Ready, Set, Learn - How to Vote
A resource guide on municipal elections for Grade 5 and ESL teachers who are interested in teaching government, democracy and citizenship in an engaging and fun way.
Municipal government is the most accessible level of government and provides vital services that directly impact our lives as we live and work in Toronto. As a result, the issues that will be covered in class and the activities for your students will be current and relatable.
The lessons and activities are designed to teach students that, as residents of Toronto, we should be informed and curious about how our local government functions and how we can each contribute to making Toronto a better place to live. This guide also emphasizes that we have civic responsibilities that extend beyond election periods, and that improving our community can be fun and fulfilling. We hope the lessons contained in this guide encourage students to value public services, speak to their political representatives, and get involved in community building activities.
How to Use this Guide
This guide contains information, lesson plans, activities and assessment tools that can be applied in your classroom. It is meant as a guide to instruct students through the Social Studies unit on the Aspects of Government and Citizenship.
The lessons and activities offered are intended as suggestions on how the material may be taught and can be changed and adjusted to suit the needs of your classroom.
Each lesson contains the following:
- Purpose - The overall purpose of the lesson
- Background - Information you, the teacher, will need to know
- Assessment Opportunities - Suggestions for assessment
- Lesson Plan Accommodations & Extensions
This package of additional resources was developed for the Grade 5 & ESL social studies unit on 'Aspects of Government and Citizenship'. The activities in this package will help teachers and students gain an understanding of what it means to be a citizen of a municipality.
Students will learn about the various functions of their community and the importance of being involved on a local level. The municipal government is the closest level of government to people, and it is hoped that throughout this mini-unit students will come to understand the impact and influence local government has on their day-to-day lives. Thus, this unit is heading students towards understanding the processes and events associated with the upcoming October 2018 municipal election.
The activities will help students understand concepts associated with the municipal elections, but they are also geared towards promoting literacy and can easily be modified to meet the needs of individual students. All of the activities build on the skills students will need to develop in order to successfully complete the final culminating task. The unit also focuses on citizenship and what it means to be a citizen of a classroom.
Many of the activities are well suited for the beginning of the year, because they require students to reflect on their rights and responsibilities in the classroom, school, and community. Many of the learning strategies provide students with real life learning experiences that will encourage responsible citizenship and stewardship for their local communities. Students will discover the issues that matter most to their friends and families as they relate to the upcoming Toronto municipal election. There are several activities that require students to read through newspaper articles and other types of media, in order for students to become familiar with issues pertaining to the city of Toronto and the October 2018 election. If possible, teachers should bring to class local newspapers on regular basis and set aside 15-20 minutes once or twice a week, so that students have an opportunity to gradually build a portfolio of media resources that will be helpful for the final culminating task.
This mini-unit is a small extension of the much broader concept of citizenship that students learn about in Grade 5 social studies. Teachers may begin this unit by asking students what they think it means to be a good citizen. Throughout the unit students can be asked to formulate questions and uncover information about the various aspects of citizenship. Teachers can encourage students to create a mind map similar to the one in Appendix A of this document, which in turn may be used to formatively assess students. Students should be encouraged to choose an organizer best suited for their own learning, as they will be deciding how to organize the information (e.g. colour coding their responses using symbols, pictures, etc).
Grade 5 Activities
- Introduction & Culminating Task Description (PDF)
- Pre-Task Activity #1: What are our rights and responsibilities in the classroom? (PDF)
- Pre-Task Activity #2: Who does what? (PDF)
- Pre-Task Activity #3: Why should I care? (PDF)
- Pre-Task Activity # 4: Mapping Activity - What does my community look like? (PDF)
- Pre-Task Activity #5: Issues scavenger hunt - Fact or Opinion? (PDF)
- Pre-Task Activity #6: Survey: What are the most important issues in Toronto? (PDF)
- Appendix #1: Webbing Organizer (PDF)
- Appendix # 2: Brochure Planning Chart (PDF)
- Appendix #3: Rubric: Issue Brochure (PDF)
- Appendix #4: Assessment Tool: Group Skills (PDF)
- Appendix #5: People Bingo (PDF)
- Appendix #6: Rights and Responsibilities Pamphlet Checklist (PDF)
- Appendix #7: Group Concept Attainment Organizer (PDF)
- Appendix #8: Class Concept Attainment Organizer (PDF)
- Appendix #9: Community Research Chart (PDF)
- Appendix #10: Shared Reading Activity (PDF)
A Primer on Local Government for Elementary Teachers
Teachers are encouraged to explore the guides and take advantage of the many cross-curricular resources and activities they offer. AMCTO (the Association of Municipal Managers, Clerks and Treasurers of Ontario) provides lessons about local government that will open the doors to a wealth of learning opportunities related to real life community circumstances.
