Day 1: In our Morning Meeting we had a discussion about our hopes and dreams for the fifth grade. What do you hope to accomplish? How do you want this year to be different? We did a think-pair-share where each student had to come up with an academic goal and a non-academic goal for this year. Once we had all shared we summarized what we heard on to our list.
The next day we took a look at our rules and tried to see if any of them related to each other. The students color coded them by how they saw the relationships. In the picture you can see that all of the "Be nice..." theme rules were colored in orange. This list served as our rules until our official copy was made. These eventually became our "Articles" in the Constitution.
Day 4/5: Morning Meeting/Social Studies
We started studying the Preamble to the Constitution. We did many things, but one of things that I think was most useful was breaking the Preamble down line by line and examining what it means. We used prior knowledge, dictionaries, and thesauruses to figure out all those fancy vocabulary words to finally get down to the "nitty-gritty" of why the Constitution was written. We put this in our Government Lapbook that we are building together.
Day 6: Students write a preamble for our own Constitution. They had to think about why we need rules and how they help us accomplish our goals. They worked in teams to break it down for themselves and I encouraged to make it in their own language. The teams then displayed their preambles and students went around with post-it notes making comments about which parts they liked from each preamble. Then together, we picked the best of each one and made a combined preamble. This is ours...
Day 7-12: We begin our study of The Bill of Rights. There are many things that we do to study Amendments 1-10, but my favorite is to do the hand motions while we learn them. You can see them HERE. I've added some and changed a few (because it doesn't address all of them), but essentially they are the same.
Another of my favorite things to do is assign each student an amendment (or a part of an amendment such as 'freedom of speech') and have them create a poster that contains three things. First, the poster must state the right that the amendment is protecting, then the remaining
two are to be drawings. One drawing shows what life is like with the amendment in action. The second drawing shows what life would be like without the amendment. I'm very clear that I accept stick figures, but they must be stick figures in very clear and detailed situations These usually end up more in comic form which is great. Then we do a museum walk to enjoy our classmates work.
Days 13/14: We bring it all together at Morning Meeting as soon as we finish the Bill of Rights and we wrote down our inalienable rights that we have in the classroom. This year's class was not as easily led by me as last year's class was so there were a few that I had to just about give them, but they still think they came up with it, so I'm pleased. We added it to our constitution. The following day we all voted to ratify the Constitution and signed it into law.
They are so proud of the Constitution and will talk about it with anyone who visits our class. It's been great for management too. The students have really bought in to the whole concept and have been referencing it when students are making bad choices. Hopefully this continues, but I'm thinking this is going to be a great year!
|Our complete (and massive) constitution!|