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Learning Page Chat, September 15, 2005:

Government and the Constitution

Room: LOC_Grp
LeniD joined the room.

LeniD: Hello Ellie :-)
EllieW: Hi, I am checking early to be sure this is going to work. I may be pretty quiet. I'm a K-6 Librarian mostly wondering about the younger grades. Maybe some wonderful idea will float by. We teach the Constitution in the spring to 5th grade with review for 6th. Fourth grade is thinking about doing more with the New Hampshire Constitution.
LeniD: Ellie, I hope you will find items of interest, tonight.
LeniD: Hi, Michael!
MichaelH: Hi, Leni

BjB: |** ANNOUNCEMENT: the Library of Congress Learning Page chat will start shortly in the LOC group room. The topic is Government, Citizenship and the Nation's Constitution. To participate click on the ONLINE tab to the left of your chat window, click one time on LeniD and then click on the door icon at the bottom of the frame. **

LeniD -) I’m so glad you joined us!
MichaelH: glad to be here!
MichaelH: Hi, BJ, it's been awhile :)
BJB2: I'm so glad you could join the discussion, Ellie!
BJB2 waves hi to Michael...yeah, one whole day ;-)
MichaelH: yep
LeniD: So am I, Ellie. It's always good to have elementary educators here.
MichaelH: are we still waiting on some folks?
BJB2 nods to Michael
LeniD: Hello Cynthia:-) Welcome.
BJB2: Hi, Cynthia
MichaelH waves to Cynthia
CynthiaSA: Hi all
LeniD: Hi, Jeff :-)

LeniD: Welcome to the first Learning Page monthly chat of the new school year! Thank you for joining us, tonight.
LeniD: Michael would you like to do the introduction honors?
MichaelH: sure thing, Leni
LeniD: Thanks.
MichaelH: Let's start tonight's session with everyone telling everyone who we are and where we're from
MichaelH is a social studies teacher in southwestern Indiana
MichaelH: hey, does everyone know how to DETACH the chat window?
BJB2: I'm an art teacher in Pennsylvania and a big LOC fan :-)
CynthiaSA: I'm a school media specialist and sometime college prof from Detroit
EllieW: Elliew is an Elementary Librarian from New Hampshire
MichaelH: simply click the ACTIONS pull down menu and select DETACH.
LeniD: - longtime teacher and promoter of technology in education - now the coordinator of the Learning Page Project at the Library of Congress.
JeffC: helpdesk here... career educator... forest grove Oregon
DavidWe . o O (David Weksler - long-time TappedIn user and technology enthusiast)
LeniD: It really IS nice to have you all here... I love the beginning of a new school year :-)

LeniD: Here’s something to ponder...
“Our Constitution is color-blind, and neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens. In respect of civil rights, all citizens are equal before the law. The humblest is the peer of the most powerful.”
~John Marshall Harlan (Dissenting opinion in Plessy v. Ferguson, 1896)
LeniD: Do you agree? Disagree?
MichaelH: we've been discussing rule of law in government class recently, Leni
MichaelH: my students seem to think that the rich and privileged do better in the legal system than the poor and minorities
LeniD: I think many classrooms are discussing law these days.
DavidWe . o O (two letters, Michael - O J)
MichaelH: yep

LeniD: What do you think your students might think about this?
CynthiaSA: Many of my students are from the Middle East, and seem to think it is better that way here than there.
MichaelH: I think they probably look at things in terms of how the law treats THEM... I don't know how accurate the assessment is, but they always seem to have stories about "how so and so got off, and they got a ticket", or whatever
LeniD: Good point, Cynthia.
LeniD: Ah, a "self-centric" view of the law, eh Michael?
MichaelH: yes, Leni... I agree with the centric view
CynthiaSA: A theory.. not really practice.
MichaelH: We haven't talked about civil rights yet, but I think my kids might tend to be cynical of Harlan's comment
LeniD: I think many people might be cynical about Harlan's sentiment right now.