Ready, Set, Learn - How to Vote
The City of Toronto provides a variety of vital services to its residents, for the efficient and reliable functioning of this great city. Every four years, electors across the city go to the voting places to decide what direction their government should take over the subsequent years.
In 2010, the City of Toronto partnered with the Civic Education Network to provide this resource to teachers across the city. Within its pages there is a variety of information, resources and lessons which can be immediately used in the classroom. The goal of this resource is to give teachers what they need to encourage today's youth to better understand municipal government and become involved and engaged with the election process.
Municipal elections happen every four years in Ontario. Voting day in a regular election is the fourth Monday in October. This guide is meant for you, the teacher. It speaks to you and helps you understand the workings of City Council. The lessons presented in the guide are suggestions and possible directions that you could take your class to harness the teaching opportunity that the municipal elections provide. Most lessons also include ideas for enrichment and assignments for your students.
Feel free to alter and adjust each lesson and assignment for your own classroom environment. The overall goal is the same for you as it is for us, to help develop young people who see the value of the democratic process and want to come together to make a better city for themselves and others.
This OISE (Ontario Institute for Studies in Education) compilation of activities is designed as a supplementary curriculum resource for grade 10 Civics teachers to utilize in anticipation of the Toronto municipal elections scheduled for October 2014. The goal of the resource is to provide teachers with a variety of material to support student learning and understanding of municipal government and election processes. The activities can be utilized individually, as an augmentation to the teaching of municipal government and/or as a part of a unit on elections, for example.
Subject and topic areas have been selected to cover aspects of municipal government that are important for furthering the development of students as responsible citizens. The activities offer many relevant and personal connections to the lives of students in the City of Toronto ranging from examining controversial urban issues to exploring local community needs to understanding their role in the shaping of city budgets, planning and politics.
Students are introduced to and given an opportunity to practice and apply the skills of political inquiry research, detecting and presenting points of view in written and role - playing activities, engaging in oral, written and visual presentations, as well as in argumentative, persuasive and reflective writing. Problem - based literacy and learning strategies are infused throughout the resource to help strengthen the skill - sets of diverse learners.
Overall, the focus of the resource is to excite and engage students in activities fundamental to municipal government and democratic citizenship. By inviting students to critically think about and consider civic responsibilities from personal, conceptual and diverse perspectives through a range of activities, students are able to move progressively towards a deeper understanding of citizenship and the processes through which they can effect positive change in their city.
- Introduction - Toronto Municipal Elections Activities (PDF)
- Activity 1 - Toronto Budget (PDF)
- Activity 2 - Toronto Services (PDF)
- Activity 3 - Toronto Becoming a Province (PDF)
- Activity 4 - Controversial Issues (PDF)
- Activity 5 - Toronto Mayor Hot Seat (PDF)
- Activity 6 - School Trustees (PDF)
- Activity 7 - Municipal Elections, Voting and Citizenship (PDF)
- Activity 8 - Passing a By-Law (PDF)
- Activity 9 - Political Question Quotes (PDF)
- All Grade 10 Activities (PDF)
Local governments are the closest level of government to our communities. Take a look at the AMCTO (The Association of Municipal Managers, Clerks and Treasurers of Ontario) secondary school aged teachers guide that helps educate individuals about local government and its impact on their daily lives.