Reading About Our Rights
Students will be able to illustrate the meanings of various parts of the Bill of Rights.
Introduction (5 minutes)
- Ask the students what they know about the Constitution.
- Allow for student response and as needed, elaborate on the purpose of the Constitution.
- Tell the students that today, they will be learning more about the rights of citizens that are found in the Bill of Rights.
Explicit Instruction/Teacher Modeling (10 minutes)
- Display the sentences from the Illustrating the Bill of Rights worksheet on the interactive whiteboard using the Bill of Rights Sentences presentation.
- Tell the students that they will be looking for the action that represents the rights of individuals in the United States.
- Using the first amendment description, model the process of finding the key words and circling or highlighting them.
- Tell the students what you notice about the words and brainstorm examples of how an amendment can be applied.
Guided Practice/Interactive Modeling (15 minutes)
- Ask the students to identify what certain rights do and do not say.
- As needed, give examples to prompt student thinking, showing the students examples of how the Bill of Rights can be applied. (For example, the first amendment gives individuals the right to practice their own religion. In contrast, it does NOT say that people can force their religion on others.)
- Divide the students into groups of two or three.
- Give each group a piece of construction paper and a set of markers.
- Distribute one amendment to each group, cut apart from the Illustrate the Bill of Rights worksheet.
- Tell the class that their job is to brainstorm what the amendment looks like in action and create an illustration that represents their ideas.
- Give the students about 10 minutes in their groups.
- Ask the students to come back together to a large group.
- Invite each group to share their idea. Once a group has shared, post their idea on the wall as a display for the other students.
- Encourage other students to give examples that are related to the ideas shared.
- Give students feedback on their ideas and make suggestions to modify ideas, as needed.
Independent Working Time (30 minutes)
- Distribute blank book pages, which students can use to create a book about their rights in the United States.
- Have students create a Bill of Rights book, in which they illustrate each individual right on a separate page.
- If desired, have students create a rough draft of their writings in a journal or on a large post-it note before copying into their journals.
- Enrichment: Have advanced students include several pages in their book where they compare and contrast various amendments. How are they similar? How are they different?
- Support: For struggling students, provide sentence frames in which parts of sentences are provided. These students can focus on completing the sentences. You can also pull students into small groups and give them idea starters, hallowing them to finish and elaborate on an idea that you start.
Related Books and/or Media
- BOOK: A Kid’s Guide to the Bill of Rights by Kathleen Krull
- BOOK: We the People: The Story of Our Constitution by Lynne Cheney
Assessment (5 minutes)
- Ask the students to each turn to a partner and share the pictures and sentences they wrote.
- Rotate around the room as students are talking to evaluate whether students understood the key themes on the rights of citizens in the United States, as outlined in the Bill of Rights.
- Utilize the writing and drawing sections of the Bill of Rights worksheet to assess comprehension. If desired, assess one section at a time.
Review and Closing (5 minutes)
- Put the Bill of Rights Review Cards in a plastic bag or basket. Ask students to sit or stand in a circle and then pull out one of the cards and read it aloud.
- Explain what the card means, then toss the ball to a student to signal that it is that student's turn.
- Next, ask that student to toss the ball to someone else and ask that student to add on to what the previous classmate said or to give an example.
- Continue by drawing another card and repeating the process until all four cards are used.