As the “occupy” movement enters its eighth week, it has become nearly impossible to escape reports about the protestors and their dissatisfaction. Free speech is a right that we hold dear in this country, and we’ve all been witness to its influence as demonstrators have occupied Wall Street and city centers around the country. Perhaps as teachers and administrators you’ve even addressed it with your students in class.

Today is Election Day 2011, and it brings with it a different opportunity for citizens to have their voice heard. While odd-numbered years don’t typically carry the same level of excitement (no federal offices are up for election), it is still a great way to teach our students about democracy. And one could argue that as a voter, your vote has more influence at the state and local level.

What better way to demonstrate democracy in action than to get out, vote, and show up for class with an “I voted!” sticker? It could spark a conversation in class and inspire your students to “occupy” the voting booth after they turn 18.