I’ve written on here about how to make this inauguration into a teachable moment. This year’s transition of power is certainly a memorable moment, but there are a lot of issues that surround bringing it into the classroom. On one hand, it is important to address it. Voter apathy is a big problem, and not engaging with moments like these can tell students that “this political stuff doesn’t matter.” At the same time, mandating that students engage with ceremonies that violate their own political belief is insensitive to the kids and can be damaging to their civic-mindedness. Don’t forget that in our role as teachers, we can’t promote political views and we can get into legal issues around those things. The sweet spot may be some activity that can give students space to think for themselves, while not allowing them to tune out.
The best thing I came up with was a game of Inaugural Bingo! I realized though, that this could work for the state of the union, or really any political speech. I asked kids to break into groups and read up about this new administration. What are their positions on certain issues, what kinds of things are hot topics on social media, and what can we say about the way he uses language and argues his points. Afterwards, people made lists of things that they thought would be mentioned in the speech, and shared these on the board. We were not picking apart items on the list as right or wrong, but they wanted them to be supported by some source. After that the kids had enough time to make bingo cards to watch the inauguration. Those bingo cards can be used during our school’s optional viewing of the ceremony later today.
Here is my power point: