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Friday, May 18, 2012

Resources to get Kids to Read, Write and Reflect on Memorial Day

On Memorial Day, we traditionally thank those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.  Do your students see the connection to their lives?  Having students connect the Constitution and the Bill of Rights to their daily lives is a great way to develop an appreciation for freedom and the democracy that so many have died to protect.

 Integrating the Common Core
Integrating the Common core with the many resources that are available can get your students reading, writing and thinking.  With these resources, we can move beyond the “What freedom means to me” five paragraph essay and have them:
  • Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection and research (W9)
  • Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence (W7.1)
  • With the added bonus of focusing on “discipline-specific content” for social studies (WLHST 8.1)”  (Common Core State Standards Initiative)  
Making the Connections
The Bill of Rights Institute features thought-provoking lesson plans, links and resources connecting current events with the Constitution.  Have your students explore the following:

Take a look at “Current Events and the Constitution”  for information on internet piracy, airport scanners and illegal searches.

Or “Bill of Rights in the News”  for lessons on stand your ground, occupy protests or GPS tracking.

Have them read  Education Week articles:  “Students Under Arrest?”  to spark the discussion of bringing police in to deal out discipline in schools.
Or  “Can schools legally block Internet sites?” Can it be argued that it is the same as book banning? 

Check out these free SCAN lessons at to have your students explore topics from different perspectives in an engaging online discussion platform:

A New Approach to Remembering Pearl Harbor- Have students debate the merits of looking at history from all perspectives. Check out the Collaborize Classroom Topic Library for some great discussion topics to enhance this lesson. 
Locker Searches and the Fourth Amendment- Remind students of the freedoms secured in battle by looking at their connection to the Bill of Rights.

More Memorial Day Resources:

Video writing prompts on volunteering and bravery from Teach Hub

Memorial Day is a day to reflect on the sacrifices that have been made to maintain the freedoms guaranteed to us in our Constitution.  How do you help your students understand and exercise this freedom?

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