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 – but worth it. It matters!

 Need help as your dig into the Constitution?

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RATIFICATION!

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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.  Read the overview of ratification handed out in class, and then make sure you understand your perspective (also handed out). Want some more info on the ratification process and get a start on both sides of the debate?  Check out ..

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CREATING THE CONSTITUTION – Hit the Targets!

How will you show your understanding of the creation of the Constitution?  Any way you want … as long as you hit the targets!  It’s up to you!

Want some more info on the ratification process?  Check out ..

 

 

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COOL CONVENTION STUFF FOR REVIEW!

Untitled design

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!

MUSIC!

And, it’s mentioned a little in …

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Learning Experience September 12/13 – Preparing for the CONVENTION!

 

It’s pretty obvious that the young United States needed a new government in 1787, isn’t it? (If not, please review the AOC 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 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 …

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 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. This should be done FOR YOUR NEXT CLASS.

GET READY FOR THE CONVENTION!!!!!!

 

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Learning Experience September 10-11 – The First American Government


After the DOI was adopted, the new United States needed to make a government – can’t have a state of nature, 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 a ton a writing!

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

AOCreading 18
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TIME FOR A QUICK QUIZ – What have you learned so far?

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 construct pertinent and insightful lower level and higher level questions.
  • I can express 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 communicate clearly and effectively.   

Make sure you know about natural rights, the state of nature, and the social contract!

You will have about 25 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!

 

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THE DOI! Learning Experience September 4-5

  • 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.

It’s the most important document in American history – the Declaration of Independence. 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 will be 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!

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 class with some ideas about this question – Does the Declaration of Independence still matter today?


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.

Below are some awesome links about the DOI – take a look if you get a chance!

The National Archives – Charters of Freedom – http://www.archives.gov/national_archives_experience/charters/declaration.html – The National Archives provides a great site about the DOI, including actual images, articles about the DOI, and the opportunity to join the signers.

A 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!

 

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LEARNING EXPERIENCE August 30/31 – TAKE THE CHALLENGE

 

 

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 and got it to Doc right away!

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 Tuesday, our Pop Up Museum  will be devoted to the idea of the America’s story. We 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 tomorrow in a gallery walk, and collectively we will see and discuss an incredible array of personal connection 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 a couple of examples? Check out Doc’s personal item and Taft’s historical artifacts.

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

 

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