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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You have your first test on Monday, September 22, during Community Time. Here is a comprehensive review guide - I will add more review tools to it as the week goes on (and if you make a tool, let me know!)   Have fun with it!


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The Convention is Coming! September 11/12

Our Philly style home away from home for a few months in 1787

The day is nearly upon us, delegates, as we begin our face-to-face discussion  in order to “revise the Articles of Confederation”during our next class.  Listen to “The Eve of the Convention” podcast from George Washington to set the stage for our next meeting’s action - because we will continue our debate.   On your page on your Section 1 Social Network / Section 2 Social Network / Section 3 Social Network / Section 4 Social Network / Section 5 Social Network, keep working on your profile (using this ProfileQuestions document), making sure you are prepared to go when the convention commences. PRINT OUT YOUR PROFILE QUESTIONS AS WELL!  Two discussion questions are posted on the forum, and a complete response to those is also expected.

You should also be finishing the other preparation materials for the Convention – Influencing the Framers voicethread and the “Influencing the Framers” notetaking sheet DOC PDF and the government vocabulary. Both should be done when we meet again.

Want some Constitutional fun?  Why not hang out with the delegates as you search for Mr. Madison’s notes! Or, you can also check out the layout of Philly in 1787, in case you get lost on your way to and from Convention! Or, you can discover which founder your are like the most! Good times in Philly, delegates!


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Join the Convention Social Network! September 9/10

Welcome to the beautiful (and hot) city of Philadelphia, fellow delegates! Your state has chosen you as a representative to the Federal Convention in Philadelphia, where the top minds in the young United States will meet “for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation”. You will play the role of one of the 55 men who attended, so you need to prepare by reviewing your biography, reading about the background of the convention, finding out about the influences of the “Framers”, and getting a solid grasp on some basic government vocabulary. We will set up your profile on the Convention social network today, and then you can get going on your profile questions, images, blogs, interaction, and anything else!

You are certainly tired for your strenuous journey to the City of Brotherly Love, but there is much work to do … so let’s get moving, gentlemen!  Your first task is to sign on to your section’s Constitutional Convention Social Network.  Click your link below, and follow General Washington’s instructions carefully.

Section 1 Social Network / Section 2 Social Network / Section 3 Social Network / Section 4 Social Network / Section 5 Social Network /

Profile Questions – Use this ProfileQuestions document to type and print them, and make sure the info appears in your own profile – your role sheet is key, and these links will help greatly

 Influencing the Framers voicethread and the “Influencing the Framers” notetaking sheet DOC PDF - This should be completed by the opening of the Conevention, but it will be collected at any time by General Washington

Convention government vocabulary quiz, with your name and printed out – it’s easy, and you can study from these terms without a problem!  Complete it until you get them all correct.


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The Calling of the Convention – Assignment September 5/8

It’s pretty obvious that the young United States needed a new government in 1787, isn’t it? (If not please review the AOC reading and notes again!)  After a few smaller meetings took place to set the stage, a meeting of members of all (almost all) 13 states was scheduled for May of 1787 in beautiful Philadelphia.  The resulting document will be the longest lasting written form of government still in use today – the US Constitution.  

You will be one of the 55 men that met in the Pennsylvania State House that long, hot summer, and you received your role today.  For next class, your task is to listen to The Calling of the Convention podcast, check out the Life in 1787 handout, and carefully read over the role handed out in class.  You will have to become this person, so the more you know, the better.  You will be participating in a social network as your delegate, and you will need to know your opinions on the following issues – the power of the national government, how states should be represented in the national government, the size of the national executive, should slavery remain in the young nation, who should vote for members of the legislative and executive branches, and more!

Use the resource for your delegate below to dig in more – you will need to consult this resource next week as you prepare!

From ABC-CLIOS’s awesome collection on the Constitutional Convention – your individual delegate is a must read!

Wilson / Madison / Langdon / King / Hamilton

Gerry / Franklin / Dickinson / Baldwin / Williamson

Sherman / Rutledge / Randolph / Pinckney / Paterson

Morris / Mason / Bedford / Ellsworth / Johnson / Carroll

You can also check out The Constitutional Convention from Teaching American - An amazing site about everything from the Philly Convention, including The Constitutional Convention as a Four Act Drama, an attendance record, and Names, Ages, Education, Experiences and Biographies of the Delegates.

The Interactive Scene at the Signing of the Constitution of the United States is awesome too!

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Review the Articles of Confederation and Shays Rebellion … it’s fun!

Want more info about the first government of the United States?  Take a look at some of the following videos to help you out with the AOC and Shays’ Rebellion:

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The First American Government – September 3/4 Assignment

Just think … as a citizen in the young United States, you probably had a lot of questions, such as … How will we defeat the British and win this war?  Who is in charge of this new country?  What will happen if people want to move to the West?  What is the story with our economy?  Why is our money worthless? Why does everyone smell so bad? The last questions was a simple challenge with hygiene, but the first four queries can all be answered by looking at the government – the NATIONAL government.

Your task is to read the story of the first American government – the Articles of Confederation – by downloading the iBook or the PDF (of try this PDF).  Use the The First American Government Reading Guide to examine the first national system of rule and  set the stage for our second essential question – Why was there a need for a new government in 1787? Make sure you review your reading guide after you are done and write down any questions you may have – that’s how citizens learn, right?

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September 3/4 in class – CONTEXT FOR THE DOI!

Hey young historians – take this quick reflection survey concerning your DOI preactivity!

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The Importance of the Declaration of Independence

The story of the Declaration of Independence sure was fascinating, wasn’t it?  And the breakup letter – wow!  What’s the big deal about the DOI?  Watch the short voicethread and read the excerpt from Gilder Lehrman below … and add to your notes.


No American document has had a greater global impact than the Declaration of Independence. It has been fundamental to American history longer than any other text because it was the first to use the name “the United States of America”: in this sense, the Declaration was the birth certificate of the American nation. It enshrined what came to be seen as the most succinct and memorable statement of the ideals on which that nation was founded: the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; the consent of the governed; and resistance to tyranny. And, as the first successful declaration of independence in world history, its example helped to inspire countless movements for independence, self-determination, and revolution after 1776. One of its most enthusiastic admirers was the nineteenth-century Hungarian nationalist, Lajos Kossuth: for him, the Declaration was nothing less than “the noblest, happiest page in mankind’s history.”

from “The Declaration of Independence in Global Perspective” by David Armitage
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