We the People…

Happy Constitution Day!! What? You did not know it was Constitution Day? I did not either until I stumbled across it while doing some research for RPM lessons. Since I am a well known “Holidork” (my own portmanteau describing my zeal for holiday decorating and celebrating), I was delighted to add another celebration into the year! I am including you in the celebration by sharing this lesson on the Constitution of the United States with you. (I will wait while you rustle up your patriotic party gear!)  Ready? Yesterday, I did this lesson with my three big guys – my oldest and incredibly wise clients – Paul, Ben and Huan. I had a blast! What could have been a dry and boring lesson turned into a delight.

*Note: I did this lesson with the guys individually but I am sharing their responses together.  This is only half of the lesson – it is a long one (and all we could do in an hour), this would be great one to do in a group! This is a complex lesson, as it is written, it best suited for older kids who are fluent in RPM and using open communication. Of course, you can always tweak any lesson (change the questions, modify the content, create choices, etc.) to reach your learner where they are in their communication and learning skills! All of 3 of the guys answered all the questions using RPM.  I have pulled from their collective responses to fill in the answers on the lesson below. If I have not credited the answer with a course, it means all three responded with the same answer to these factual questions.

Stock Photo of the Consitution of the United States and Feather Quill

CONSTITUTION DAY – SEPTEMBER 17

Thomas Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence in June, 1776.  This declaration set forth our grievances against the British monarchy and began a united dialogue to break ties with England. March 1, 1782, the Continental Congress approved its first attempt at a constitution; the Articles of Confederation.  The Articles of Confederation sought to bring friendship among states that were weary of a centralized government. Congress worked another five years to create the Constitution of the United States of America.  Constitution Day is celebrated each year to commemorate the signing of the Constitution by 39 representatives on September 17, 1787.

Who drafted the Declaration of Independence?  THOMAS JEFFERSON

What year was the Declaration of Independence drafted? 1787

What did this declaration do? DECLARED INDEPENDENCE FROM ENGLAND (Ben)

What was the first documented attempt to create a constitution called? ARTICLES OF CONFEDERATION

What did the Articles of Confederation seek to do? BRING FRIENDSHIP AMONG THE STATES (Huan)

How many years did it take our Congress to draft and ratify the Constitution of the United States of America? 5

What do we celebrate on September 17? CONSTITUTION DAY

How many representatives signed the Constitution on September 17, 1787? 39

Delegates from nearly all 13 states gathered at the Pennsylvania State House to participate in the Constitutional Convention. Many had fought in the American Revolution, and nearly three fourths had served in Congress.  George Washington was named presiding officer and all delegates spent May through September behind closed doors working out the details of the Constitution. Of the original 55 delegates, only 41 were present September 17, 1787 to sign the proposed Constitution. Three of those present; George Mason and Edmund Randolph of Virginia and Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts, refused to sign the document.

In what war had delegates fought?  AMERICAN REVOLUTION

How many delegates had previously served in Congress? three fourths

How many original delegates attended the Constitutional Convention? 55

How many delegates were available to sign the Constitution on September 17, 1787? 41

How many of these delegates did sign the Constitution? 39

Name one delegate that did not sign the Constitution. GEORGE MASON (all three of the guys responded with this answer which gave me a great opportunity to “off road” from my lesson plans). Why is the name George Mason significant in Northern Virginia.  

  • Paul: THERE IS A UNIVERSITY NAMED AFTER HIM.  If you were enrolling in George Mason, what would you want to study?  I WOULD STUDY MATH, ECONOMICS AND FINANCE.
  • Huan: UNIVERSITY. If you were enrolling in George Mason, what would you want to study?  I AM NOT SURE.  I WOULD LIKE TO STUDY GENERAL STUDIES FIRST.  I NEED TO STUDY A BUNCH  OF THINGS FIRST TO CHOOSE A MAJOR.  (Very nice Huan!  I think many college students would do well to follow that advice! But that just may be the former academic advisor in me talking!)
  • Ben: UNIVERSITY IN FAIRFAX (that is the city GMU is in!)….HISTORY AND ECONOMICS.

*Elizabeth’s mental note to self: Self, study up on economics (that subject that made you crazy and drop your initial business major – thank goodness!!!!) and write more lessons on economics for these hungry brains! 

Persons who supported the Constitution were known as Federalists. Those opposed to our Constitution were known as anti-Federalists. Anti-Federalist attacked the Constitution as vague; lacking specificity regarding the rights of all people and limitations on the power of government.  On September 25, 1789 the first Congress proposed 12 amendments to the Constitution. 10 amendments were ratified, now called the Bill of Rights. At present time, there are 27 total amendments to the Constitution. 

If a person was opposed to the original Constitution, they were known as:  ANTI FEDERALISTS

What specificity did anti-Federalists want added to the Constitution? LIMITS ON GOVERNMENT POWER (Paul); GOVERNMENT POWER AND RIGHTS OF ALL GROUPS (Huan); HAD CONCERNS ABOUT THE POWER OF GOVERNMENT (Ben)

How many amendments were proposed during the first Congress in 1789? 12

How many amendments were ratified during the first Congress? 10

What were the first 10 ratified amendments called? BILL OF RIGHTS

How many total amendments have been made to the constitution as of present day? 27

So, if in this present day, how would you classify yourself – as a Federalist or Anti-Federalist? Why?

Ben: I WOULD BE A FEDERALIST.  AS A FEDERALIST, I WOULD SUPPORT THE CONSTITUTION.  EACH PART OF THE CONSTITUTION IS STILL RELEVANT TODAY. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT DOCUMENT IN OUR COUNTRY. THE CONSTITUTION KEEPS OUR COUNTRY STRONG.

Huan: I WOULD BE A FEDERALIST.  I BELIEVE IN THE CONSTITUTION AND THE RIGHTS OF ALL CITIZENS.

Paul: ANTI-FEDERALIST.  I AM AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT HAVING TOO MUCH POWER. SO I GO WITH THE REPUBLICANS.  THIS IS ENJOYABLE TO ME.  What is enjoyable?  This lesson or being a Republican? BOTH! (Paul, his mom and I are all laughing at this point. Also note, I never mentioned political parties in lesson or in any conversation – this is all Paul!) Can you guess what political party I tend to side with? DEMOCRATIC. You’re right, why did you guess this? BECAUSE YOU ARE IN SPECIAL EDUCATION AND HAVE A SOFT HEART.  Paul, you and I are on opposite sides of the political fence – can we still be friends?  YES, THATS WHAT MAKES IT GREAT!

My friends, these three made my soft heart melt yesterday! In honor of Constitution Day, here is a little present for you! This is a fabulous app from Kids Discover on the Constitution! (Act fast, because at the moment it is half off!).  I LOVE using these apps in RPM sessions.  Here’s is how I RPM-ify it….. as I plan the lesson, I go through the app, treating each “section” as a lesson.  I write questions ahead of time (I always want to be prepared ahead in my lessons so I can focus my energy on coaching responses, not making up content) – of course, tailor your questions to your learner.  Go through the section, reading the content aloud, asking questions, getting responses on the boards and enjoying the interactive features of the app.  This should provide several easy peasy lessons and add some pizazz to your RPM sessions! Who knew Constitution Day was going to be so much fun?

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