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Students Get a Hands-On Look at the Voting Process

 Bedford Village Elementary School student votes

An eager Bedford Village Elementary School student handed over a registration form and then sat down at a voting booth decked out in patriotic streamers. Inside the booth was a Chromebook opened to a Google Form ballot with two choices for Field Day activities: hoppity and potato sack races. The student studied the photos for each race before making a choice and receiving an “I voted” sticker.

“I want to do this every year,” second grader Daniela Noriega said. “I liked the new experience.”

The activity was designed to give students a hands-on look at the voting process. BVES’s Elementary Coordinator, Christina Valentine, got the idea from a BOCES Social Studies Collegial Circle for curriculum leaders that she attended.

Before the big voting day, teachers showed their students a slideshow created by Valentine that thoroughly explained the voting process. They learned about all the steps needed to be taken to vote, from finding out if you’re eligible to registering, figuring out your voting place and learning about the candidates or options.

“We are citizens of Bedford Village,” Valentine’s slideshow explained. “It is important for our citizens to have a voice and to make themselves heard. One way to do this is to participate in our school election. Our country holds elections every November. Sometimes American citizens vote to elect people to represent us and sometimes they vote on ways to solve problems or take action. This year at Bedford Village we want to ‘take action’ by voting for a Field Day game.”

Students were thrilled to be able to participate in the experience for the first time. They came to Valentine’s office with their voter registration forms filled out and a clear understanding of what they were voting for.

“I thought it was cool that we got to pick a Field Day game,” second grader Katie Camardella said. “I hope hoppity wins!”

Katie got her wish, with hoppity winning the election by a wide margin. The activities students got to choose between were selected because they involve similar skills and muscle groups. During potato sack races, students jump down the field in a sack. For hoppity, students bounce on a ball down the field. 

While BVES students were voting, their peers across town at Bedford Hills Elementary School were involved in a similar election that was also inspired by the meeting Valentine attended. There, they voted between cornhole or splashketball, a game where students shoot at a hoop above a bucket of water. If it goes in, it splashes into the bucket.

“Students were so excited and shocked at how quickly the process went,” BHES’s Elementary Coordinator, Jacquelyn Salcito said. “They loved getting their 'I Voted' stickers!”

BVES students wear their I voted stickers