On an email list for members of the National Council for the Social Studies, Debbie Reese posed this question:
… in May of 2005, the US Dept of Ed announced that on Constitution Day (Sept. 17), all publicly funded educational institutions must provide educational programming on the history of the American Constitution.
Do you know any teachers (or are you one) who observed it accordingly (taught the Constitution) this past September?
Later, she reported back to the list that
It seems, based on responses, that there’s a general sense of resentment at being mandated to do this. A lot of people teach about it during the school year, and being forced to do it on that day disrupts the units being taught in September.
It occurs to me that one way to do a one-shot, out-of-sequence lesson on the Constitution would be to devote the period to exploring where, in the Constitution, Congress gets the power to impose this mandate on the local schools. (This could lead into the concept of federalism, as well as the more obvious enumerated powers in Article One, the “elastic clause” and the spending power, etc.)
(If you are not already using it, you should have a look at Debbie Reese’s blog on American Indians in Children’s Literature. This is an invaluable resource for social studies.)