of laws with a little dictatorship!