The Secrets to Ruling School

The Secrets to Ruling School: Class Election

Book Category: Title from children’s choice list
Author: Neil Swaab
Copyright: (2016) New York, NY
Publisher: Amulet Books
Suggested Grade Level: 5-6
Lexile Level: 680L
Accelerated Reader: 5.4
Suggested Delivery: Small Group Read/Independent Read
Common Core State Standard: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.5.2: Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text, including how characters in a story or drama respond to challenges or how the speaker in a poem reflects upon a topic; summarize the text.
Summary: In this sequel to the book The Secrets to Ruling School (Without Even Trying), the author incorporates humor, real-life dilemmas, and a variety of narratives to create a funny, enjoyable, and relatable book for kids. The main character, Max Corrigan, is running for class president and he describes to the middle school-aged reader about just how cool it can be to run for class president, too. He talks about what a competition, a successful campaign, numerous speeches, and winning votes might actually look like for someone his age. He also talks about how important it is to have certain skills and a positive attitude in order to thrive in middle school and be successful.
5 Key Words to Describe the Book: Relatable, Witty, Humorous, Political, Strategic
Electronic Resources:
  1. This website is a blog written by the author himself. He talks about his experience writing the book, why he wrote the book, and additional information that people who may have read the book would like to know more about:
  2. This is the official website of the author. It provides information about the book, such as a summary, a bibliography, reviews from previous readers, and where one may buy the book:
  3. This is a humorous and interactive video that describes what the book is about and grabs the reader’s attention by relating it to his or her own personal life:
Key Vocabulary:
  • Democracy: control of an organization or group by the majority of its members.
  • Election: a formal and organized process of electing or being elected, especially of members of a political body.
  • Informative: providing useful or interesting information.
  • Constituency: a body of voters in a specified area who elect a representative to a legislative body.
  • Expertise: expert skill or knowledge in a particular field.
  • Exemplary: serving as a desirable model; representing the best of its kind.
Teaching Suggestions:
  1. Before, During, After-
Before: Students will brainstorm a list of essential components that a good in-school presidential campaign should have (advertising, speeches, slogans, etc.) They will work in small groups and write their responses on large sheets of paper. After being given about 15 minutes to complete this list, each group will share their ideas with the rest of the class and write down any ideas that they hear from other groups that they may not have had on their lists.
During: Throughout the book, students will identify the different themes that the main character talks about. They will fill out a graphic organizer, identifying each theme and including specific evidence and details to support each theme. This evidence could include dialogue/speech bubbles, quotes, or visuals from the book. An example of this graphic organizer can be found here:

After: Students will get the opportunity to run for class president. The election will take place just in that classroom and it will be open for all of the students in the classroom to participate in. For about a week after the students finish the book, they will be expected to come up with their own presidential campaigns. This may include slogans, advertisements, speeches, and more that demonstrate why they would be the perfect fit for class president. At the end of the week, the class will vote on a class president. The class president will be expected to help the teacher with any classroom tasks or duties as well as help the teacher make important decisions for the classroom for the rest of the school year.
  1. Writing Activity- Students will write their own “How To’s…” They will get to choose the topic to write about. This writing piece should be about 1-2 pages long and it should specifically teach the reader how to do something or provide the reader with essential skills that will help him or her succeed when doing something. The writing piece can include procedure steps, dos and don’ts, visuals, speech bubbles, dialogue, and more. Students are encouraged to use their imagination and write about something that they are good at or know a lot about.
Teacher’s Guide:

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