Constitution Day

Constitution Day

To be observed on September 15th, 2017


The Windham School District will be observing the 230th anniversary of the US Constitution on Friday, September 15th.  Individual grade level plans for the day can be found below.  Students generally are exposed to developmentally appropriate opportunities to engage with the actual document, which at the elementary level and intermediate levels includes the Bill of Rights and Preamble and in grades 8- 12th the students is the full text of the US Constitution.  


The district finds continues to find Constitution Day a great opportunity to highlight that civics instruction is alive and well in the Windham School District.  At a time when many, including U.S. Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter, cite “the pervasive ignorance of the Constitution of the United States and the structure of government,” the Social Studies curriculum in the Windham School District aims to combat this national trend.

Students are first exposed to the ideas of government in the elementary grades and then again in their American History courses in 8th and 10th grade.  In addition, all WHS students are required to take a Civics course prior to graduation.  Political Science, Practical Law, and AP Government fulfill the Civics requirement.  Each of these courses provides students a thorough exposure to the Constitution by going through each article and section of the Constitution, as well as analyzing the major principles of the document.  


The US Constitution was designed to be, and continues to be, the supreme law of the land.  The authority to establish the Constitution comes from the people as reflected in the opening statement of the Preamble, “We the people…”  Embedded in the document are the fundamental principles of US government: popular sovereignty, limited government, separation of powers, checks and balances, federalism, republicanism, and individual rights.  In addition, the first 10 amendments to the Constitution are known as the Bill of Rights, which were added to guarantee and protect the existing rights and liberties of the people from governmental interferences


Resources

Interactive text: http://constitutioncenter.org/constitution

Short videos and lessons plans: http://constitutioncenter.org/learn/civic-calendar/constitution-day-civic-holiday




Grade Level Specific Plans


Kindergarten

We create a Constitution Day book and complete a coloring activity.  The teachers do various things with the coloring activity.  A majority of them turn it into headbands that the children wear home.


The book ties into standards,

LS.K.1(H) Identify and describe the events or people celebrated during United states national holidays and why we celebrate them.

RLK.1 With prompting and support , ask and answer questions about key detail in a text.


The coloring/headband ties in to,

LS.K.1(H)


  • A grade-appropriate video to be viewed on SMARTBoard related to the meaning of Constitution Day

  • Students will create a Constitution Day book


1st Grade –

  • Students will get an overview of the Constitution learn that the Constitution is a set of rules that the country lives by.

  • Students will understand that Constitution Day celebrates the creation of this document

  • A School House Rock video will be shown regarding the Preamble

  • Students will create a “classroom Constitution”


2nd Grade –

  • Activities will include:

    • Creation of classroom Constitutions

    • Readings, timelines, home-school Constitution activity

    • Students will learn about the Constitution and why it was written

    • Students will write four reasons the Constitution is important


3rd Grade –

  • Students will discuss and write about the different parts of the document using a graphic organizer

  • Activities will include:
    • Reading about the development of the Constitution and the parts of the document
    • Watch the School House Rock preambled video
    • Read "We the Kids" and discuss key vocabulary from the preamble and what they mean
    • Graphic organizer of the different parts of the document outlining what each part does
    • Creating a classroom constitution together as a class


4
th Grade –


  • Students will learn about the Constitution by:

    • Discussing the Constitution's parts
    • Making connections regarding the Constitution and life today
    • Watching BrainPop Constitution video

  • Students will use a graphic organizer to write about the Constitution in an essay “What the Constitution Means to Me.”

    • Students will plan an introduction that includes the thesis: "What the Constitution Means to Me."
    • Students will select three parts of the Constitution and make personal connections to their life for each of the three parts
    • Students plan a conclusion as part of the graphic organizer
  • Students make a classroom constitution that is signed by all members taking part in the creation


5th Grade –

  • Freedom of Speech (lesson/debate and prompt)

    • Students will read about the Bill of Rights and Constitution in their textbook (206-208)
    • Students will then discuss/debate: "Do you believe that freedom of speech is beneficial to our society or is it detrimental?" The teacher will ask the students to choose a side as part of a movement debate
    • Students will then use a graphic organizer to plan their arguments and reasons/support
    • Discuss "hooks", create their own hook, and complete a rough draft that includes a concluding sentence
    • Students will revise and edit using the Lucy Calkins checklist, type their final draft (if Chromebooks are available)


6th Grade –


  • Students will watch School House Rocks about the Preamble.

  • Students will have an opportunity to ask questions about  the Preamble of the Constitution and name 6 duties that the US Government provides under the Constitution


7th Grade –

  • Class starts with a journal question: What are some of the freedoms we have as Americans? The class will discuss responses.

  • Students will view a film clip on the Bill of Rights

  • Students will then be put in different scenarios and would have to decide if the scenario was or was not in violation of any amendments.

    • For example: Can law enforcement show up at your house, walk in, and start searching? Which amendment covers this?

  • Students will have an opportunity to ask questions and discuss topics related to the Constitution.


8th Grade –

  • Students will have the opportunity to engage with the full-text, interactive Constitution available from the National Constitution Center. They will have the opportunity to discuss and ask questions.

  • Students will view a video on the first amendment (“Freedom of Expression”) produced by the National Constitution center



9th – 12th Grade – WHS will hold an extended advisory during which time students will be provided with the full text of the Constitution and then play an interactive jeopardy game based on the text.


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