Tuesday, September 18, 2012

constitution day...and beyond?

thank goodness for facebook; without it i would have completely forgotten about u.s. constitution day.  ok, not completely forgotten.  our wonderful education specialist sent a reminder with some links the day after.

fortunately, kids discover magazine and brainpop saved me a lot of work finding just the right thing for diana to brush up a bit on this topic.

diana's been getting kids discover magazine for a couple of years now.  the monthly issues cover lots of interesting topics and provide info in little tidbits to spark her curiosity.  i love when she gets one in the mail - she usually drops whatever else she is doing and perches somewhere to read and then announces to me little curiosities.  we are getting to the point now, though, that she has already come across much of the information from other sources.  we'll hold onto them for ander, i suppose.

anyhoo, the magazine offered a special deal - "like" the link on facebook and you could download a special primer on the bill of rights.  diana especially appreciated how each of those ten amendments was originally written and then translated into "plain english" and described how it works in practice.

brainpop, a fun website we came across years ago, had a special video on the u.s. constitution.  diana likes brainpop for the short, funny videos featuring tim and his robot friend, moby.  ander likes brainpop jr. math and reading and writing videos.  i like them both because it sparks the kids' interests and expands their environment by introducing topics when they show interest.  for example, diana learned about digital etiquette (which is timely as she increases her use of email and google searching and blogging) and commented that the video on death and dying introduced ideas she had not thought about in those ways before.  i also like the fact that there are quizzes diana can take after the video, if she chooses, so i have paperwork i can turn in to the charter school for her portfolio.

and from our home library, i remembered we had purchased loooong ago at a used book sale, a copy of ...if you were there when they signed the constitution by elizabeth levy.

this has started a spark of enthusiasm for me for studying voting and elections with diana.  she has always come with me when i voted; i liked the fact that, at our polling place, there was a little booth set up, complete with curtain, and mock ballots just for kids could complete and submit and get a sticker saying "i voted" just like the adults.  maybe i should act on that spark and start now on gathering materials together.  november is not that far off, after all.

one book we can start with is vote by eileen christelow.  it was published for election year 2008 and addresses how elections function and explains terminology.  it also asks interesting thought questions to stimulate open discussion.  it's drawn in a cartoon style and is easily accessible to kids.


  1. i am so impressed that you are writing so regularly and capturing so many details of your learning journey. Wishing I had done the same!