Every year on Sept. 17, schools in America celebrate Constitution Day, a day set aside for students and teachers to reflect and appreciate the freedoms given to us. For teachers, this day offers the opportunity to teach children the five foundational pillars of good citizenship: honesty, compassion, respect, responsibility and courage.
Bring the Day to Life
The National Archives offer teachers a vast number of resources for making this day come alive for students. Students have the opportunity to learn more about the lives of the 39 delegates who signed the U.S. Constitution on Sept. 17, 1787. A simulation lesson plan is also provided, helping students understand and experience what it was like to be part of such a historic day. The archive even provides printable sets of document reproductions, allowing students to touch and see realistic copies of these foundational articles.
Focus on the Five Pillars
Other websites suggest ways to help children grasp those foundational pillars of character that define citizenship, encouraging them to think about what it means to be brave, compassionate, respectful, responsible and courageous. This resource divides activities into their appropriate grade levels, helping teachers of all levels to create meaningful experiences for their students.
Make a Constitution Day Quilt
Though Constitution Day can be a difficult concept for younger students to grasp, effective teachers are finding ways to make this day more accessible. One such teacher has found a way to bring the Preamble into her kindergarten classroom. In her blog, “Larremore Teacher Tips,” April Larremore suggests creating a Preamble quilt, in which each of her students draws a picture depicting different sections of the document. When each section is pieced together, the students are able to explain the importance of the preamble, as well as demonstrate understanding through paraphrasing and representation in visible form.
The commemoration of Constitution Day is truly a celebration of the freedoms we have been blessed in this country, offering students of every age the opportunity to appreciate their heritage.