TeachersFirst's Constitution Day Resources
This collection of reviewed resources from TeachersFirst is selected to help teachers and students learn about the United States Constitution and to plan projects and classroom activities so students can experience the Constitution as a "living document." Whether you spend one class in celebration of Constitution Day or an entire unit on the Constitution, the ideas included in the "In the Classroom" portion of reviews will launch discussions and projects your students will not forget.
Grades7 to 12
In the ClassroomInclude this interactive with any lessons on constitutional rights or when studying different nations. Create a Padlet, reviewed here, for your class to add and comment on constitutional rights around the world. Create columns on your Padlet by country or specific rights, then ask students to share information and articles detailing information on that right. Use an online news site like World News, reviewed here, for students to find news from around the world and search by regions. Challenge computer-savvy students to create a game using Scratch, reviewed here, that takes players around the world to learn about rights and freedoms found in different nations. Ask other students to create podcasts discussing current events and freedoms from around the world. Buzzsprout, reviewed here, is an excellent podcast creation tool and includes features for adding links and lists to shows, and allows users to schedule podcast releases for specific dates and times.
Grades5 to 12
In the ClassroomDemonstrate the basic concepts of the challenge on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Then allow students to play on their own on the whiteboard or classroom computers, keeping a log of their actions and results. Enhance learning by having students share interactions from the game in comic form using ToonyTool, reviewed here. Ask students to use ToonyTool to create a conversation with the game's character trying to persuade an anti-Federalist or another opponent on the virtues of the Constitution. Use the game as inspiration for students to extend their learning by creating their own history game using Scratch, reviewed here. For ideas and inspiration, use the search feature in Scratch to find examples of history games created by other users.
Grades7 to 12
tag(s): 1800s (55), 1900s (48), american revolution (87), civil rights (133), civil war (150), cold war (31), constitution (92), elections (71), great depression (29), russia (37), terrorism (46), world war 1 (57), world war 2 (145)
In the ClassroomAlthough it appears simple, this document is an excellent resource to bookmark for anyone who teaches American History. Print and save this document to focus on essential questions as you plan your lessons. Consider using an online platform like Actively Learn , reviewed here, to find and share quality lessons and learning activities with your students as they relate to these essential questions. To enhance learning and classroom technology, ask students to respond to questions found on this list by creating a website using Jimdo, reviewed here, and include their response along with supporting material including documents, videos, and more. Ask individual students or groups to modify technology use by creating a timeline of events using Timeline JS, reviewed here, to visualize and document events based on the essential questions. For example, if answering "Was the Great Depression inevitable?" ask students to build a timeline including important causes including World War 1, bank failures, the Dust Bowl, and more to demonstrate the many causes of the Great Depression.
Grades8 to 12
In the ClassroomTake advantage of these free resources and activities to use in your social studies classroom when teaching about the U.S. Constitution. Instead of asking students to take individual notes throughout your lessons, take advantage of Google documents to create shared notes. Ask students to highlight and annotate important information shared. Use Wakelet, reviewed here to create "wakes" for students to organize information. Add websites, documents, videos, and more to any wake for students to access information in one site. As a final project, challenge students to use a video explanation tool like Rawshorts, reviewed here to share the background and information learned about Supreme Court cases and decisions.
Grades5 to 12
In the ClassroomInclude this game with any lessons on the Bill of Rights. Challenge students to compete against each other and move up through the different levels of difficulty. Include the site with your other resources on a bookmarking site like SearchTeam, reviewed here. SearchTeam includes the option to add and share notes with bookmarks, add teaching notes for your future use or if sharing with students, ask them to add tips into the comments section. Upon completion of your unit, enhance learning by having students create animated videos using Powtoon, reviewed here, to share their understanding of the Bill of Rights.
Grades6 to 8
tag(s): black history (73), civil rights (133), constitution (92), democracy (16), elections (71), freedom of speech (12), immigrants (25), immigration (65), media literacy (86), politics (103), Research (31), world war 2 (145)
In the ClassroomTake advantage of the free materials on this site to encourage debate and discussion within your current civics lessons. Each lesson includes primary sources to use when responding to prompts; ask students to find and share additional primary sources to include with their response to each question. Instead of just creating a list of additional resources, enhance student learning and classroom technology use by sharing additional resources using Padlet, reviewed here. Padlet offers features for adding comments; ask students to use this feature to indicate important information found on the document. Enhance learning further by finding and sharing videos that support the topic being discussed. Use EdPuzzle, reviewed here, to add comments and question prompts for students. Upon completion of student projects, have them share their thoughts through a podcast featuring students' challenge solutions. Be sure to include a group of students in each podcast featuring various points of view and their backup documentation.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomInclude this site with any lessons on the Constitution. Share on your interactive whiteboard to help students understand the meaning behind each article and amendment. Take your research into the Constitution a step further and have students compile bookmarks containing videos and online articles to use for research. Surfmark, reviewed here, is a bookmarking tool that allows students to collaborate through annotations and highlighting of text. It also has a browser bookmarklet to add to your toolbar for easy use. Have students or student groups create explainer videos to tell the history of the Constitution or explain articles or amendments. Modify classroom technology use by using a tool like Raw Shorts, reviewed here, to create animated short videos.
