The Fifth Grade Caucus

I am a Technology Teacher. I was actually grading them on their computer generated letter writing format. I wanted to make sure that they knew how to insert a date, formulate a salutation, write a paragraph and then an ending. And I love reading things written by fifth graders. They know enough about changing fonts and colors to make the reading interesting. It’s easy on the eyes and I had 134 of them to read. So this task wasn’t any different than usual. Just tugged at the heart strings and twanged the recesses of my mind. The innocence and enthusiasm of fifth graders. Dang.

Their job was to write a letter to one of the four candidates – Barack Obama, John McCain, Joe Biden or Sarah Palin. They were to tell them the three most important problems the new president had to solve. I didn’t really keep track of how many of them wrote to which one. I probably could have predicted the outcome of the upcoming election had I done it. The issues they chose included several references to school lunches and soccer field conditions but most were deeper. Thought provoking. Here are a couple of random selections.

“Dear Senator McCain, I think if you get elected you should stop global warming. You should also help kids get more exercise. You should make sure every kid gets and allowance so they can save money for their future. Sincerely, Billy T.” A ten year old…worried about his financial future?

“Dear Barrack O’Bama, You need to fix sending the troops back bcause if you don’t we’ll have another 9/11 and we don’t want that to happen again. You also need to make taxes the same amount instead of making rich people pay more and poor people pay less because it won’t be fair. You also would make a good president because you will make history and so would Sarah Palin but I am going to vote for you because my Mom is. You also need to stop saying bad stuff about McCain because it is rude and he is rude to because he says really mean nasty things about you. Sincerely your friend, Chris.” We play nice and fair on OUR playground.

“Dear Barack Obama if you become president please help the environment by stopping global warming before it reach’s durrasic measures. I hope you can accomplish this. Please also stop wars and terrorists before it can’t be helped. Maybe it would lead to world peace and with world peace people can accomplish anything. Please acclompish this or things could end badly. Sincerely, Jacob” Amen to that.

“Dear Barack Obama, There are two problems that I think are very important things for the new president to solve. One problem is Global Warming. One reason I think it is important is because the air we breathe is getting polluted. So for some kids, it’s hard to breathe. Another problem is how high the gas prices are these days. When we get our license the prices will be up to ten dollars. P.S. By the way, good luck in the election. Sincerly, Nathan” Love the post script… before the ending. We are big on encouragement and positive comments in elementary school. .

“Dear Senator John McCain, The one thing you could fix is all the jobs that families are losing people are going to other cuntries and gas is not a big deal to other rich people but it is to us and we are 11 and 10 years old so if we see it, you should….Thank you for reading, Stevie” Gotta love this kid but she is already aware of economic distinctions?? Did I even care when I was ten?

“Dear Senator Barack Obama, There are two problems I think are very important for the new president to solve. One problem is gas prices, they are very high and will probably get higher if the new president doesn’t change it. Another problem is global warming. I think more people should recycle, even though a lot of people all ready do. I believe there should be a law that says every single classroom in the U.S.A. should have a recycling bin in it. Sincerely, Julia” We are a green school. We have recycled paper, plastic bottles and foil/styrofoam packaging from lunch trays.

Then there was the kid that suggested stopping the gas price rise so he wouldn’t have to quit his soccer team. And the girl who wants new jobs in the USA so her dad doesn’t have to work in Sweden any more. And the child who suggested making hurricane proof housing in hurricane areas….and growing more food so people do not go hungry. And the boy who suggested the new president lower the voting age to 13 because ‘we have good ideas and we know how to problem solve.’

And lastly….this one from a challenged student….

“Dear Senator Barak Obama,
Help people in the streets. So people don’t die.
People stop littering. And globule warming just
So living things don’t die.
Sincerely, E”

Their world in a nut shell……Fifth Graders.

Are we listening?

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3 Comments on “The Fifth Grade Caucus”

  1. Miranda Says:

    I don’t know how this could leave me feeling so raw, but it does. Perhaps it is because I remember being that age, and caring about those things too. Somewhere on the path to bigger and better things we lose sight of the bigger picture around us?

    Oh, the things kids teach us.

    Are you planning on sending these letters to the appropriate campaigns? I don’t know they’d reach the candidates, but it is worth a try. (?maybe?)

  2. marymurtz Says:

    This was terrific. I think in fifth grade I would have been far less attuned to world events; when I was in fifth grade, Jimmy Carter was president. Gas prices were a concern then, too, but I probably would have written something about peanuts.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    Hands down. NO question. THAT is, by far, the best blog I have ever read. You REALLY need to send that in to the Voice of the People. And please send it in just as you wrote it. That was simply awesome!


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