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Resources for Constitution Day – Sept 17

This Friday is September 17th, which has been designated Constitution and Citizenship Day (popularly known simply as “Constitution Day” since 2004. As I spent a year sharing about the Constitution, I wanted to share some quick resources:

Gov Docs Kids page on Constitution Day – Resources to help students with the celebration of Constitution Day selected by government information librarians.

Constitution Monday series – My series of once a week posts of the Constitution section by section with some layman’s commentary. Feel free to borrow any part of it for your own blog or website.

In addition to these textual resources, the educational television site learner.org has some additional video resources. Here is the list from their September 2010 update:

Many countries celebrate the anniversary of the signing or adoption of their constitutions. In the U.S. the day is celebrated on September 17, since the U.S. Constitution was signed on that day in 1787. The law establishing the holiday was created in 2004 with an amendment by the late Senator Robert Byrd, declaring the official name Constitution and Citizenship Day. The day honors both the signing of the Constitution and all individuals who have become citizens, whether born in the U.S. or by naturalization.

The law also mandates all publicly funded educational institutions to provide educational programming on the history of the American Constitution on that day. We offer resources from Annenberg Media to help you in that effort.

The Constitution: That Delicate Balance: features a panel discussion on constitutional issues by distinguished personalities in government, media, and law. http://www.learner.org/resources/series72.html

See how key figures in law, media, government, religion, military, health care, and business puzzle through controversies introduced through hypothetical cases and the Socratic method in Ethics in America http://www.learner.org/resources/series81.html and Ethics in America II. http://www.learner.org/series/ethics2/

Hear leading historians recount American history illustrated by historical footage in Democracy in America.
http://www.learner.org/courses/democracyinamerica/ The course Web site has downloadable readings that include the writings of Frederick Douglass, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Niccolo Machiavelli, Thomas Paine, and Alexis de Tocqueville.

Making Civics Real: A Workshop for Teachers presents effective high school lessons and access Web-based materials including student and teacher perspectives, essential readings, and primary source documents. http://www.learner.org/workshops/civics/

For middle and high school teachers, America’s History in the Making looks at the early development of the U.S. system of government. http://www.learner.org/courses/amerhistory/ See unit 4, “Revolutionary Perspectives,” and click on OAH Talking History to listen to the radio programs “Revolutionary Mothers” and “Washington’s Slaves.” Then see unit
20, “Egalitarian America,” for a look at more recent constitutional issues.

Learn about the beginnings of the U.S. Constitution in “A New System of Government,” program 5 of A Biography of America. http://www.learner.org/biographyofamerica/

Programs in The Western Tradition relevant to the Constitution include program 5, “The Rise of Greek Civilization,” program 6, “Greek Thought,” program 37, “The American Revolution,” and 38, “The American Republic.” http://www.learner.org/resources/series58.html

Search for historical artifacts –- images and documents — related to the Constitution in the American Passages archive.
http://www.learner.org/amerpass/slideshow/archive_search.php Our special slideshow tool also allows you to create one or more presentations using items from the archive.

— Other Annenberg Resources for Constitution Day

The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands was established in 2001 by the Annenberg Foundation to advance public understanding and appreciation for democracy and to address serious issues facing the country and the world. Among its many activities, the Sunnylands Trust creates and distributes print, online, and video materials on the Constitution to provide schools and institutions with high-quality programs for use around Constitution Day in September and beyond. To use these resources for Constitution Day, visit the Sunnylands’ Constitution Project http://www.sunnylandstrust.org/programs/programs_list.htm?cat_id=1486 and its site for teachers, Sunnylands Classroom http://www.sunnylandsclassroom.org/

More free video programs and other materials for your Constitution Day events can be found on the Annenberg Classroom Web site. http://www.annenbergclassroom.org/ Video programs are closed captioned in several languages including Arabic, French, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin Chinese, Russian, and Spanish.

I hope you’ll take a few minutes on Friday to look over some of these resources and perhaps recommend a few to your friends. I guarantee we’ll be hearing a lot about the Constitution during this election cycle. How much of it will be an accurate reflection of what’s in the Constitution, I can’t predict. But if you learn your Constitution before the cycle really heats up, you’ll be able to separate Constitutional fact from fiction.

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