Saturday, September 15, 2007

Constitution and Citizenship Day

Monday is Constitution and Citizenship Day. If you're wondering why you should recognize or celebrate it, consider this point of view from the Teaching Tolerance website:
"In many ways, the nation's history can be read as a struggle to embrace who 'We the People' are."
Here are some books and web links to help you plan your recognition of one of the greatest documents in human history -- The Constitution.


1787 by Joan Anderson
Historical fiction from the point of view of James Madison's aide during the Constitutional Convention.

We the Kids: The Preamble to the Constitution of the United States by David Catrow
The Preamble in kid-friendly language.

Shh! We're Writing the Constitution by Jean Fritz
A fun and fact-filled account of the Constitutional Convention of 1787. Illustrated by Tomie dePaola.

D Is For Democracy: A Citizen's Alphabet by Elissa Grodin
An A-Z trip through our country's democratic form of government.

Everyone Counts: A Citizen's Number Book by Elissa Grodin
This tour of U.S. governments is number based. (How many justices on the Supreme Court?)

If You Were There When They Signed the Constitution by Elizabeth Levy
The story of the signing of the constitution in question/answer format.

A More Perfect Union: The Story of Our Constitution by Betsy Maestro
An excellent, well-balanced version of the story of the constitution.

We the People by Peter Spier
This beautifully illustrated 1987 classic is out of print. Check your library for availability.


Blackwell's Best: Constitution Day
A huge collection of links for Constitution Day.

The Constitution For Kids
From the U.S. Constitution Online comes this EXCELLENT site which translates the Constitution into kid-friendly language. The link is for K-3 students, but you can navigate to versions for older kids from this page.

Teaching Tolerance
Constitution Day activities for the Anti-Bias Classroom.

Constitution Day
Lessons and links from the group that founded Constitution Day.

Teaching With Documents: Observing Constitution Day
Lessons from the National Archives site.

Celebrate Constitution Day
Lessons from The Bill of Rights Institute site.


  1. I used to teach the Constitution. BAsically, had the kids annotate it in groups, translating it for other kids their age and using imagery to make things clear. It was great fun. I was invited to be part of a Primary Sources workshop this winter to do talk about it, but what with Newbery I just couldn't take it on right now.

    But for anyone interested I've a chapter in my Seeking History book and an article about it here:

  2. Monica, Thanks for the additional link! Your article has lots of good ideas.

    Anybody else want to share ways they've taught the Constitution?

  3. Mary Lee, I had a post last year with some of the resources I've used with my kids,

    and most of them are the same ones you and Franki have mentioned. But there's also "The Words We Live By: Your Annotated Guide to the Constitution" by Linda R. Monk; the Schoolhouse Rock DVD (which is a good help for memorizing the Preamble!); and, for something totally different, "A Box of Longing with Fifty Drawers: A Revisioning of the Preamble to the Constitution" by poet Jen Benka; it's a slim book made up of one poem, in sequence, for each of the 52 words that comprise the Preamble to the Constitution. Something similar but simpler is fun for the kids to write, too...

  4. Anonymous9:55 PM

    We have PEOPLE by Peter Spier, but I didn't know about "We The People" I'll be on the lookout!


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