By Danette Sawn, Sweet Briar Creek Head Teacher

Talk and action around the election – both national and in class – and equity and inequity filled the air in Sweet Briar Creek. We talked about the right and responsibility of voting and really dove into the importance of voting. We said that electing different types of leaders ensures that different types of people are represented and that different types of people bring different ideas and perspectives. We also shared ways in which people try to deny others their voice by making it hard or even impossible for them to vote. We learned some of the ins and outs of voting and set out creating our own polling place!

We brainstormed names new names for our classroom blog and created lists, ballots, posters, and everything we needed to open the polls at 7:30 Tuesday morning. We even created an area where voters could sit and read about positive change makers while they waited for their turn in the booth. We made sure that every voice was counted and that we tallied every vote. We also shared some of the National Election ‘firsts’ with the class reading the names and sending up a cheer after each one. This fit nicely with our earlier conversation about different types of people and the celebration of diversity. Our little Sweet Briar election was truly a powerful experience that we hope will stay with them for a very long time. Stay tuned to see the new blog name in all its glory coming next week!

Later we screen-printed shirts with slogans like “Your vote matters” and “We don’t just believe women, we vote for them”. You may have a wondering about how we explained that slogan to the children. We related it back to our heroine, Ruth Bader Ginsburg. We had all been outraged as we read her story and learned that people thought that women should only be homemakers and mothers, both noble choices but only if that is the person’s choice! The children couldn’t believe that people didn’t think that Ruth should be allowed to get her law degree. We related that back to the shirts. While we know that the message in today’s climate speaks to a different situation around believing women, this explanation seemed to resonate with them. We decorated them with positive images of powerful women and many creatures and scenes from nature. We also referenced the message on the shirts when we celebrated the many firsts for women elected last Tuesday.The children were pretty proud of them!