Students learn about democracy, importance of voting

Staff Photo: Keith Farner Riverside Elementary teacher Lynne Franks discussed the qualities the President of the United States should have in introducing democracy and government to her third grade students. The third graders wrote persuasive letters to the editor to encourage people to vote.

Staff Photo: Keith Farner Riverside Elementary teacher Lynne Franks discussed the qualities the President of the United States should have in introducing democracy and government to her third grade students. The third graders wrote persuasive letters to the editor to encourage people to vote.

SUWANEE -- With pictures of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln on the wall above each end of the white board, Lynne Frank's class of 24 third-graders discussed the incredients and foundation of democracy and how this country was founded.

It's an exercise Franks said she uses every four years as she wrote in red and blue markers on the board about 10 characteristics that are the qualities the President of the United States should have. Among the bulleted items Franks and her students discussed were being organized, unselfish, honest, bold, compassionate, diligent and a good listener.

The social studies curriculum in the state calls for teaching levels and branches of government for third grade, Franks said, and she led an exercise early last week where her Riverside Elementary students wrote persuasive letters to the editor to encourage people to vote.

Franks said she knows her students' parents, relatives and friends will be talking a lot about politics. Parents even report back to her that they learn a lot about democracy and government alongside their children.

"That's why I go heavier into the election," she said. "With this, it's so on their minds, it's the perfect time. It's a great time for them to be introduced into democracy."

Franks and her students focused on the outline of the government system, the framers of the Constitution and other key figures in American history, like Paul Revere, Susan B. Athony, James Madison, Ben Franklin and John Adams.

"Those framers helped us establish our constitution so we could vote," Franks said.

The students' choice of Barack Obama or Mitt Romney was not needed for this exercise, but instead would wait for the school's mock election.

Several of the students focused on the importance of voting.

"If you don't vote your opinion, you don't count," third-grader Wesley Hall said.

Frank's outline for the students included an opening, "my opinion," three reasons to make their point, a restatement of their opinion and a conclusion.

"Think of a grabber," Franks told them. "Convince citizens how important it is to vote."

As they read their letters, several students said if people don't vote, "you can't complain."

"What would happen if no one voted," asked third-grader Timothy Kim. "Would you like it if a president was chosen that you didn't like?"

Earlier this year, the students learned about informational writing when they wrote about a Georgia animal habitat, but this was their first crack at persuasive writing. So several students noted when a classmate used transition words to make their point.

"What if a president ran away when war was coming," said third-grader Briana Brozowski. "We wouldn't have a leader to guide us."

Added classmate Daniel Sorrels, "If nobody voted, there would be no president and we would have a dictator rule over us."


BufordGuy 2 years, 11 months ago

How about teaching these kids about a REPUBLIC as opposed to "democracy". Democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting about what's for dinner. Someone also needs to explain to that last kid that voting doesn't keep you from having a dictator. Adolf Hitler was elected!


NorcrossDot 2 years, 11 months ago

Great Point BufordGuy. It is so amazing the amount of people that believe we are a"democracy". Of course they don't teach Civics any more.


LoganvilleResident 2 years, 11 months ago

Well Dot, so many people believe that because we ARE a democracy. A representative republic is one form of democracy.

The definition of democracy is: "1. A system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives."

Last time I checked, all eligible members of our country participate in our government through the election of representatives.

The issue is how you define democracy. This is where many scholars and academics disagree. However, the definition I have posted above does accurately reflect our current society. You will find scholars on both sides of the issue.


gwinnettresident1 2 years, 11 months ago

The children are taught now what the government wants them to know. I do believe the constitution refers to us being a republic. A republic is a form of government in which the country is considered a "public matter" not the private concern or property of the rulers


Cleanupguy 2 years, 11 months ago

Glad to see that you got your ill informed brown shirt back from the cleaners. A republic is "a state in which supreme power is held by the people and their elected representatives" - this only works effectively when, oh, say, more than 60% even bother to register, and more than 10% of those actually show up to vote (typical in Gwinnett County local elections). The same holds true for the school system, which has precious little quality or quantity of parental involvement. The fault is OURS, not the government's - we cannot sit uninformed and uninvolved on the sidelines (talk radio and e-mails count as being both of these) and expect anything better than what we've gotten. It would appear that the kids in this story are in fact being very well educated, unlike most voters and bloggers.


Sthrnldy 2 years, 11 months ago

Bless your hearts, who are you posting as today?


CleanupguyS by Sthrnldy


BuzzG 2 years, 11 months ago

She should be teaching them that before they exercise their right to vote that they have educated themselves on the issues and where the candidates stand on them. Any monkey can vote. It takes a thoughtful and informed citizen to vote correctly.


FordGalaxy 2 years, 11 months ago

Surely she wasn't speaking about President Obama when she said "unselfish, honest,...a good listener."

And I have to wholeheartedly agree with those of you calling out this teacher for teaching about a "democracy." It's probably fair to say that most people have no idea that we are meant to be a Republic. In fact, there are too many people who think a democracy is a good idea.

BufordGuy said it best...a democracy is two wolves and a sheep deciding what's for dinner.


lynnefranks3 2 years, 11 months ago

Do you guys realize these are 3rd graders? Get real! Get off the couch and do something for America instead of showing your ignorance.


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