The adventures of a fourth grade teacher in East Central Illinois.

Constitution Day

Today was Constitution Day. Being a Wednesday, it was also Learning Buddies day. So, of course, Miss C and I decided that a great buddy learning activity would be to discuss the Preamble to the Constitution of the United States of America with our students. Both of us discussed the Preamble and the Constitution in our separate classes earlier in the day before bringing them together in the afternoon. In my room, we talked about the role of the Constitution as providing a foundation to all of the laws in our nation. There was also a short discussion of the Bill of Rights.

When my class joined our first grade buddies, Miss C read We the People, a picture book with the text of the Preamble, to all of the students two times. The first time, she read it slowly and discussed what the lines of the Preamble meant in child-friendly language. Then she read it again faster so that students could capture the tone of the Preamble when read fluently. I really enjoyed this book. The illustrations are fun and engaging and the text, while straight from the Preamble, is printed in such a way to make it accessible to all students.

 

After reading the text, we watched the Schoolhouse Rock clip of the Preamble. Each set of buddies had a copy of the lyrics to read along with the video. As with We the Kids, we watched the video twice. Several students started singing along, which I thought was great because it helps them remember the words.

We ended our buddy learning by having all the students use words and/or pictures to express why the Preamble is important to them. As students worked, we walked around and monitored students conversations. Several students wrote about the idea of ensuring domestic tranquility. Others wrote about providing for the common defense. A few students wrote about the notion securing the blessings of liberty for themselves and others. We were very impressed with the work the students produced. Some of the samples will be posted on our learning buddies bulletin board. Our goal is to make sure that every student has some work publicly shared by the end of the year, rather than try to put everything on it all the time.

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