3 Powerful Constitution Day Activities for Elementary Students


3 Powerful Constitution Day Activities for Elementary Students

The beginning of the year is hectic! There is always so much to do, so many procedures to teach, and so much data to collect. But when the calendar flips to September one thing that is on the forefront of my mind is Constitution Day.

September 17th is Constitution Day. If you are a public school teacher then you know that teaching about Constitution Day is mandated. The mandate states that "each educational institution that receives Federal funds is required to hold an educational program about the US Constitution for its students..." This means that you do need to teach lessons and if your school is like mine, you need to submit an outline of the activities that you completed in class to your administration. 

While I absolutely love teaching social studies and history to my students, Constitution Day happens to come during a very busy month. That is why I love using these simple, yet powerful activities to teach my students about our country's Constitution and celebrate this holiday with meaningful and timely tasks.

3 Powerful Constitution Day Activities for Elementary Students

Constitution Day Read Alouds and Discussions

The US Constitution and Preamble are not easily digestible for our students. That is why I love to read as many books as possible during Constitution Day week. These read-aloud books are a great way to build student background knowledge before diving into activities. Through reading and discussing these books students will understand key concepts and vocabulary to help them understand why we celebrate Constitution Day.

Try this: As you read have students jot down vocabulary words that they are interested in learning more about. When you are done reading, create a class list of vocabulary words. Refer back to the book to create definitions of the words together as a class. This is a great way to teach students to use context clues right from the beginning of the school year.

If you are looking for a kid-friendly breakdown of the Preamble visit this SITE.

constitution day class constitution

Class Constitution vs U.S. Constitution

I love creating a class constitution and comparing and contrasting it with the US Constitution. It ties together the beginning of the year community-building activities that you already do with the holiday of Constitution Day. 

The first thing we discuss is what a constitution is. A constitution is a set of organized rules that helps to guide how an organization works. By discussing what a constitution is, students not only understand how and why the U.S. Constitution was created but also helps them to understand why your classroom needs a constitution, too.

The key to creating a class constitution is to have students create it. Let the students brainstorm ideas while you jot them down. Have the kids create the language that they want to use to guide how their classroom works. When you are done crafting the class constitution with your kids, be sure to write it on large chart paper and then have students come up and sign their names, in pen of course, to make it official! Display it where all students can see it.

When you are done writing your class constitution, have students compare and contrast it with the U.S. Constitution that they are learning about. Grab the Venn diagram that I use with my students to complete this activity for FREE below.

constitution day preamble activity elementary

Illustrate the US Constitution

What better way to help students truly understand the words of the Preamble than to have them illustrate it? This is my favorite activity that we do on Constitution Day!

It is really simple. Spread out the words to the preamble over a few pages. Have students illustrate each set of words. After reading all of the books and discussing key vocabulary and creating definitions together, this activity will be easy for students. 

You can have each student create their own book and illustrate every page themselves, or you can have students work in a group and have individual students illustrate one page to compile into the group's book. If you have students work in groups you can keep the illustrated books that they created in your classroom library for students to visit and read all year long!

Constitution Day is an important day to recognize and celebrate with students and not just because it is mandated. I am always so excited by the meaningful conversations had and the important work that the students do during this unit.

Planning for lessons about the US Constitution does not have to be stressful even though it comes during a stressful time. Save this page, pin for later, grab the free download, that way each year your plans for Constitution Day are already done.

Happy teaching!

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constitution day activities and read alouds

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How to Make the Most of the Time You have with Students During Hybrid Learning

How to Make the Most of the Time You have with Students During Hybrid Learning

By now we have heard all the buzz words, remote learning, hybrid learning, and blended learning. No matter what you call it, they all mean the same thing. Students spend some of their time learning in a classroom and some of their time learning at home through activities or digital lessons.

But what we may not have heard all about is the best way to meet the curriculum demands, teach social-emotional lessons, and help our students grow during the limited time we have together face to face.

Here are four ways to help you make the most of the time that you have with students in the classroom.

