Sunday, September 7, 2014

Bill of Rights and the Interactive Notebook for Constitution Day and 9/11

Okay, so I am wayyy behind where I wanted to be with Interactive Notebooks for our new social studies curriculum. I forgot about the fundraising assembly last week, which put a total crimp in my lesson plans, and I am scrambling to make up for lost time. With Constitution Day coming up on September 17th, and the awkwardness of September 11th (exactly how much detail are we supposed to go into with our kiddos about what happened on that horrible day before they were even born but which adults remember all too well?), I decided to combine both events into one social studies lesson for our Interactive Notebooks.

I've been trying to read up on the process, and find out just what it is supposed to look like in a classroom. There is a group of teacher-seller-bloggers led by Jennifer of 4mula Fun, and they are hosting a blog hop explaining how each of them implement the process in their classrooms. Their posts include information on math and science classrooms, plus general set-up information. This last part is what was helpful for me, as I will be using Interactive Notebooks for social studies lessons.

Last time, I created sample covers, rubric, and a table of contents. You can find that post here, or listed for free in my store here.

I think my greatest challenge will be keeping the notebooks truly interactive. I will need to constantly remind myself that I want students to think and respond, not just copy what I create. Since I'm so nervous about this new (for me, anyway) teaching technique, I decided to start with a lesson I have taught in the past, but adapt it for Interactive Notebooks.

First, I created a "window fold" template in PowerPoint. (Someday I need to learn how to use my Adobe Illustrator program so that I can create crisper images for my templates, but that will have to wait for another day! :) I knew I would need a total of ten flaps for each of the ten rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. I also wanted there to be room for a student-friendly definition of the right, as well as some type of visual.

Blank Front

Blank Inside of Window Fold

Once I had the template designed I printed out a sample (double-sided) copy and played around with it. I wanted to see what the finished product would look like before I used it with students. Each flap would have the name of the right on the front, with a definition and visual behind the flap. I planned to fill the information out together as a class, using a document camera for the sample.

We would discuss the concerns the Founders had about having a strong central government (as organized by the Constitution) and the perceived need for a "Bill of Rights" to be added after ratification of the new Constitution had taken place. I also planned to briefly mention the fact that not all countries considered human rights to be rights at all, and some people wanted to force others to believe and act as they do. (I do not want to delve too deeply into the issues surrounding September 11, but students need to understand why we need the Bill of Rights.)

Once I had messed up several samples, I went back to the computer and sketched out the changes I planned to make with the class. I'm not very good with drawing, so I added some clipart to give you an idea of what this could look like if you decide to use it in your own classroom. Of course, I would have the students do something much simpler.

I also wanted to plan the "interactive" part, and leave room for students to respond to the Bill of Rights in a personal way that would be meaningful to them. So, I decided to give students a choice of possible responses. Students would need to choose one of the ten rights (at first I was thinking at least three, but since this is the beginning of our Interactive Notebook journey, I decided this would probably be too much.) For this right, students would need to choose a response based on one of the following prompts.

1. What does this right mean to you, personally?
2. How would your life or the lives of your family members be different without this right?
3. Give an example of a country where this right does not exist. How is it different than the United States?
4. Do you agree that this should be a right guaranteed to everyone in the United States? Why or why not?

Since I didn't want students to spend all their time copying the response questions, I decided to type them up, make copies, cut them out, and have them available for students to glue into their notebooks. That way, they would have more time for the important part, which would be their actual response. I made them with both boy and girl copies.

Meaning for You?

Lives Different?

How Different?

Rights for All?

Finally, I found a Bill of Rights Rap to explain the amendments in a student-friendly way. It's kind of cute. Check it out!

You can download all the pages I created for this lesson by clicking here, or on their images on this post. These pages will not be available in my store at this time, but might be at some later date. Please follow my blog for more posts about my journey with Interactive Notebooks.

Update: Please leave some feedback. So far, 423 people have read and downloaded, but no feedback. It's disheartening. :( 

Thanks for stopping by! "See" you next time!

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