Today’s lunchtime just so happened to coincide with the tallying of the American presidential election results. I, being a young American, was riveted. I found a section of the Huffington Post’s mobile website with constantly updating election results and had it in my phone’s browser.
At first, the smart, talkative kids in class fought over what table I’d sit at for the meal. Then, after about ten refreshes of my phone’s browser window, they asked what the big red and blue numbers were. I said it was election day and that the blue number was Obama’s points and the red number was a man named…. I didn’t have to finish. One girl knew right off it was an indicator of Romney’s points. She knew his name and the context. Go little 3rd grade Japanese girl!
Suddenly it was a game. As the electoral college numbers for the central and mountain states trickled in over the half hour lunch, some of the kids were cheering for Obama, whom they liked because they had heard of. The others were cheering for Romney, because being 3rd graders, they’d known Obama since kindergarten and were ready for something randomly new. Apparently. Each new number meant an announcement across the room. “200 points! He’s losing! He’s LOSING!” And, when one kid asked me what those points meant I told him his was related to the number of people in each state and showed him a map with the number of electoral college votes printed on each state.
I told them all to watch the news that afternoon with mom and dad to find out who won. I was quite pleased when Obama got it. I absentee ballot voted for him ages ago. I was also quite pleased when the kids used their target language during the lunch: One child told me that, “I like chicken. And, I like eggs. And, I like pan (bread). And, I like apple.” They get it! They really get it!