Be Consistent

As teachers, we strive for consistency and routine every year, and this year should be no different. Set your expectations for behavior, participation, and work completion in the classroom. Be sure to use those same expectations for work completed at home or through remote lessons you teach. If you expect students to respond to a reading response question in paragraph form, the expectation should be no different when they are home or responding digitally. By setting the expectation, reinforcing it in the classroom, and expecting it through all forms of learning, the rigor you set for your students will continue all year long.

Try these ideas:
  • Communication - Use the same language when communicating with students about their work, their understanding of a concept. and grading. No matter what system you use, students will appreciate the consistency. Stick to the same rubric, scoring system, and grades.
  • Do you use stickers to motivate your students in the classroom and correct work, too? You can use digital stickers to correct work in Google Classroom!

Build Classroom Community 

Building a positive community while you are with your students in the classroom is so important. We want students to feel a sense of community in our classroom so that it can carry into other forms of learning too. This will help students to actively participate and engage in the digital learning atmosphere.

Try these ideas:
  • Read a book to unite your class - Read the book Here and There by Kim Gregory and discuss how your class can be a community and support system for each other whether they are at school or apart.
  • Celebrate each other as individuals - Spend a little extra time to help students get to know each other. The quicker they get to know each other well, the better your virtual learning lessons and classroom will be!
  • Celebrate each other as classmates - Help your students build relationships with one other through kindness writing activities and projects. Have students focus on writing about why each classmate is an important part of the class.

picture book for social distancing

Review and Build to Make Connections in Learning

Since the last school year ended so abruptly there will be many gaps in students' learning and mastery of skills. This is to be expected. Plan lessons that divide your time in half. Half that reviews/reteaches a concept or skill from the previous year and then immediately build upon it in the second half of the lesson. This will help students make connections and better understand the grade level objective you are teaching as well as help them to strengthen skills that they may have missed out on last year. 

Try this idea:
  • Have students complete a review activity during morning work time and then use that activity as a starting off point during your lesson. This will allow time to review and build upon it immediately. For example, if last year your students were expected to be able to find the main idea and supporting details of a nonfiction passage and this year they are expected to find the main idea to help summarize a nonfiction passage, provide students with practice activities to find the main idea during morning time. Then during the lesson, have students take out those completed activities and use those to review finding the main idea, before teaching the new concept of summarizing. Since time is limited this tip will save time and help you immediately correct student work and build upon previously taught concepts.

hybrid learning model quote

Focus on Double Duty Activities

Since time is at a premium with the hybrid learning model, use your time wisely. One way to do this is to connect multiple standards into one lesson. Make your lessons work double duty instead of assigning double the work!

Try these ideas:
  • Morning Time - Use your morning time for community building and social-emotional lessons. You can use weekly themes to help students discuss important concepts and share their feelings.
  • Read a Good Book - Use the same read aloud over and over for different lessons and objectives. This not only saves time but will allow students to understand each new objective taught with the same book more deeply as they have already comprehended the story.
  • One Lesson, Two Objectives - Combine content area lessons and practice into one activity. My favorite way to do this is to combine nonfiction topics with reading strategies. Students learn science concepts, develop critical thinking skills, AND practice close reading with these passages. Other easy to implement combination activities include:

hybrid learning activities for kids

No matter what your hybrid learning model looks like these easy to implement ideas will help you get started and create a positive learning environment in person and during remote learning, too. 

Have a great school year teacher friends!

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Hybrid learning teacher tips and ideas

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    Welcome Back to School Activities and Ideas


    Welcome Back to School Activities and Ideas

    I love teaching. 

    I love everything to do with teaching. 

    And I even love to spend the summers planning lessons and activities, shopping at the teacher store, and learning new teaching methods. 

    But, I'm not going to lie, as soon as August starts to creep in so do those back to school nightmares!

    Welcome Back to School Activities and Ideas

    If you are like me and start to feel a little heavy during back to school season, I can help!

    Ditch the back to school nightmares this back to school season and get prepared with these quick and easy reads filled with tips, tricks, and lessons to help you start the school year stress-free!

    Click each image to read more about each topic and scoop up some free resources to help you be well on your way to having your back to school plans done.

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    Back to school season does not have to be stressful. Plan ahead to engage students and build classroom community and you will have a great year!

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