I read through the spreadsheet that my department head sent, and my heart sank. World History and Sociology. I really wanted U.S. History and civics. Especially during an election year. I mean, how am I going to teach the election in sociology?
I taught AP government & Politics during the 2016 election, and it was so much fun. And I knew I wasn’t getting AP GOPO, but I hoped I’d at least get the standard civics class.
World History’s cool. Plus, I’ve taught it a billion times.
I knew this year would be insane because of the pandemic. (I have a little tinge of stress every day because of hybrid teaching. Even though things are going relatively smoothly at this point). So teaching a class I’ve already taught so many times is clutch.
On the bright side, the two other teachers who are teaching sociology are badasses. They are super helpful, crazy smart, and open to new ideas (which is great, because let’s face it, I always have new ideas).
So when I told them I’d love to figure out how to teach about the election in our sociology classes, they were down.
Here are two ways that we’ve included the election in our sociology classes:
Teaching the Election in Sociology Idea #1: Apply the Sociological Lenses to political parties
We used political parties for the project’s model, then let them choose a different topic for their project. But, you can have the students apply the sociological lenses to the political parties if you want.
Here’s how we did it:
We modeled the Structural Functional Lens using Google Slides.
Check out the notes we gave them (here).
Next, we modeled Social Conflict Theory using a Flipgrid.
Disclaimer: This was the first time I’ve created a Flipgrid, and it somehow got cut in half. BUMMER. So I cleaned up the notes I took for it and shared them with the kids.
Here are those notes.
Finally, my sociology partner-in-crime modeled Symbolic Interaction theory using Easelly.
She focused on symbols, including the donkey v.the elephant, liberal v. conservative, Democrat v. Republican, etc.
She also included a chart and a funny video (see the video here).
Teaching the Election in Sociology Idea #2: Apply the Core American Values to the presidential candidates
Have the students complete a Presidential Campaign Advertisement Project.
Students will decide which candidate best represents five of the Core American Values we discussed in class.
(Don’t know the CAV? Check them out here).
Once they select their candidate and the five CAV, they will create a campaign ad using Easelly, Flipgrid, Google Slides, or Prezi. (Are people still using Prezi these days??).
Before introducing the project, we spent a period talking about the CAV, and the class voted on their top 5.
Funny story. So when I introduced this project to my students, they got little smirks on their faces.
In my head, I was like,
I knew what was coming.
They asked if they could choose Kanye West.
I had to put my foot down.
Normally, I’d let them. I love Kanye West’s music and his complete 180 in ideas is intriguing. (I even have a blog post about how to use his candidacy to teach about the election. Click here to check it out).
But, I don’t have the energy to deal with these shenanigans this year.
So, I told the kids I didn’t have the mental capacity to deal with them doing this project on Kanye West. I’m already stressed enough as it is.
I literally stood in front of them, bent over, so my head was hanging down, and told them I couldn’t handle it.
But I don’t care.
It’s been a crazy school year so far.
Thankfully, I had an out.
Kanye West didn’t do everything he needed to get his name on the ballot in most states.
I did tell the kids they could use Jo Jorgensen if they wanted.
Well, there you have it. A few ways you can teach the election in your sociology classes.
Let me know what you think!