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GET INVOLVED

Step 1: Find the Program for You

The Center for Youth Voice has a variety of programs. Each one is a little bit different. Take a peek to see what is right for your community..

Step 2: Contact us

Because every individual and every community is a little bit different, it is best to give us a call or email us to make the next move. At the CYV State Office, we can plug you in or help you start something new in your community or school.

STUDENT ELECTION JUDGE TOOLKIT

In Spring 2019, the YMCA Center for Youth Voice, in partnership with Minneapolis Department of Elections and Voter Services and the League of Minnesota Cities, surveyed Minnesota elections officials about their work with student election judges. Read the complete survey report or highlights from five successful programs. In addition to gathering data on the scope and scale of student election judge programs across the state, the survey asked election officials what resources would be helpful in creating or enhancing their program. The result is the Student Election Judge Toolkit below. The Student Election Judge Toolkit is an online library of resources designed to help election administrators effectively recruit, train, and deploy high schools students as election judges. This free collection gathers tested resources from across Minnesota. They are organized chronologically by calendar-year activity; election offices are welcome to use a resource "as is" or adapt it to better fit their needs. If you have trouble accessing any of the documents or are willing to add resources to the Toolkit, please contact Amy Anderson at amy.anderson@ymcamn.org or 651-955-1679. Amy can also help you connect with the high school(s) in your area.

Working with Schools

Setting Timelines

Recruiting Students

Required Student Forms Samples

Working with Young People

Evaluating Your Program for Improvement

Case Studies from 5 Unique Student Election Judge Programs

This page is maintained by the YMCA Center for Youth Voice. Links to other internet sites are provided for informational purposes only. The YMCA Center for Youth Voice is in no way responsible for the content of these sites and their presence on this page should not be construed as an endorsement.

KIDS VOTING

The CYV team has pulled together a host of nonpartisan lessons, resources, educational tools and hands-on activities for K-12 students that support state benchmarks and encourage the development of civic knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviors.

Quick Links

For this year's mid-term elections, PBS NewsHour Extra has developed lessons focused on Down-Ballot Voting and the Role of State and Local Elections.

iCivics.org has also developed lessons focused on state and local governments.

Our favorite Lessons by Grade Level designed to help teach about voting, democracy, civic life, elections, civic responsibility, and the importance of participating in the political process.

A Teaching Framework that outlines the concepts and content included in each Minnesota Social Studies/Government Standards by grade, as well as links to online resources and lessons.

A list of Election-Year Guiding Questions to help start, maintain or deepen classroom lessons or discussions.

Post-Election Reflection Activities to guide students in reflecting about what they’ve learned during the election process and how they feel about the election results.

Helpful Websites

Below is a list of websites that teachers statewide have suggested might be helpful during election season. If you have suggestions for additional sites, please email civicyouth@ymcamn.org.

Information & Content

C-SPAN Classroom - Explanations of the various aspects of the election process for candidates vying to become the next President.Separated into 10 main areas, each topic is supplemented with related video clips, discussion questions, handouts, and culminating activities to reinforce students' learning.

Education World Presidential Elections - A compilation of Web sites for grades K-12 that provide non-partisan, age-appropriate information about presidential elections, along with games, lessons, printables, and interactive tools.

Fact Check - A nonpartisan, nonprofit site that monitors the accuracy of TV ads, debates, speeches, interviews and news releases to increase public knowledge and understanding.

Minnesota Secretary of State - The Secretary of State is responsible for overseeing statewide elections and operating the statewide voter registration system.

PBS Election Central - Content to educate your students on the process and history of elections including campaigning, local impact of national issues, how the Electoral college works, fast facts and an interactive, activity-based map, these tools help turn news coverage into learning opportunities.

Politifact - A fact-checking website that rates the accuracy of claims by elected officials and others who speak up in American politics. PolitiFact is run by editors and reporters from the Tampa Bay Times, an independent newspaper in Florida.

ProCon - Promoting critical thinking, education, and informed citizenship by presenting controversial issues in a straightforward, nonpartisan, primarily pro-con format.

ReadWorks - Research-based units, lessons, and authentic, leveled non-fiction and literary passages. Search for words like "elections," "voting," or "citizen" for leveled passages on relevant topics.

Student News Daily - A non-profit current events website for high school students.

Teaching Civics - Supports educators with an ever-growing repository of current, professionally vetted, and unbiased civics, law-related education, and government lesson plans and materials.

Teaching Tolerance - A site dedicated to helping teachers and schools educate children and youth to be active participants in a diverse democracy.

USA.gov/voting - Basic facts about voting and elections, including midterm congressional, state and local elections.

USA.gov/states and territories - Resources to look up your state's elected officials at all levels of government.

Vote Smart - A nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization that collects and distributes information on candidates for public office in the United States.

Your Vote Your Voice MN - A resource about the past, present and future of voting rights, primarily for high school students. Created by the League of Women Voters Minnesota.

Tools to Engage Students

270 To Win - An interactive map to create election forecasts or monitor results on Election day.

Cartoons for the Classroom - A site created by the The Association of American Editorial Cartoonists to aid educators at all levels in teaching history, economics, social studies and current events.

iCivics - Free resources include print-and-go lesson plans, interactive digital tools, and award-winning games.

I Side With - An online quiz to see which candidate align most closely with your personal values.

The Living Room Candidate - Presidential campaign commercials from 1952 to 2016

PBS Election Center Debates - There are specific skills required to perform well in a debate. The ability to make a case, communicate points of view, respond to questions and clearly articulate solutions are life skills that begin in the classroom.

People-Press - An online quiz to find out which Political Typology group is the best match compared with a national survey of over 10,000 U.S. adults conducted by the Pew Research Center.

Polling Report - An independent, nonpartisan resource on trends in American public opinion.

