5th Grade Girls Hold Elections, Create Class Laws

TDSP Girls fifth grade General Studies teacher Ms. Elle O'Brien wanted to end her unit on the US government with a bang.

The girls had learned how there were three branches of the government, the legislative, executive and judicial, what was involved with each branch, and that there was a separation of powers, and that no branch was more powerful than the next.

But, to make the girls really understand how the system worked, Ms. O’Brien ended the unit with elections for class government.

The girls campaigned to be class Senators, Congresswomen, Supreme Court Justices, and the Vice President and President, and on Election Day Ms. O'Brien set up a ballot box for everyone to vote.

“Thirteen out of fourteen girls ran for office,” said Ms. O’Brien. “They all wrote (and delivered) speeches and they all put up posters.”

In the speeches, the girls pledged to help their classmates.

“Here are some of the reasons why you should vote for me, over all the other amazing candidates,” said Pesha Shor, who was elected to be Vice President, in her speech.  “I am a very organized person, and I am happy to make our class organized and clean. I want our class to be a better place by stopping all the arguments and by helping everyone become better friends.”

The class elected ten girls to the government. Bella Meystelman was elected President, Pesha Shor, Vice President, Sora Rochel Gonsky the Supreme Court Judge, Lena Weitzner, Racheli Yankelewitz, and Sara Mandel are Federal Judges, Leeba Ickovic and Avital Zimmerman are House Representatives, and Chaya Frady Lobl and Elka Rosner are Senators.

Once elected, the girls got down to business proposing laws. The Senators and House Representatives put together a slate of four bills, which are:

  1.        Our class should have a mini fridge for cold drinks and snacks.
  2.        Everyone in the class should try not to have an attitude when they get out of a game.
  3.        Less homework.
  4.        Everyone needs to pick up trash within 3 feet of their desk; all other trash is considered “everyone trash.”

Then, at the first Class Congress Meeting, the Senators and House representatives stood in front of the class, which is considered the whole congress, and presented the bill about the trash. The other laws will be discussed later.

The class will vote on the bill on Friday, and then the Supreme Court Justice needs to come to Ms. Obrien, who is the “class constitution”, to make sure the bill is constitutional. Ms. O’Brien also has ultimate veto power over any law that gets passed.

“They all had a positive reaction to the (trash) bill,” said Ms. O’Brien. “They all agreed to it. And – as the teacher (in the classroom)- I hope it gets passed!”