Two hundred and thirty-five years ago, on September 17, 1787, the Constitution of the United States of America was signed by 39 delegates in Philadelphia. Following this, the Founders worked alongside the states to create solutions that would allow the Constitution to be ratified. Compromises with states like Massachusetts resulted in the ratification of 10 amendments to the US Constitution in 1791 – known as the Bill of Rights. The result led to the world’s oldest (current) constitution.
Today is Constitution Day, a federal observance to honor and celebrate the privileges granted to the people of the United States. In our modern times, it is useful to reflect on this supreme law of the land. The Lake Pend Oreille School District celebrated with our students yesterday through a variety of lessons, activities and observances throughout the district. The activities ran the gamut…but all aimed to help students deepen their knowledge of the Constitution.
Kindergarten students at Farmin Stidwell created handmade Constitution booklets to help them understand concepts like freedom and liberty. Ms French said of her students: “They were so engaged in the flip book, we were late for recess and lunch! Renee Lorden, a colleague and fourth-grade teacher, created “mini-books” with her class. Her course goals included teaching students that “the Constitution unites the American people and establishes their rights,” as well as helping students understand key terms such as the Amendment, the Bill of Rights, and Independence. .
At Kootenai Elementary School, students were greeted by their administrators and office staff dressed in patriotic colors. Fifth graders in Madi Schoening’s class drafted a ‘Bill of Rights’ in class earlier in the school year. On Friday, the students drafted three amendments themselves, after learning more about the United States Constitution. These answers ranged from silly to basic (because it’s 5th grade, after all). Schoening says, “As a teacher, I really push for an environment where students feel safe and comfortable to be who they are and express themselves in the best way they know how. It was great to see how this activity strengthened the voices of the students. »
Meanwhile, the teens in Brian Smith’s US government class played a game of checks and balances. In this “constitutional power grab game,” students are assigned a branch of government and work with their team to locate the exact line, section, or amendment that prohibits other branches of government from wielding power. unauthorized. Mr. Smith describes the value of the activity saying, “It’s competitive, which the students like. However, it is also informative about what is actually in the Constitution and specifically how the document limits the powers of government.
Clark Fork High School held a joint lesson in every classroom in the school in honor of the day. Teacher Becca Palmer said, “We celebrated the anniversary by watching an inspirational video of the preamble and reviewing the four articles of the Constitution in the students’ core classrooms. After reviewing the basics, students played an online learning game as a class competed to see who knew the most about the Constitution. The activity was developed by social studies teacher Kelly Woodmansee. The students had many good discussions about the three branches of government and states’ rights. »
Other lessons from the LPOSD Constitution Day included a study of Benjamin Franklin and his influence at the Constitutional Convention, a focused review of the preamble, and evidence-based discussions or essays on key constitutional principles. From Clark Fork to Cocolalla, students across LPOSD participated in grade-appropriate learning about this foundational and historic document – the Constitution of the United States of America.
On this memorial day, we reflect on the men who courageously signed the Constitution of the United States and the words written by Madison: “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, ensure inner tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity, ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
Happy Constitution Day!