Rather than spending the majority of time reading from a text book and listening to lectures, students have been engaged in a series of projects in which they apply information and act as citizens. In the past month students have researched current issues and candidates prior to voting in a mock election, authored an e-book to inform others of their rights, and searched for connections to the U.S. Constitution in everyday life.
Our Middle School Mock Election was held on Friday, November 2nd. Before students voted, they took some time to learn about some of the offices and candidates in an election inquiry. Each student researched a single race (Present, Governor, House, or Senate) in detail. This information was shared with other student in class discussion. I was pleased to hear many students being critical of the candidates websites and position statements. I heard comments such as: “he doesn’t tell you what his plan is.” and “Why doesn’t he say anything about this issue?” Jefferson never said that being an informed citizen was easy. The final word on the mock election is that only two of the student pics differed from the state and national results and these were down ticket races to which we did not dedicate class time.
For the last several weeks students have been searching out Constitutional Connections in their everyday lives. They are free to take them from books, music, movies, television, etc. When they find a connection they need to complete a short write up in order to receive full credit for it. The Final submission is due on Tuesday, November 27th, but I have already seen the work in progress and am encouraged by what the students are finding.
The iPads have also brought some new learning activities that were not easily possible in past years. Students recently authored and shared e-books about the Bill of Rights and created public service announcements taking a stance on the electoral college system.
As we move forward and study the French and Indian War and the American Revolution, we will frequently connect back to our study of the Constitution. Citizens standing up and demanding more rights, is a continuous theme in history. It is my hope that some of the learning is carried forward as students become citizens and choose to be informed and involved.
Links to all activities referenced in this post can be found on my Constitution and Government page.