Constitution Day Resources

Sept. 17 is recognized in the United States as Constitution Day and Citizenship Day. The purpose of this day is to commemorate the creation and signing of the supreme law of the land and to honor and celebrate the privileges and responsibilities of U.S. citizenship for both native-born and naturalized citizens. Federal law requires that all schools receiving federal funds hold an educational program for their students on Constitution Day each year. In addition, judges are encouraged to make statements from the bench about the importance of understanding and appreciating the nation's founding document, and lawyers are encouraged to present information to student and community groups. This site provides links to resources designed to help in the presentation of Constitution Day concepts.


LESSON PLANS & ACTIVITIES


ABA Division for Public Education
Offers lesson plans, interactive games, conversation starters and information on landmark Supreme Court cases.
Also offers pocket guides to the Constitution on sale for $1.50 each.

Apples 4 the Teacher
Provides classroom activities such as printable coloring pages, book reviews, word jumbles and word searches.

Center for Civic Education
Offers lesson plans, teacher training and information about community-based civics programs.

Constitution Day
Offers lesson plans and other resources.

Constitution Facts’ Fun Zone
Offers crossword puzzles, quizzes, treasure hunts and word finds.

Constitutional Rights Foundation
Provides lesson plans for teachers and civics, law and government programs for students.

National Archives
Provides lesson plans by era, activities and ready-to-use classroom tools on its website.

National Constitution Center
Offers lesson plans and other resources.

Read the Constitution
Offers the full text of the U.S. Constitution divided into the preamble, the seven articles and the Bill of Rights.

Share My Lesson
Offers lesson plans, searchable by grade level, from the Center for Civic Education.


CITIZENSHIP APPS


A number of applications designed for use on mobile devises are available to help young people understand the rights and responsibilities of citizenship. Download them at the links below:

U.S. Constitution

Constitution Annotated
The U.S. Senate, Library of Congress and the Government Printing Office (GPO) have launched a new free service called Constitution Annotated, which allows users to access the nation’s founding document as well as modern analysis and interpretation of constitutional law, and analysis of Supreme Court cases through June 26, 2013, by the Congressional Research Service and the Library of Congress. The service will be updated multiple times a year as new court decisions are issued. Visit the GPO site or the Library of Congress site for an online version or download the mobile app from iTunes. An Android version is under development.

U.S. Constitution
Search the U.S. Constitution, Articles of Confederation, Declaration of Independence, Emancipation Proclamation and more on this app from Google Play.

Oyez Today
Get the latest information and media on the current Supreme Court including searchable audio of oral arguments and transcripts.

U.S. Congress

Member Guide for the 113th Congress
The Government Printing Office has unveiled a member guide for the 113th Congress, which features pictures, party affiliation and biographical data about members of the U.S. House and Senate. Users can browse members of Congress by last name, state, chamber or party. Visit the site online or download the mobile app. The site also offers a downloadable pdf pictorial directory of the members.

My Congress
Follow news, Twitter feeds and decisions made by members of Congress.

Visible Vote
Track how legislators vote, give representatives feedback and participate in live events.

Citizenship Resources

U.S. Citizenship 2013
Test your civic knowledge with flash cards and practice quizzes used by many to prepare for the U.S. naturalization test.

White House Resources

White House Mobile App
Get news from White House blog and press briefing room.


CIVIC EDUCATION PROGRAMS FROM THE TBA


The Tennessee Bar Association (TBA) also offers a variety of programs for elementary, middle and high school students that expose young people to concepts about the law and living in a society governed by the rule of law. The programs include:

GAVELS Program – A civics education project of the Tennessee Judicial Conference and the TBA, GAVELS (Gaining Access to Valuable Education about the Legal System) offers presentations designed to explain, in everyday language, how our judicial system works. Teachers or other school officials may request a judge and/or lawyer to come to their school and speak to students on a range of topics. Presentations can be adapted from 15 minutes to one hour, depending on the needs of the group. To learn more or request a speaker, contact Liz Todaro at (615) 383-7421 or ltodaro@tnbar.org.

iCivics – iCivics prepares young Americans to become knowledgeable, engaged 21st century citizens by providing free and innovative educational materials. The program, founded by former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, offers 16 educational video games as well as teaching materials that have been used in classrooms in all 50 states. It is the nation's most comprehensive, standards-aligned civics curriculum available for free on the web. In Tennessee, the TBA has partnered with program leadership to provide awareness and training about iCivics to teachers in the state. For more information contact Stacey Shrader Joslin at (615) 383-7421 or sshrader@tnbar.org.

Law Day Art & Essay Contest – These contests give elementary and high school students the opportunity to express their ideas about living in a society that is governed by the rule of law and achieve statewide recognition for their work. The art contest is open to students in kindergarten through 8th grade, while the essay contest is open to students in 9th through 12th grades. Contest details are normally released in January with submissions due in April. Law Day is celebrated each May to promote greater understanding and appreciation for the law. For more information contact Stacey Shrader Joslin at (615) 383-7421 or sshrader@tnbar.org.

Mock Trial – The Tennessee High School Mock Trial Competition provides high school students an opportunity to learn about the law, court procedures and legal system. Each year, the TBA develops a fictional case in which students play the roles of attorneys and witnesses. The case and competition rules are distributed in November. Schools and other youth organizations form teams to compete in local district competitions that take place in February. The winners of the district contests then advance to the state competition, which takes place each March. TBA volunteers organize, host and score the state competition. There are 13 districts in the state, each of which are organized by a local coordinator, who sets the dates for the event and serves as a resource for teams. For more information contact Stacey Shrader Joslin at (615) 383-7421 or sshrader@tnbar.org.

Youth Court – We all make mistakes. The challenge is how to take those mistakes and turn them into opportunities for growth and personal development. Youth Courts provide that opportunity. In Tennessee, Youth Courts hear juvenile cases involving assault, burglary, vandalism, forgery, cruelty to animals, harassment, unauthorized use of a vehicle, disorderly conduct, runaway, violation of curfew, truancy, disorderly conduct, some traffic offenses and criminal trespass. Each court typically handles cases involving young people, ages 11 to 17, who are first-time offenders. For the youth who volunteer to serve on the court, the program educates them about the role of law in our democracy. They also learn about court procedures, sentencing options, trial techniques, structure of the justice system, the meaning of justice, and the relationship between rights and responsibilities. To learn more about Youth Courts contact Denise Bentley at (615) 383-7421 or dbentley@tnbar.org.

YouTube Video Contest – Each year, the TBA sponsors a video contest that asks middle and high school students to create a short video about a law-related theme. The contest invites students in 6th through 12th grade to create a three-minute video to explore the idea that in our political system, judges should be able to reach decisions free from political pressures. Cash prizes are offered to the first, second and third place winners in two age categories. Any organization or school that sponsors a first-place winner also receives a cash prize. For more information contact Liz Todaro at (615) 383-7421 or ltodaro@tnbar.org.