So many parts of this lesson sounded like a great idea. Using the Constitution, on Constitution Day, to give our students a sense of pride for their country, as well as to set the stage for our own "Room 82 Class Constitution." So, of course, we set up the entire lesson. We are going to go over the Preamble in detail, talk about what it means for our country, learn to sign it in some skewed version of American Sign Language (which I am mortified to admit) and then listen to the Schoolhouse Rock Preamble jingle! Perfect. Except not. First, you should take a look at this link. So if you managed to get through all three minutes and nineteen seconds of it, you'd find that the last sixty seconds are devoted to some Elvis-clone dancing and singing. I told the kids it was a commercial.
Not to mention, third graders aren't really familiar with about 70% of the words in our Constitution's preamble. Establish, justice, insure, secure, tranquility, domestic, promote, welfare, posterity, etc. And even if they do have a general understanding of the meaning of the words, it didn't help that I painstakingly chose the version of the Preamble jingle with lyrics, because third graders most definitely cannot read those words! As I stood in front of the classroom trying to convince myself that this was a success (it's music, after all, kids love music) I realized that at least we are trying. At least we are trying to introduce new words and concepts that are more upper level, because we are challenging them to reach upward. Later, we had our students get into groups of four or five and brainstorm ideas for our "Room 82 Constitution." Despite my doubts, it turned out pretty ingeniously.