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Volume 6, Issue 13
September 2, 2008
Theme: Constitution Day


Constitution Day is September 17. Use our fingerplay to celebrate the day or to kick off a unit about our country, its symbols, and more.

Our Country
We love our country (arms around selves as if hugging)
Yes we do. (nod heads up and down)
And our flag
Red, white, and blue. (point to the classroom flag)
So let's sal-ute (kids salute)
The U.S.A.
And then let's yell
Hip, hip, Hooray!! (kids yell)

Susan LaBella
Editor, Early Childhood Education Newsletter



Explain to children that our Constitution sets out rules and guidelines for the government of our country. Discuss that a group of men long ago worked together and finally agreed on those rules and signed their names to the document. Then invite children to dress a teddy bear or other stuffed animal in red, white, and blue, and bring it in to school. Ask each child to recite a rule for the animal to follow in class. Write that rule on a paper strip as the student shares it. For example, one student might write, "Listen quietly when the teacher reads a story." Let each child "sign" his rule, just as the framers of our Constitution signed their document so many years ago. Display the paper strips together and title them the "Teddy Bear Constitution."

Make this healthful snack for children in honor of Constitution Day. Place an 8x13 plastic tray, plate, or cutting board on a table. In the upper left corner of the plate place 30 blueberries or blackberries in five rows of six berries each. Cut 58 banana slices about ¾-inch thick. Place slices in a bowl and sprinkle with lemon juice to keep slices from getting brown. Toss with a spatula. Assemble the banana slices in rows: three rows of six slices to the right of the blueberries and four rows of ten slices below the blueberries. Finally top each banana slice with one-half of a strawberry (flat side down). Serve and enjoy.

Hide around your classroom various U.S. symbols. These can be traced and cut from paper, magazine pictures, plastic resemblances, and so on. Tell children how many items you have hidden and give children some clues as they search. When all symbols are located, talk briefly about the meaning of each one. Then serve students a special patriotic snack.

Help children trace their handprint on white or red paper. Cut out handprints and have students tell you one way they could be good citizens. Record each child's idea on his/her handprint. Put handprints aside. Next, staple a blue rectangular piece of paper in the upper left corner of a bulletin board. Glue white stars on it. On some of the stars write words that describe good citizenship (fair, kind, helpful). Now staple the handprints onto the bulletin board (around the blue) to form the stripes of our flag. If necessary, place additional handprints -- with nothing written on them -- to make the number of stripes needed. Title the bulletin board "We Are Good Citizens."

Share with children the book We the Kids: The Preamble to the Constitution of the United States, by David Catrow. Explain that the "preamble" is the beginning part of a much longer document. Let children repeat the word aloud to gain familiarity. Then
--- give each child a strip of paper with the word "preamble" on it. Have children copy the word onto their own strip of lined paper.
--- cut the letters in the word "preamble" apart and mix them up. Children can refer to the original paper strip and place the letters in the correct order.
--- write each letter from the word "preamble" on an index card. Collect numerous small objects for each letter. Example: a pumpkin for P, a plastic egg for E, and so on. Let children spread the letter cards on the floor, choose an object, and place it on the letter with which its name begins.



Check out the following Web sites for additional background and activities.

Our Government: The Constitution
You'll find some clear info on what the Constitution is and how it helps our government work.

Orb and Effy Learn About Authority
This story/lesson explains how and why authority is used to govern.

Pictures of the Documents
See photos of some pages of The Constitution and get some good coloring pages to print out.

Patriotic Hat
Follow directions on this printable page to make hats for Constitution Day.

Patriotic Theme Online Preschool Activities
Get activities for each day of the week; includes benchmark skills, resources, and much more.