'Teach In' To Highlight Celebration of Constitution
As the 200th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution approaches, education groups are putting the final touches on plans to help students in virtually every school in the country learn about the document.
This summer, 13 organizations--including the National Education Association, the American Federation of Teachers, the National Association of Secondary School Principals, the National Association of Elementary School Principals, the National Council for the Social Studies, and the National pta--distributed lesson plans to 110,000 schools for a daylong "teach in" on the Constitution scheduled to take place Sept. 16, the day before the anniversary.
The lesson plans include suggested activities for entire schools, as well as for individual history and social-studies classes. In one activity, for example, students can participate in a version of the television program "Nightline," in which they play the parts of delegates to the Constitutional Convention.
The day's events will also feature a nationally broadcast ceremony from the steps of the U.S. Capitol, during which President Reagan will lead the nation in reciting the pledge of allegiance to the flag.
Some of the organizations involved in the Sept. 16 "celebration of citizenship" are also distributing additional materials on the document to their members.
The nea and the social-studies council, for example, have jointly developed kits of materials, called "About Our Constitution," for students in grades K-6. The kits include materials about concepts in the Constitution as well as historical aspects of the period.
In addition, the aft has produced kits, called "Constitution in the Classroom," which include facsimiles of the Constitution, sign-on sheets on which students may put their names to show they support the charter, and games and classroom strategies. The materials are aimed at stimulating discussions about the document that will continue beyond the national celebration, according to Paula O'Connor, director of special projects for the A.F.T.
"We don't want to see that on the 16th, this thing is over," she said.--R.R.