Many teachers throw election "literature" straight in the bin. But no one should underestimate its value in the classroom.
Producing an election leaflet combines English, art and ICT. And what an opportunity to fit what's happening in the real world into the key stage 2 classroom.
An election leaflet is your classic piece of non-narrative persuasive writing. Your writing promotes a particular point of view. Pupils should write in the present tense, and include the following:
* an opening statement - school meals are getting worseLet's make trainers compulsory;
* the argument - how and why you will change things if you become an MP or Prime Minister;
* a summary and restatement of the opening position - this is what I will do and it's important for you to vote for me if you want change;
* a slogan - it needs to be short and memorable. Use alliteration - "Lunches for life" or adapt a familiar phrase - "Give your friends the run around - trainers for all" and so on. Great fun.
Use a computer for designing, writing and printing your leaflets. A digital camera or scanner, if you have one, is an easy way to insert images onto it. Microsoft Publisher is simple to use: select "new publication" and choose the "page wizard" to help you compile a brochure. I you prefer to write your leaflets, print off our leaflet proforma ready for photocopying from www.tes.co.uk. The front page must be eye-catching. Include a picture of the candidate:
* to use clip art, click on the "insert" icon, select clip art and choose the picture. Then click on "ok";
* pupils should scan a picture of themselves or their logo, and save it as a picture file. This can be inserted onto the cover of their leaflet. Click on the "insert" icon at the top of the page, and select "picture file" to insert the logo or picture. When scanning, reduce the size of the picture to save time!
* if you've got one, use a digital camera. Photographs of the "candidates" can be saved as a picture file and inserted using a scanner.
Design the logo
* use symbols to represent the things they stand for;
* draw the logo - it can be scanned and inserted onto the leaflet;
* cut out and layer the different parts of the logo onto sugar paper to use for printing;
* select a logo from clip art on Microsoft Publisher.
Questions for discussion in class
* do we need change?
* what needs to be changed?
* how can an election make a difference?
* who is your target audience?
* do your voters agree with you or do you need to change their minds?
* what image do you wish to portray?
Colin Edwards is a deputy headteacher in Southwark