DIVING INTO THE CONSTITUTION

It’s an important time in your lives, young historians – you could even call it a TURNING POINT.  You have the opportunity to read the 4,543 words of the Constitution – the supreme law of the land.

As you dig into the Constitution using the study guides provided in class, keep in mind that THIS IS DIFFICULT (and a bit tedious)- but worth it. It matters!

 Need help as your dig into the Constitution?

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RATIFICATION! Learning experience for September 17/18

“Probably the most intellectual debate we have ever had in this country” … “nothing less that American big bang” … “the first time in world history anything like that happened” … 

Those are power lines. aren’t they! When the Constitution was written and signed, the debate wasn’t over – FAR FROM IT!  The document was sent to the states for approval, and the discussion became more intense that the one in Philly. We will feel that intensity in our next class – how? MORE ARGUING!

For our next activity, we will look at the conflicting views of the Federalists and Anti-Federalists in regards to ratifying the Constitution.  To prepare …

  • READ “The Ratification Conflict” handout to find out how the Constitution got from Philly to the people (it wasn’t easy).
  • READ “The Federalist Debate” from iCivics, noting the two sides of the debate and their basic background.
  • CHECK OUT some of the information below to begin filling in the views of the Federalists and Anti-Federalists on your comparison page. (This won’t be complete – spend about 10 minutes on this)
  • ANALYZE the two arguments on your Ratification Conflict handout and REPHRASE each into a clear, concise, and powerful statement about the Constitution.  
  • To push your CREATIVITY, turn it into one or two lines from a rap battle. Word.

RESOURCES!

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COOL CONVENTION STUFF FOR REVIEW!

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What an amazing Convention!  The delegates created a document that George Washington termed a miracle – what do you think he meant? Aren’t you dying to know more? Spend some time with the materials below to review the causes, influences and actions of the Framers of the Constitution.  How long, you ask?  That’s up to you – but realize that you will be asked to hit some targets very soon!

You gotta check out GW’s own site on the Convention!

VIDEOS

AWESOME WEBSITES

The Constitutional Convention by Gordon Lloyd and Teaching American History – Pretty much everything you would ever need to know about the Convention.  On a scale of 1-4, Lloyd gets a 6,451.

James Madison and the Constitutional Convention – Madison took a ton of notes at the Convention and later published them so future 8th graders could relive the incredible meeting.  Thanks, James!

GAMES!

BrainPop (yup, from many moons ago) has a timeline game that is pretty solid!

Here’s a board game that covers the creation of the Constitution.

MUSIC!

And, it’s mentioned a little in …

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Preparation for Sep 13/16 – PREPARE FOR THE CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION!

It’s pretty obvious that the young United States needed a new government in 1787, isn’t it?  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 UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION.  

This amazing meeting in Philadelphia will become an integral part of America’s story, and one that we will learn about over the next few activities.  55 men met in the Pennsylvania State House that long, hot summer, creating a framework of government that has lasted (with a few changes) until today – and you will play one of them (actually, parts of many of them)!

In our “Convention”, you will be representing a delegate to the Federal Convention in Philadelphia in 1787.  Your role below is really an amalgamation (ooh, cool word) of the participants in the three-month meeting, and your goal is to represent their opinions, examine the arguments and compromises made at the convention, and understand why the writing of the Constitution has been called “A Miracle in Philadelphia”.

This amazing meeting in Philadelphia will become an integral part of America’s story, and one that we will learn about over the next few activities.  55 men met in the Pennsylvania State House that long, hot summer, creating a framework of government that has lasted (with a few changes) until today.  For our next class, your tasks are …

REVIEW – Go back over your info about the Articles of Confederation – can you hit the target and respond to the essential question “Did the US really need a new government in 1787?” Understand the Mount Vernon Conference, the Annapolis Convention, and Shays’ Rebellion? Have any questions that you need answered?

