Hello Constitution Day!
Now, in teaching AP Government or APUSH or really any other social studies class, this isn’t the only day you talk about the Constitution. For me, it was always a fun day to celebrate this document, look at what it has accomplished, and what still needs to be accomplished. The document itself is short, and it is my firm belief that every American should know what’s in it.
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union…United States Constitution, September 17, 1789
More perfect. A great place to land this year. Many groups can create timelines of Supreme Court cases, laws, and events that mark their push for “more perfect”. In our nation today, we see the struggle for more perfect. Today is not a day about American exceptionalism, it’s a day to explore a short document that is the guideline we use to govern the country.
Here are a few resources to help you celebrate!
Watch: Constitution Day Live– Bill of Rights Institute’s programming to celebrate! This year, I helped record a session with teachers to discuss what teaching the Constitution looks like in their classrooms.
Listen: The Constitution Center Podcast– A favorite of mine and students enjoy it! The most recent is the Founding Stories of the Founding Documents. I think everyone should listen.
Discuss: Using the post on Socratic discussions if you are still teaching virtually, ask students to consider how the Constitution has lived up to the “more perfect” promise and what it needs to continue to do. Within this, you can look at the required Supreme Court cases as well as asking students to do a bit of research themselves.
Write: The Constitution’s preamble states the purpose and hope for the document and country. Create an argument that defends or refutes the claim that the preamble has fulfilled its promise since 1789. DO NOT have students write a full essay. Please. Have them write a thesis. Have them discuss what documents they would use to support. OR have them create the argumentative prompt and rubric.
Read: See list below. These are my current favorites surrounding the theme of creating a more perfect union.
Lessons: Road to the Constitution (Y’all iCivics is the BOMB and this is for middle or high school!)
Play: Race to Ratify! My students LOVED this game and it was a nice way to unwind and play for a day.
“We have the oldest written constitution still in force in the world, and it starts out with three words: ‘We, the people.‘”– Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Happy Constitution Day!