24 September 2008

School House Rock as an educational tool ... no, really

Sing along with me the School House Rock refrain, "Ha-a-ay, learn about the U S A." Constitution Day passed us by last week (September 17), but we are making up for it by school-house-rocking out the Preamble of the Constitution.

I've got a Five In A Row approach to this topic (FIAR to be explained in another post), yet somehow we're balancing this against our unschool-y tendencies. My goal for TJ is to recite the Preamble, in broad terms to state what the Constitution is, and to name some of the liberties listed in the Bill of Rights. That should be enough for a kindergartner, no?

Monday, TJ and PJ navigated through the School House Rock dvd while I got a break (shower, coffee, sudoku -- small necessities!). The Preamble tune got stuck in our heads.

Tuesday we printed out the text, with "We the People" in that old fashioned, fancy font. It turns out that there are a lot of interesting words in that short segment of the document! So she asked me what promote, tranquility, and posterity mean, and I wrote above the words. She asked about most of the words, in fact.

Wednesday was a bit of review. Mostly we finished listening to the Little House in the Big Woods, but we didn't try to connect it to the Constitution. TJ can tell you that we, as Americans, have the right to say what we want, go to church if we want to (or not go, if we don't want to), and to hang out with our friends.

By the end of the week, I'd like her to create a poster about what the Constitution means to her. We're going to send it off to a contest for next year's campaign to promote Constitution Day. Didn't you know? (I didn't.) The signing was September 17th, 1787.

We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this constitution for the United States of America.

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