CONTEXT – To prepare for the Convention, your first task is to find out more about the events and ideas that led to the momentous meeting in the summer of ’87.  Listen to the 11 minute The Road to Philadelphia podcast (you can read it too) to provide CONTEXT and set the stage for the events of the Convention. Your learning target is I can describe the events and issues leading to the Constitutional Convention. This should be done FOR OUR NEXT CLASS. 

CONVENTION PREP – In our next class, we will be experiencing some of the major arguments and debates of the long hot summer in the “City of Brotherly Love”.  You will be in a smaller group, discussing the major arguments of many of the great delegates and then coming to conclusions about the compromises that were made.  To be ready for action, carefully look at the perspectives of your composite delegate (sorta like a Constitutional Frankenstein) so you have a decent idea of the topics of discussion! You should have the perspectives in your own words as well, and understand the basics about each of your positions.  Remember, you are a combination of views. Your learning target is I can describe the events and issues leading to the Constitutional Convention. This should be done FOR YOUR NEXT CLASS.

GET READY FOR THE CONVENTION!!!!!!

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THE FIRST AMERICAN GOVERNMENT – The Articles of Confederation – Learning experience for Sep 9/10

After the DOI was adopted, the new United States needed to make a government – gotta gave a government, right?  The Congress discussed and adopted a form of known as … (drumroll, please)

THE ARTICLES OF CONFEDERATION!

What was this form of government? How did it work? How didn’t it work? That’s our next step, as we answer the essential question “Why was there a need for new government in 1787?

Use the fun fantastic “Articles of Confederation” reading to dive into the AOC. As you read, make sure you use the reading guide handed out in class.  There should be a ton of thinking, but not too much writing!

Want to learn more and add to your notes? (OF COURSE YOUR DO!) Check out …

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SHOW WHAT YOU KNOW – SEPTEMBER 5/6

It’s that time, young historians – time to show what you know!  It’s nothing to stress about – just your first formal chance to let us know what you have learned so far in a few classes of AmStud History! In our classes, we ask you to hit targets – but you have to know the targets to be successful in hitting them, right? So, here they are …

  • I can evaluate the importance of  the government in my life.
  • I can identify, analyze, and summarize the main ideas and important points of the Declaration of Independence.
  • I can discuss the importance of the Declaration of Independence today. (THE BIG IDEAS OF THE DOI)
  • I can communicate clearly and effectively.   

Make sure you know about the social contract! And remember – the Declaration of Independence isn’t a law. What is it?

You will have about 20 minutes in class, and if things don’t go well, you can always reassess … on your time … within two weeks. Let me know if you have any questions!

Need to review the basics of the DOI? Block 7 is here to help:

And, here is what Morgan Freeman said … the real glory of the DOI!

Here’s the whole narration of the doc … Stranger Things, Hank Pym, the Collector, and Mulan are in there!

Is there an extra period in the DOI that could change everything? Take a look …

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THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE – Some home learning about the big doc for Sep 5/6

  • I can summarize the main ideas and important points of The Declaration of Independence
  • I can explain and evaluate the relevance of the Declaration of Independence.

WATCH ME FOR SOME CONTEXT TO THE DECLARATION!

As mentioned in class, the Declaration of Independence is, without a doubt, the greatest artifact in America’s story. It’s the most important document in American history, according to a national poll, we celebrate (in some fashion) every year, and you will see it in a little over . But, it was written 242 years ago … does it still matter today?  Your task for our next class is to dig in to the text of the DOI using the AWESOME “Notice and Note” signposts that you have used in classes before. The instructions and document are shared on Google Docs, and you should have a copy in your GDrive. Wade through the 1,458 words of the document to really analyze the ideas and claims of Thomas Jefferson and the Second Continental Congress. (BROWSE THROUGH THE LONG LIST OF GRIEVANCES – OK?) You can also use this podcast from Colonial Williamsburg to help as you read!

Once you are done, think about what the DOI says, what it means, what it symbolizes, what it stands for, how it relates to you, and then come to our next class class with some ideas about this question –

Does the Declaration of Independence still matter today?


