School Wide Plan for Constitution Day Observance
Author: Eve Parker
Constitution Day (or Citizenship Day) recognizes the adoption of the United States Constitution and those who have become U.S. citizens. It is observed on September 17, the day the U.S. Constitutional Convention signed the Constitution in 1787. The law establishing the present holiday was passed in 2004. Before this law was enacted, the holiday was known as “Citizenship Day”. In addition to renaming the holiday “Constitution Day and Citizenship Day,” the act mandates that all publicly funded educational institutions provide educational programming on the history of the American Constitution on that day.
This plan is designed to help a school participate in Constitution Day in a meaningful way, with as little disruption to the regular school day as is possible. For each grade level, kindergarten through 8th grade, a few lesson options are listed. These lessons are linked to the Minnesota Civics Standards for the grade. The lessons are appropriate for Constitution Day, dealing either with the actual document or with a Constitutional principle. Although some of the original lessons are part of larger units, they are easily adaptable to a one-day observation of the holiday. The lessons are described briefly, and then a link is given to the actual lesson. The lessons are all available through the lesson library on TeachingCivics.org.
Following the lesson suggestions are a few suggestions for all-school activities that could be part of the school day. These are simple and minimally disruptive, but allow the school community to participate in a group observation of Constitution Day.