This is a constitution lesson your students will value for the rest of their lives.
The United States Constitution begins with the inspired words – ‘We the People’. Oh yes, let’s re-define who we mean by ‘the People’. But let’s also look at the fact that the pronoun ‘We’ is all-inclusive. It says, hey, there is a collective responsibility here!
The American constitution breaks with history in so many extraordinary ways. It says government is an agency of the people, for the people, by the people. We the people! It protects the people with governmental law and procedure. But it also protects the people from abuse in government. Our government is designed to be self-regulating, self-vigilant and self-corrective. Wow! What an extraordinary vision those guys had back in 1787! And that is the preamble to this constitution lesson.
The U.S. Constitution also invites participation. A constitution lesson is meant to be ‘hands on’! So here we go:
- You and your students are to write the verses for a song. The song is called ‘We the People’. One half of your class calls out ‘We the People’. The other half of the class responds with examples of who ‘the People’ includes.
- Then a new group calls out ‘We the People’. The rest of the class responds with examples of what ‘the People’ stand against.
- Then finally, yet another group of children call our ‘We the People’. The rest of the class gives examples of the ‘rights and freedoms’ of ‘the People’.
This is an inspiring constitution lesson. Let the examples flow in! What may start as a trickle will soon become a flood!
- Try it.
Afterward, listen to what a group of 4th/5th grade students in Santa Fe, New Mexico did to begin the tidal wave of the song ‘We the People’: you can watch the video here
- 5 Steps – Constitution lesson – workshop
- – Activity Guide for ‘We the People’ by Talking Hands Talking Feet
- 1. Listen to the song and follow along with the lyrics provided.
- 2. Sing along with the song (in various groupings) using the lyrics provided.
- 3. Take some time to open up these questions, the children will give their own examples that can be written on the board:
- a. Who are we the people? (our true democracy)
- b. What do we say no to? (our moral compass)
- c. What are we free to do? (our rights)
- 4. Re-look at the lyrics of the song and have the children find movements that work with the song (can be full body or just hand movements). You can look at the
- for ideas
- 5. Sing the song again with the added movements.