October 04, 2006

Government-President-Election Unit Fun!

I can't really call it JUST an election unit. We studied about past presidents, the way the government works, the wisdom of our previous leaders (and the folly of some). We talked about political parties, platforms, how elections are held, and much more. For a more detailed and complete list, you might review yesterday's post where I listed a few of the individual activities we accomplished. If you are interested in books we might have read, see this list. This post is mainly a preview of the photographs of the cherished moments from this unit (which was our favorite unit of 2004-5). My kiddos were just 5 and 7 when we did this unit! They turned 6 and 8 after Christmas that year, and this unit was done in October and early November of 2005. I hope you'll enjoy our patriotic pictures... this was a really fun topic to study (and what better time of year than during a presidential election?!).

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This is a picture Morgan (5 years old) drew of her own accord after we read about the Statue of Liberty. She was fascinated with her for quite a while after this unit and still enjoys getting out her books that we purchased for this unit and reading through them. I should have taken this photo outside to get a better shot. Maybe I'll scan it one day after we finally buy a house again and get our things out of storage.

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We created an electoral college on the floor in the living room with their little plastic animal toys. They began to realize half-way through the USA that we were going to run out of toys (because Florida, Texas, and California took up so many!). We ended up using pennies and little blocks to complete the East Coast. This was a very educational and fun activity and helped them to see why a president can still win if he has fewer states 'in the bag'. They got to pick an animal and do a 'campaign trail' through the map and try and win votes. Then they had a mock election and we looked to see what the polls said that day to see who won and why. Turns out, that day, Kerry was in the lead... so Kaden (the donkey) won the game and gave a victory speech.

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This was an idea from a Family Fun magazine. We used stickers in star shapes and masking tape stripes before we painted the shirt and then peeled them off when the paint dried. For more info about how I incorporate Family Fun Crafts into my homeschooling, see my article at TOS Company Porch (Tips).

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I am almost sure that this idea is from Better Homes and Gardens (July 2003 Issue). I can't log in to their back-issues without a current subscription to prove it, but if you are a member, try looking in the "A Place to Hang" article. Those are shiny silver/white pom-poms and the flag is supposed to represent an older 13-Star Betsy Ross American Flag. If only we had the same government and morals as we had back then (minus the slavery, of course). Even us "Dixie" girls are not fans of racial intolerance. Here's a neat site about Betsy that might interest you.

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Here's another Family Fun idea. We Mod-Podged tissue paper stars on these sacks, hole-punched them with a spiral-punch scrapbook tool and filled them with sand half way to support tea-light candles. We lined them along our sideway so our guests had little lights leading the way to the front door when they arrived for the election party. They looked pretty at dusk, but it got windy, so we blew them out. I think I saved them to use again for 4th of July someday.

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Family Fun. Yep. I wish I could get sales commission for all the people I lead to subscribe to that magazine. I love it. We still have these little guys. They made a nice centerpiece to our chips and dip table where we had our election tally paperwork.

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Here's the "I Wish" United States Political Jell-O Map. Watch out if you live in Florida... looks like some major hurricane damage down there. This was actually brought to us by a guest, but was fun since the kids had been watching the red-state/blue-state rhetoric on Jib-Jab over and over (singing the election song all the time). They probably still know the words. Too bad Jib Jab got tacky on some of the more recent political videos. I just loved that 2004 flick done to Queen.

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This was our big snack production for the party (other than all the fruit, chips, dips, candy, pickles, and other party foods). We used icing spray to 'paint' the ice-cream cones blue-green (the color of 'rusted' copper). Then we baked tiny cupcakes in those foil cupcake holders and shoved them into the cones. I whipped up the icing and we used cut waffle-cookies and orange gel icing with sprinkles to create the 'fire'. The kids loved these! I think this was another Better Homes and Gardens or Family Fun, but for the life of me, I couldn't tell you which. We also considered making Laura Bush's cookies (since there was a contest between her cookies and Kerry's wife's and the recipe had recently been published), but we ran out of time.

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The kids dressed up to give their book reports on Lady Liberty and Uncle Sam for the party. They also sang "The Star Spangled Banner" for our guests. I had them get 'in character' for this shot. They are such hams! You can tell they hardly EVER get their picture taken, right?!

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Here's the close up. I painted Morgan's face with copper 'patina' for an authentic teal-blue Liberty look. I even painted her shoulders and drew some lines with blue eyeliner to make her face look more serious like the statue (nice photo of the real Lady L. here). We got the disco Sam hat and her crown and torch the day after Halloween at a local shop for very little money. It conveniently went on sale right before elections! I got Kaden's vest at Good Will for 3$! I think I paid a dollar-fifty for his bow-tie there, too. I looked all over for striped pajama pants, but ended up settling for letting him wear his sister's sweat-pants. My good buddy Lizzie sewed Morgan's shiny material up on the side and gave it a seam so I could tie the shoulder strap. They wore these costumes again at the end of the school year to sing "The Star Spangled Banner" again in the talent show for our co-op.

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Hope you enjoyed your Election Unit 2004 tour! Now go make sure you are registered and get out to vote this November for mid-terms!

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Anonymous said...

You make me want to be your kid! How fun is all this?????

I always see and love hearing Jessica Hulcy at our NCHE conference. However some others have scared me away from konos saying its too much work. You make it look so fun!

Jessica needs to put you to work for her (if she already hasn't!)

FYI---I love family fun magazine too. It is great.

Kelly the Happy Texan said...

Wow Heather! Thatlooks like a lot of fun. I'm about half tempted to come move to AR for the frontiersman unit. We could tan a squirrel hide! LOL
Looks like you guys had a lot of fun and learned a lot.

Anonymous said...

WOW!! You are totally awesome!!!
I can't believe all that you did!!
I can't wait to start looking through all your information!!
Thanks for taking the time to share with us all!!

Sprittibee said...

Thank you so much for the kind comments. KONOS really is a wonderful program and Jessica and Carole's ideas seem to spark a fire inside you that helps you create your own! I don't always have this much fun with units. You get out of them what you put in to them. The more fun I try to have, the more we have!

Kel - I don't know about that squirrel hide, but I do know someone here who claims he has killed 138 of them in one season. I didn't know there even WAS a squirrel season. Now I can't make fun of Kevin's dad for having eaten squirrel before. HA!

BUNNY! I had a stepsister named Bunny once. She was born on Easter day, so everyone called her that her whole life.

We are reading books about Handel and Mozart today... wish I could get my computer's speakers to work so I could play Handel's Messiah for them.

Have a great day everyone!

lindafay said...

Cute, cute! How fun! What a creative lady you are...

Sprittibee said...

Thanks Linda... even though I did steal many of the ideas from other people and curriculums! ;)



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