Grades8 to 12
In the ClassroomWas the U.S. at war? What powers does the U.S. President have to declare war, and how have Presidents used those powers historically? A powerful, but simple infographic delineates the legal and Constitutional differences among U.S. wars historically. Share the infographic on an interactive whiteboard, or embed on your classroom website for reference.
Grades7 to 12
In the ClassroomNeed a quick lesson starter or attention grabber at the beginning or end of each class? Try a 60-second Civics lesson. If you access the day's podcast via the website, you'll also find a one-question multiple choice quiz that relates to the podcast so you can check for content acquisition. These podcasts are perfect for a civics or government class! Share the podcasts on your projector (or interactive whiteboard) so the entire class can hear the podcast and see the quiz at the end. If you are the adviser for the school news program, these would be a terrific addition, ready to go for you every day. During the run-up to Consitution Day in September, include these in the morning PA announcements. Load the podcast on iTouches or other mobile devices in the media center for students to browse and learn. Encourage students to create their own "stump the teacher" or "stump the student citizen" quizzes based on these podcasts. Use one of the many poll/quiz tools in the TeachersFirst Edge.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomEncourage students to select independent reading from this list as part of a citizenship unit, as a focus for Constitution Day, or in a civics/government class.
Grades5 to 12
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In the ClassroomShare this site with students as a resource for reading and viewing the Constitution. Challenge students to develop a fake social media presence about one of the founding fathers using Fakebook, reviewed here, or the Twitter Fictional Account Template, reviewed here. This is a great resource for Constitution Day!
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomToday's Document would make a fantastic discussion starter in any classroom. It is an interesting, visual way for students to acquire background knowledge about American history and/or the Constitution and government. You may want to display a document on your interactive whiteboard as a bell-ringer (opener) activity, or as a story starter in English class. Cover up the cartoon explanation, and ask students to discuss events that they think took place. In U.S.history, government, or civics classes, use the site as an example, then challenge students to create their own comics to explain a topic using comic-creation tools from this TeachersFirst collection.
Grades6 to 12
tag(s): constitution (92)
In the ClassroomA great resource for the interactive whiteboard or projector, although be aware that you may need to disable your pop-up blocker to get the information to display properly. Challenge students to find other paintings depicting famous events in United States (or another country). Have cooperative learning groups create multimedia presentation about the paintings. Create fictitious blog entries from one character in a painting to another character within another painting at another famous event. What would John F. Kennedy write to Benjamin Franklin?
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomUse this site to help students explore the branches of government in action as they address a "hot topic." Have groups of students listen to real broadcasts and analyze the issues as examples of the constitutional concepts you are studying. Make this link available from your teacher web page while studying the Constitution, the branches of government, and many other social studies topics. Use your interactive whiteboard or projection screen to share a video or audio clip to spark discussion on an issue or activate your lesson. Then, divide your class into teams and have a class debate about the issue. Have students prepare a pro/con wiki using links to the primary sources to support their position or create their own podcast commentaries with support for their opinions.
Too many resources to even summarize. I can't wait to share this resource. CONSTITUTION ON SEPT. 17.Patricia, NJ, Grades: 6 - 12
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomUse the lesson plan suggestions to meet the mandate for instruction on Constitution Day, but be sure and check out the other resources for lessons on civics, government, current events and the Constitution itself. The section called "Dialogues" provides resources to engage students and community members in discussion of fundamental American legal principles and civic traditions.
Grades9 to 12
In the ClassroomThese lessons would be useful on an interactive whiteboard or projector along with a unit on the Supreme Court or the US judicial system. Students might also use them to to extend or enrich the topic on their own time, or when they have completed other classwork. They are well researched and informative, however, most students won't view them as "games" as they are labeled. Have cooperative learning groups investigate one specific topic and share their discoveries with the class. Challenge students to create a video using Powtoon, reviewed here, and it share using a site such as SchoolTube, reviewed here.
Grades5 to 10
In the ClassroomThis site is great way to review the amendments of the US Constitution. Using an interactive whiteboard or projector, complete one case as a whole group so students can see how the interactive should work. Use the provided handouts so students can take notes as you are working through the case. When it is time for students to work independently, make a shortcut to this site on classroom computers and use it as a center. Divide students into cooperative learning groups to explore the site. Afterward have a discussion or have students journal using the provided discussion questions. Why not create a "Argument Wars Wiki" to discuss the cases. Not comfortable with wikis? Have no wiki worries - check out the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through. This site does not have a save feature so students have to complete the entire activity to see if they've won. For students that need more of a challenge, assign them Gideon v. Wainwright. Students have to examine two arguments which makes it more challenging.
Grades5 to 10
In the ClassroomThis site is great way to review the amendments of the US Constitution. Make a shortcut to this site on classroom computers and use it as a center. Divide students into cooperative learning groups to explore the site. Working in groups have a class competition to see who can win the most cases and achieve the most prestige points. Afterward, have a discussion about the process each group used to build their law firm. This site does not have a save feature so the teacher should set a duration for play. Built in help makes this site useful for students who might need some additional guidance. Use the final score printout to assign your students a grade.
To fully involve students in their "law firm," have them create a firm logo and "shingle" using an online graphics tool such as Supalogo, reviewed here. Print the logos for classroom decorations or have students upload them to law firm pages on on your class wiki.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): bill of rights (26)