Book List for Educators

 
Book Title Synopsis Author Grade Level
America Is For a cross-section of America's beginning and its ongoing social activity today, "America Is..." gives a clear picture to beginning readers. Louise Borden K-2
Do Unto Otters: A Book About Manners Mr. Rabbit's new neighbors are Otters. OTTERS! But he doesn't know anything about Otters. Will they get along? Will they be friends? Just treat otters the same way you'd like them to treat you, advises wise Mr. Owl. And so begins Mr. Rabbit's reflection on good manners. Laurie Keller K-2
Duck for President When Duck gets tired of working for Farmer Brown, his political ambition eventually leads to his being elected President. Doreen Cronin K-2
Election Day Readers will learn about the different methods of voting and how voting helps people take part in their government. Patricia J. Murphy K-2
Election Day Becky, the new girl in Ms. Connor's class, doesn't think she stands a chance of being elected class president on Election Day. All the other kids have such great ideas! Nick promises no homework. Katie promises a candy machine in the classroom. Reza promises longer recess, and Emma promises a shorter school year. What can Becky promise? Only to do her very best. It doesn't seem like much, until Ms. Connor asks her students to really think about the candidates... Margaret McNamara K-2
Grace for President When Grace Campbell's teacher reveals that the United States has never had a female president, Grace decides to be the first. She starts off her political career as a candidate in the school's mock election. But soon, she realizes that she has entered a tough race. Her popular opponent claims to be the "best man for the job" — and seems to have captured all the male votes — while Grace concentrates on being the best person. Kelly DiPucchio K-2
My Teacher for President Oliver, a savvy second grader, has been learning about the president's job, and it seems to him that his teacher would be the perfect candidate. Look at her qualifications! She loves white houses, she's used to being followed everywhere, she attends lots of meetings, she finds jobs for people, and she believes in peace. Kay Winters K-2
House Mouse Senate Mouse In a big country, it's not always easy to get everyone to agree on an important issue. So when Miss Tuftmore's second-grade class writes from Moussouri, asking for a law to declare a National Cheese, the Squeaker of the Mouse and the Senate Mouse-jority leader have a lot of work to do. By following these congressmice (who live and work alongside their human counterparts) through the steps they must take, readers will gain a greater understanding of this important aspect of civic life and have a lot of fun while they're at it. Peter Barnes K-2
The American Flag Emergent readers will discover the history and heritage of American symbols, such as the U.S. flag and the bald eagle, in this patriotic new series. The text introduces American symbols and explains why they represent America. Lloyd Douglas K-2
The Founding Fathers: Those Horse-Ridin', Fiddle-Playin', Book-Readin', Gun-Totin' Gentlemen Who Started America. In this eye-opening look at our Founding Fathers that is full of fun facts and lively artwork, it seems that Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and their cohorts sometimes agreed on NOTHING…except the thing that mattered most: creating the finest constitution in world history, for the brand-new United States of America. Jonah Winter K-2
Vote for Me! Hey, you! Yes, you with the dazzling smile! The donkey wants your vote. So does the elephant. And each will do just about anything to win your support. Brag? Sure! Flatter? Absolutely! Exaggerate, name-call, make silly promises and generally act childish? Yes, yes, yes and yes. Soon, the tension mounts, and these two quarrelsome candidates resort to slinging mud (literally) and flinging insults. And what happens when the election results are in? Well, let's just say the donkey and the elephant are in for a little surprise — and a certain bewhiskered, third-party candidate is in for a first term. Ben Clanton K-2
Vote for Me: All About Civics The Beasties must choose a class president. As class elections approach, all the Beasties consider their special qualities. Kirsten Hall K-2
What Does the President Do? Text and photographs discuss the role of U.S. presidents, covering their responsibility to sign laws into action, give speeches, meet with foreign leaders, and lead the military. Amanda Miller K-2
Clifford for President Clifford is running for President...of the Birdwell Island dog park! Emily Elizabeth needs to put up a candidate for a class project, so of course she nominates the Big Red Dog who's always a big winner! Acton Figueroa & Mark McVeigh K-3
Congress More than two hundred years ago, the Founding Fathers set up a plan for government that pleased representatives from both small and large states. This plan is still working to govern the United States today. Patricia Ryon Quiri K-3
Noah's Walk: An 1,800 Mile Journey to Raise Awareness about Homelessness Follows Noah Rattler on his walk from Houston, Texas to Los Angeles, California to raise awareness for homelessness. His journey covered 1,800 miles, over a four-and-a-half-month time span! Noah's Walk talks about his accomplishments and challenges, while serving as a fun learning tool that teaches civic responsibility, social and cultural awareness, geography, and much more. Nekisha Pickney & Noah Rattler K-3
Otto Runs for President It's election time at Barkadelphia School, and popular kids Tiffany and Charles are already in the running. Unfortunately, they care a bit more about winning than they do about their voters. Before long, little Otto throws his hat in the ring; he doesn't have a flashy campaign, but he does have a big heart and a great idea — he polls the students and asks them what they want for the school. When the ballots are finally counted, Otto wins by a landslide — but he learns that while it's hard work running for president, it's even harder work "being" president. Rosemary Wells K-3
