King Early Childhood Center Brings Song, Dance into Lesson on Voting

Staff at school helps choreograph three videos to get kids excited about election season 

At Martin Luther King, Jr. Early Childhood Center, getting students to understand the importance of voting was a matter of showing them what it’s all about through song and dance.

With music by The Temptations and M.C. Hammer, and using popular Wobble dance moves, staff at the southwest Houston school choreographed three videos to help teach the social studies lesson, while keeping things fun for the kids.

The goal was to raise awareness about voting and get the children talking about the subject with their parents before the polls open on Monday for early voting, which runs through Nov. 2.

“It’s important to relate educational experiences to real-life experiences,” said Principal Gabrielle Coleman. “Many of our children will go to the polls with their parents.”

Educators across the district are finding creative ways to bring this year’s election into the classroom, from mock voting events to real registration drives on their campuses.

The stakes are high: Voters will pick a president on Nov. 6 and decide on HISD’s proposed $1.89 billion bond that would rebuild and modernize city high schools, as well as bring technology, safety and security upgrades to campuses across the district.

“Every four years, I feel it’s important to introduce our pre-kindergarteners to the importance of voting,” said school librarian Angela Kirkendoll, who has been with the district for 12 years. “They are our future voters.”

The principal thought about using a video to carry the voting message after seeing the district’s “Gangnam Style” get-out-the-vote video. Then she recruited Kirkendoll for help.

“I knew this would be a perfect opportunity for our students to showcase what they have learned,” said Kirkendoll, who worked with other staff members to select songs, write lyrics and develop dance routines.

Getting the students to take part, practicing over two days, wasn’t a hard sell: “They loved it,” she said.

The enthusiasm comes across in the videos, which Kirkendoll edited at home last weekend in time for early voting and her school’s mock election on Oct. 30, when students and parents will vote together.

No matter the outcome on Nov. 6, Coleman said her students are the winners for having learned about voting in such an engaging and active way.

“This is something they’ll remember and carry with them,” she said.

[tubepress mode=”vimeoAlbum” vimeoAlbumValue=”2117108″]