This year, the Constitution is 226 years young. What a great opportunity for educators to discuss civic responsibility, rights and privileges, and other freedoms afforded by this document. This special day was designated by Congress on December 8, 2004.
The mandate for this Public Law states that U.S. educators at every level (pre-K through college) and every discipline, stop and take a few minutes of their class time on the 17th to discuss this incredible document with their students.
If you would like some assistance in locating applicable materials to share with your students, I direct you to the following sources:
What resources will you use to discuss the Constitution with your students on September 17th?
Thank you for reminding me about Constitution Day. I think I'll share some paintings showing the signing of the Constitution and hold a class discussion on the rights it guarantees each American. I will then have my students work in small groups to design a poster that shows how those freedoms affect their lives. We can showcase them in the hallway where parents enter.
We will plan to read aloud the Constitution and critically discuss the language used by the writers. Students will debate these questions:
We simply stand on two sides of the room, depending on the position each students wants to take. We shift sides as students select a side for each debate. Gets students up and moving and standing seems to create a more lively discussion.
Wordle is an interactive tool I've used in the past that would be a way for a teacher to create and present vocabulary for Constitution activities; or for students as a "ticket out the door" activity. With Wordle, students create a word cloud.
Another site, Tagxedo, is similar to Wordle, but students have more editing choices and the clouds are 'more attractive'.
I was listening to one of Thinkfinity's webinars, "Getting Past the Glitz: Choosing Apps that Support Instruction" and tried a suggested modified search technique. I located this free resource in iTunes for those folks who are iPod or iPad users: Constitution for iPad.
EDSITEment has a minisite for Constitution Day which includes over 30 lesson plans on different aspects of the origins, structure and signficance of the Constitution.
For those who want to read the Constitution with their students we have a work sheet
For those who want to look at the Constitution in relation to slavery and emancipation, we offer
I especially love EDSITEment's Frederick Douglass launchpad, which is included on their Constitution Day page.
The Library of Congress also has a number of great resources for Constitution Day, all rounded up here:
Students can analyze George Washington's annotations of an early draft of the Constitution, as well as exploring the ideas that influenced the final document.
Teachers can also take a close-up look at the legislative process using the Library's new source for legislative information:
The short videos describing the legislative process have been getting rave reviews--I like them even more than Schoolhouse Rock!
The Library of Congress
We just posted our latest blog entry on Closer Readings: Seven Ways to Teach the U.S. Constitution. Something for everybody.
Another site that offers a quick guide to the Constitution and additional links is from File Right--a site designed to empower immigrants. Take a look at A Quick and Easy Guide to the United States Constitution.
Do you have suggestions for using this resource in your classroom instruction?