Want to extend your learning? Check out The User’s Guide to the Declaration of Independence  – Founding.com has a great interactive site detailing the political philosophy of the DOI. Check it out!Want some DOI fun?  Check out “Too Late to Apologize” from the folks at Soomo Publishing- the lyrics are available as well! (As a history teacher, I think I am required to show you this.)

If you are a football fan, check this out !  You can also check out 9 Things You May Not Know About the Declaration of Independence and What you might not know about the Declaration of Independence from one of my fave history guys, Kenneth C. Davis.

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TAKE THE 24 HOUR GOVERNMENT CHALLENGE for Sep 3/4

TARGET – I can evaluate the government’s impact on my life.

Yeah, yeah, this is a history class … but it’s also a civics class, because you can’t learn about America’s story without looking at the role of the government.  Why do we need a government? It’s a simple question, isn’t it?  That’s the key query as we start the school year by checking out the growth of our system of rule in the good old US of A.  How do you begin?

ACCEPT THE 24 HOUR GOVERNMENT CHALLENGE!

Think about your life for (almost) 24 hours – from wake up to wake up, or from dinner to dinner, or from loving history to loving history (that’s all the time, right?) List every way the government has an effect on your average everyday life.  Be creative, use detailed bullet points on your handout, spend 5-10 minutes talking about it with your parents, brainstorm with a friend … you may win the challenge with the most (and most creative) examples.

Also – post AT LEAST ONE example on the bulletin board for your class below … but you can’t repeat anyone else’s post! (You should be able to hit the plus button on the bottom right to post.)

Section 1 – How does the government affect me?
Section 2 – How does the government affect me?
Section 5 – How does the government affect me?
Section 6 – How does the government affect me?
Section 7 – How does the government affect me?

NEXT, check out some more theoretical explanations about government by checking out the following reading from iCivics about two famous philosopher-dudes, Thomas Hobbes and John Locke. As you do, come up with a definition of the SOCIAL CONTRACT – in your head, on paper, on your laptop, on the back of your hand … your choice!

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Your chapter in America’s Story – A POP UP MUSUEM!

TARGET – I can clearly represent and present my American story in oral and written form. 

I was first exposed to the concept of the pop-up museum at the NCSS conference in Boston in 2014. As I sat in a great presentation by Melissa Nies and Michelle DelCarlo, it became quickly apparent that this was something that would be a great opener for our examination of America’s story – I even tweeted the idea that day in November!

The concept of a pop-up museum  is exactly what it sounds like – A collection of artifacts that are brought impromptu to a location, leading to a museum that “pops up” where there was not one before. On Thursday and Friday, our Pop Up Museum  will be devoted to the idea of the America’s story. I would like you to bring in some sort of artifact or a mini exhibit that represents your American story, your family’s American story, or part of the American story that is important to you.  You can have a picture, an object, a document, or a combination of all of them! You should also have a written (typed) interpretation of your artifact, no bigger than one side of a page. Your goal in your pop up exhibit is to represent and explain something that helps tell your American story, and/or your vision of America’s story.  

You will be presenting your artifact in a gallery walk, and collectively we will see and discuss an incredible array of personal connections to America’s story!

There is no need for a huge elaborate display – the artifact(s) and a printed summary is fine. Want to see an example? Check out Taft’s historical artifacts.

Your parents are invited – so be prepared to tell your story!

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YOUNG HISTORIANS – WELCOME TO AHR!

Welcome back, Historicats! I hope you are ready for an awesome year in American history – one full of challenge, inquiry, investigation, and fun. As we open the school year, I’d like fo all of you to make sure you have completed your summer reading choice novel on military service and submit your review on this form.

all of you to make sure you have completed your summer reading choice novel on military service and submit your review on this form.

Also, if you have the chance before we get back in the swing of things, please take some time to tell your 8th grade teachers about YOU with this student interest survey. I promise – it’s painless.

I can’t wait to see you back at USM. It’s gonna be a great year … I promise!

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