Our Crazy Class Election All Guy wants is to find material for his school newspaper comic strip "Comic Guy." He finds himself in a race for homeroom president against the school's biggest bully and Ollie, the science room pet monkey. Timothy Roland K-3
We the Kids: The Preamble to the Constitution of the United States A long time ago some smart guys wrote the Preamble to the Constitution. You have probably read it before, but do you know what it means? And did it ever make you laugh? Now it will! Perfect for inspiring discussion in classrooms and around kitchen tables, this fun-filled and cheerfully illustrated look at the Preamble provides an accessible introduction to America's founding ideals for citizens of all ages. David Catrow K-3
George Did It Everyone wanted George Washington to be the president. He was responsible, led the army in a fight against the British, and helped write the Constitution. But being the president is a very important job, and George was too nervous. So, to everyone’s surprise, he said no! However, George had many supporters, and with the help of the cheering crowds and loyal advisers and dignitaries, George realized that he didn’t have time to think about how nervous he was, he just had to do his job. Suzanne Jurmain K-4
I could Do That! Esther Morris Gets Women the Vote With lively text and humorous illustrations, this striking picture book biography is the true story of Esther Morris, who started out life believing she could do anything, and then proved it, by building her own business, raising a family in the Wild West, working to get women the vote for the first time, and becoming the first female judge and the first woman in the US to hold a political office! Linda Arms White 2-4
If I Ran for President A multicultural cast of children imagines what it would be like to run for president. The entertaining yet informative text is a good conversation starter for discussions on the election process. Catherine Stier 2-5
Class President It's "hole" day at school and all the students are wearing their very worst clothes. And then Marvin Redpost and his third-grade classmates learn they are having a very special surprise visitor. The President — of the United States — is on his way and no one has time to change! With their Maryland elementary school only 20 miles from Washington, D.C., Marvin's class spends a humorous and question-filled afternoon with the President of the United States. Louis Sachar 2-5
I Grew Up to be President From George Washington to Barack Obama, this child's is a child's perfect introduction to all of the U.S. Presidents. On every spread, readers will learn about the Presidents' childhoods, families, careers, accomplishments in office, and life after the White House. Famous quotes, major events, and fun facts are all included. With simple text and full-color illustrations and photographs throughout, every parent, teacher, and child will want this essential reference for their bookshelf. Laurie Chalkhoven 2-5
A More Perfect Union: The Story of Our Constitution This book describes how the Constitution was drafted and ratified. Betsy Maestro 3-5
Bad Kitty for President What's a cat to do when she's fed up with the rules? Change them! Bad Kitty takes charge and runs for president of the neighborhood cat coalition. She hits the campaign trail smiling, behaving (for the first time ever), and kissing babies, but can she keep the hissy fits under control long enough for her kitty comrades to make her president? Regardless of the voting results, readers will learn loads about the democratic election process, from primaries, grassroots organizing, and campaigning to media, money, and voting all while snickering at Bad Kitty's campaign triumphs and traumas. Nick Bruel 3-5
Becoming a Citizen Citizens of the United States have rights and privileges that visitors don't. Learn what makes someone a citizen and how a non-citizen can become a citizen. Sarah De Capua 3-5
Freedom of Speech Imagine what it would be like to live in a country where speaking your mind, writing a newspaper article, or wearing a symbol could land you in jail! Freedom of speech is one of the most important civil rights all Americans enjoy. Read all about it here. Christin Ditchfield 3-5
Knowing Your Civil Rights The history of civil rights in America has come a long way since men but not women, free men but not slaves, were granted certain rights by our Constitution. Walk in the footsteps of our nation’s founding fathers. Learn about the civil rights all Americans share and the responsibilities that go along with them. Christin Ditchfield 3-5
Running for Public Office Running for public office takes a lot of hard work. A candidate must have the money, manpower, and dedication to mount a campaign. If a candidate is lucky enough to win an election, the hard work has just begun. Sarah De Capua 3-5
Serving Your Community This book describes the many ways Americans work together to help people and to make our nation and our world a better place to live. Christin Ditchfield 3-5
So You Want to Be President? All kinds of people have served as the President of the United States. That's a big job, and getting bigger. But why not? Presidents have come in just about every variety. They've been generals like George Washington and actors like Ronald Reagan; big like William Howard Taft and small like James Madison; handsome like Franklin Pierce and homely like Abraham Lincoln. They've been born in log cabins like Andrew Jackson and mansions like William Harrison. Judith St. George 3-5
Voting The voting process is described using vivid illustrations and examples of recent elections. Sarah De Capua 3-5
The Day My Grandpa Voted As he and Grandpa make the long walk to the polls, Freddie learns about the U.S. Constitution, civic duty, and the importance of choosing government leaders. Stephen Otfinoski 3-5
