September 29/30 – The Electoral College

You read about the roles of the President and saw all of the benefits the President receives … but how does a person get that job with the cool White House? The Electoral College, of course – one of the most confusing parts of the American political system.  The system is set up in Article II of the Constitution (you read about it, right?), and we will examine it in detail in or next class.  To prepare …

Check out the road to the White House using the Road to the White House in Five Minutes infographic and the How to Become President of the United States Poster.  These should give you an idea of how someone “throws the hat into the ring” and becomes a candidate for the Presidency. Once you get the idea, move to the next step!

Now, front-load your brain on the Electoral College by taking some notes (Electoral College Notes) about the Electoral College using the sweet voice thread below or at this link, past and present.  Come up with some questions along the way and post them on this chat (with your name)!   We will apply this prodigious knowledge in class tomorrow, so please be prepared!

Play Win the White House from iCivics or more Electoral College fun … and you can also use some of the sites below to get a better understanding of the Electoral College.

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In class September 29/30 – The Hats of the President … and more

What exactly does the President do? Now that you know the roles or “hats” of the President, lets see if you can apply your knowledge.  Check out the 7 Hat Challenge from Scholastic for about five minutes – see how many you get right!


You can also check out Executive Command from iCivics – the Presidency is s tough job!



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Assignment September 25/26 – Lets get Legislative (and moving to Executive)

Constitutional scholars, hopefully you are finding the reading of the fabled law of the land both enlightening and engaging!  Keep going on it, pushing your self to spend 40 or so minutes before next class finishing Article I  and starting the second packet, which is Article II and beyond.  Here’s the whole study guide, and make sure you use those great online Constitutions or Constitution apps for assistance!

We will move to the Executive Branch next week – you know, the guy that lives in the big White House in D.C.  Want to start to have some fun? Play one four-year term of  Executive Command – it will give you an idea of all that the President has to do!  If you want a couple of Executive Branch links,  you came to the right place …

Like trivia?  Try out Taft’s Presidential Trivia #1?  Good times (and extra credit) learning about the Chief Executives!

Finally, you should start combing the news for The Constitution in Action.  You will need to find some current event that link to our study of the Constitution to prove that this document is still a force to be reckoned with!

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Let’s get going on the Constitution! Article I – The Legislative Branch

Young historians – it’s time to dig into the Constitution!  As we read through the awesome document, you may want to utilize one of the many the interactive online Constitutions as a guide.  I encourage it, especially if you get stuck!  We will begin with the legislative branch – Congress. Your first task is to start reading Article I, getting as far as you can for our next class.  My thoughts? Spend 20 minutes the night you get it and 20 minutes the next night … and we will see how far you go.

If you want to see a little bit of Congress in action, play LawCraft, a fun legislation game from! Love those government games …

Want to find out even more?  Of course!  Check out …

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Federalism .. or should it be called Funfederalism?

Get it?  Federalism is so fun, that it should be called Funfedere … all right, I will stop. Hopefully you get the idea of Federalism from today’s activity.  Want to review or learn more? Check out Federalism from or checkout Federal Powers Man from Ignite Media  below for a refresher.

Want to play a game? Try out Power Play from iCivics, and see if you can solve the challenge!

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Assignment due September 23/24 – The Basic Principles

Now, it’s time to dive into the backbone of the Constitution – the seven basic principles.  Your task involves using the Constitution Handbook from Creating America to describe the principles on the “Basic Principles” handout DOC PDF from last class. Think about how you could act out the principles – you will use this information in your next class  – and don’t worry about the back!  This should take about 15 minutes.  


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Over the weekend – get ready for the first test!

Hopefully you are all ready for the  first test of the year, young Constitutional scholars.  You should review some more this weekend, making sure you use the online review guide to study more of what you don’t know.  I also made this little reviewcast a few years ago - it may help you study, OR if you can’t sleep it may make you snooze.

 I will be online on Sunday evening at 7:30 if you have any last minute questions … I hope it helps.  This should be the final part of your review – not the start.

Make sure you get a good night’s sleep on Sunday, eat a yummy breakfast and filling lunch on Monday, and come to community time confident that you will do a great job!

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Class September 19/22 – Hello, Constitution

It’s a lucky time in your lives, young historians – time to read and analyze the original US Constitution!  You will have a detailed study guide that will take you though the seven articles of the fabled document, and a separate assignment for the Bill of Rights – but not yet!

How will we begin?  By viewing a voicethread about the structure of the Constitution  and diving into the Preamble.  Begin by checking out the basics of the Constitution using the presentation below and recording some simple notes on your Structure of the Constitution document DOC PDF.  This should give you a great overview of the document … and it’s pretty easy! Note the cool Constitutional quotes along the side of the notes – great stuff!  Pick your favorite!

Then, it’s time to dive into the Preamble of the Constitution.  These goals set the stage for the United States government, and also make a fun little Schoolhouse Rock jingle.  Complete the Preamble assignment, including a little desert island fun. And if you want. do a little Preamble Scramble.

For my favorite English teacher next door …



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The end of our Constitutional study … or just the beginning? September 17/18

Young constitutional historians, I hope you now have a firm grasp of the events of the Constitutional convention, the process of ratification, and how the Constitution responded to many of the challenges that were present under the articles of Confederation. If you need any other support, you can utilize the resources on the review guide to review and strengthen your understanding of the foundation of our government and the key component in America story.

Our next major challenge in class is to dive into the over 200-year-old document and understand exactly what it means and how it sets the foundation for our government. You also see how the amendments to the Constitution both protect and limits our rights as we live as citizens in the United States.

But before that… We are going to have a little test on Monday during community time. In order to help you prepare for the first test and actually force you to get going with preparation,  you have a review assignment – A Miracle in Philadelphia 2014 - that is due in your next class meeting. This review assignment is an INDIVIDUAL ASSIGNMENT and will be evaluated and count as a grade. You should work on this assignment in order to begin the review process and identify what you know and what you’re struggling with. All of the information should be able to be found in your notes and the resources we have utilized in class. The assignment is due in your next class – however, if you do not have class till Monday, I will gladly accept the assignment on Friday and evaluate it and get it back to you before you leave for the weekend. Hopefully that would help you greatly in the review process.

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The Convention Concludes – September 15/16

Delegates, we have discussed many of the major issues facing our young nation – federalism, the representation of the states, the chief executive, and the institution of slavery – and while we may have one or two more items still on our agenda, it is time for us to close the Convention (and the social network).  We will debate the last few items (if necessary) and find out what happened on September 17th – Constitution Day! You have a checklist on the back of your notes, so make sure you have made those final entries, including the last Forum Discussion about the resulting Constitution. Also, please complete the Convention Social Network feedback form – thanks!

Our next step? Ratification, or the process of approving the Constitution. As you will find out, it will take 9 out of 13 states to approve the Constitution before it becomes the law of the land, and that won’t be an easy task. You have dropped your delegate hat, and now you are a Federalist (supporter)DOC PDF or Antifederalist (opponent) DOC PDF of the Constitution.  How do you prepare for tomorrow?  Carefully read your homework handout on “The Ratification Conflict” and then spend 15-20 minutes looking at the variousRatification conflict links.  You should be searching for arguments for your side and filling in that column in your notes DOC PDF.  Of course, you can start to fill in the other side if you want.  You will have to speak in class tomorrow, so make sure you have something to say!

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