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Certainly, teaching about politics can be daunting, especially as the political climate in the United States becomes increasingly partisan as a result of heated political rhetoric amplified through a variety of media outlets. However, elementary teachers can help students develop the respectful dispositions they will need as young adults living in an increasingly pluralistic society. These dispositions can be fostered only if teachers are willing to engage their young learners in discussions of politics as part of the curriculum. In this article, the authors discuss ways in which teachers can promote political tolerance and respect during coverage of a presidential election, a high-profile event that social studies educators Mary Haas and Margaret Laughlin describe as "the quintessential example of teaching social studies." Here, the authors also describe instructional strategies designed specifically for the upper elementary grades, although they note ways in which teachers can adapt these strategies for younger learners as well.


The version of record of this article is published in Social Studies and the Young Learner. © 2012 National Council for the Social Studies.

The post-print (post-peer-reviewed) version is posted here with the permission of the publisher and authors.