The Election Book: The People Pick a President Every four years, Americans elect a new president. The election is the top story on television shows and in the news nearly every day for the year leading up to the election. Yet most people don't know very much about how the election really works. Who votes? Who can run? What happens on election day? What does it take to win? Carolyn Jackson 3-7
Callie for President There are lots of things Callie Singer would like to change about her middle school. But when she finds herself accidentally in the running for student council president, she doesn't take the race too seriously. After all, Brianna Blake, the most popular girl in school, is a shoo-in to win. Robin Wasserman 3-7
The Kid Who Ran for President Hi! My name is Judson Moon. I'm 12 and I'm running for President of the YOU-nited States. That's how I introduced myself to about a zillion people. I must have kissed a zillion babies, said a zillion hellos, shaken a zillion hands . . . Will I get a zillion votes? The answer might surprise you. Dan Gutman 3-7
Who's in Charge? How Governments Make the World Go Round Most kids know there's a great big world out there. But do they know who's running it? This book explains the ins and outs of world politics in an easy-to-understand way. DK Publishing 4-7
Angel Island Children can imagine being witnesses to history-in-the-making in this series that explores important events in United States history. L. Brimner 4-7
The Presidency A great introduction for young readers to the presidency, the structure of U.S. government, the executive branch, and the balance of power. Brendan January 5-7
Electoral College A great introduction to the Electoral College and presidential elections for young readers. Suzanne LeVert 5-7
Scholastic Encyclopedia of the Presidents and Their Times Scholastic Encyclopedia of the Presidents and Their Times documents the tenure of each of the American presidents. It also includes information about the headlines, people, and fads that defined America during each presidency. It is an easy-to-use resource that reflects events through the election of the next president in the 2012 election. David Rubel 5-9
With Courage and Cloth: Winning the Fight for a Woman's Right to Vote Recounting the struggle for women's voting rights, this book describes the courage and endurance of the suffragists. Ann Bausum 6-8
Neate to the Rescue! Naimah's mom has a problem. She might lose the election and her seat on the city council. Naimah knows that her mom is the best person for the position, but David Russell is a tough and tricky opponent. And he's been using some of the lowest tricks in the book — just to make Ms. Gordon look bad. Naimah knows she has to do something, but she can't do it alone. That's when she and her four best friends decide to do their own thing. Wade Hudson & Debbie Chocolate 6-8
Catch the Spirit: Teen Volunteers Tell How They Made a Difference Changing the world is hard work...and a lot of fun. Twenty award-winning teen volunteers prove that in this incredible book. Feeding the hungry, fighting racism, raising funds for medical research, and more, they leave no doubt that "kids can do anything." Resources on how to get involved (and stay involved) are included. Susan Perry 6-9
Popular Vote Erin Bright is pretty, polished, and popular — the perfect First Daughter. Her father is the mayor of their town. In high school, Erin is politically involved as well; her boyfriend has been student council president for the past two years. But this election season, things change. When Erin suddenly gets passionate about an environmental cause, she decides to run against her boyfriend...and to challenge what her dad stands for! Can Erin convince her friends, and herself, that she has what it takes to lead? Micol Ostow 7-9
Commander in Chief: Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War In this highly praised examination of Lincoln and his times, Albert Marrin shows how a principled but imperfect man — brilliant and determined but also cautious and prejudiced — grew under the pressure of personal tragedy and national crisis to become our greatest president. Albert Marrin 9-12
Historic Speeches of African-Americans A fascinating collection of speeches by great African Americans, including James Forten, Sr., Sojourner Truth, Blanche Bruce, Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, Shirley Chisholm, Barbara Jordan, Jesse Jackson, and many more. Each speech is introduced with a brief biographical note about the speaker. Warren Halliburton 9-12
The Colors of Freedom: Immigrant Stories Learn about the many immigrants who have come to America to look for a new life. Cultural stories, recipes, and original essays are also included in the text. Janet Bode 9-12
Volunteering for a Political Campaign Explains service learning, gives examples of service-learning programs that aid political campaigns, and describes the benefits received by the campaigns, community, and volunteers. Sheila Klee 9-12
Volunteering to Help in Your Neighborhood Many young people enjoy being involved in their communities through volunteer work and making a difference in the lives of those around them. Readers learn how to start, maintain, and evaluate a service-learning project of their own in this informative book. Claudia Isler 9-12
Vote for Larry In this entertaining sequel to "The Gospel According to Larry," Josh is once again making headlines. This time, he and his friends try to change the world by putting Larry on the presidential ballot. Janet Tashjian 9-12
This page is maintained by the YMCA Center for Youth Voice. Links to other internet sites are provided for informational purposes only. The YMCA Center for Youth Voice is in no way responsible for the content of these sites and their presence on this page should not be construed as an endorsement.