LeniD: What might your students think about this quote?
LeniD: “In the long-run, every government is the exact symbol of its People, with their wisdom and unwisdom.” ~ Thomas Carlyle
MichaelH: I'd not heard this one before, but I think it makes sense...
MichaelH: I think the recent Pledge of Allegiance decision sort of mirrors that one
LeniD: It makes sense to me, too.
LeniD: Oh? Why do you cite the pledge decision, Michael? I was surprised by it.
MichaelH: We want to be a patriotic people, but yet we have a continuing debate about outward expression of it
MichaelH: It was interesting... we do the pledge daily... and for the first time today, I had three students who wouldn't stand
LeniD: Welcome, Susan.
MichaelH: of course, I can't FORCE them to stand... but I am concerned about what might happen if one of the building administrators walked by my room and saw that
SusanR: Hi Leni
LeniD: I'm old enough to remember when the words "Under God" were introduced to the pledge. There were dissenters then, too.
MichaelH: Right... of course, the major Pledge cases were decided BEFORE "under God" was added

LeniD: Tonight, I’d like to talk about your plans for the teaching requirements for Constitution Day, as well as share some resources the Learning Page staff has prepared for you.
MichaelH listens up to what Leni has to say

LeniD: Soooo.... what ARE you planning to do in your classroom or your school?
How will you observe Constitution Day?
MichaelH: we have an early dismissal for in-service tomorrow, and I doubt if we do anything that is an outward commemoration
LeniD: Interesting, Michael!
LeniD: We have had a number of teachers write to us asking for help with this teaching requirement.
LeniD: Ellie and Cynthia, what about you?
CynthiaSA: I'm a media specialist at a K-8 school, so I've assembled videos and web links and passed them to the teachers already.
LeniD: I see.
MichaelH wonders if the commemoration specifically has to be on September 16?
EllieW: It can be Friday or Monday. We have to do something. Since our school is involved in testing we are keeping it simple and all saying the Preamble at 2pm. I'm sharing books and web sites. Just picked up 2 more copies of "We the Kids."
LeniD: Good plan, Ellie.
EllieW: As an aside .... maybe the way to recognize the day for older students is to organize a debate on the constitutionality of requiring a constitutional observance.
LeniD: LOL...I wondered who would bring that up, Ellie.
BJB2: Michael, that sounds like the civil rights forum
MichaelH: yep, BJ
LeniD: That could be a truly engaging way to think about the meaning of the constitution.
BJB2 . o O (maybe we should plan on something like that for next year)
LeniD: I'll help! A live event would be terrific!
MichaelH: we could do it, Leni!
LeniD: Yep :-)

EllieW: moving right along...
LeniD: Thanks for getting us back on track, Ellie:-)
LeniD: I want to share with your our community centers on the Learning Page...
Here, we gather resources about a specific theme or topic in one place to make the work of finding resources easier for busy educators. If you haven’t used our community centers, take a quick look at the themes available. Scroll down the page and dig into one to see what is there.

MichaelH reminds all to take a quick peek, but be sure to come back here for more discussion
LeniD: Thanks, Michael!
MichaelH: also, you may have to disable your pop-up blocker if you have one

LeniD: Let’s take a look at some that might be particularly useful when teaching about government and the Constitution of the United States...

LeniD: A special presentation from the “A Century of Law Making” collection...
American History as Seen in Congressional Documents, 1774-1873

LeniD: From the Learning Page’s Feature, “American Memory Timeline”...
The United States Constitution

LeniD: Another wonderful collection of resources you shouldn’t miss...
Primary Documents in American History...
This collection of materials links to resources from throughout the Library of Congress and to excellent sources outside of the Library...

LeniD: Poke around for a few minutes in the collected resources of the “We the People” community center...
Don’t miss the lesson plans and collections connections!

LeniD: Sometimes, however educators need something that can be downloaded and used immediately. With this first featured community center of the 2005-2006 school year, we are introducing something new. We have prepared a set of primary resources that you can download, print out or play for your students - tomorrow!
Take a look...

BJB2: wow!
MichaelH: this is cool
LeniD: Did you find something you can use?
DavidWe: very impressive, Leni. Someone deserves congratulations for that
LeniD: Thank you, David. I’ll share your congratulations :-)
MichaelH: Well, Leni, I could list all the stuff I could use, but we only have an hour :)
DavidWe smiles
LeniD: Ellie, are there things here you would be able to use at the elementary level?
LeniD: Welcome back Cynthia. I just shared something I want you to see...
BJB2: we're drooling over
DavidWe hands BJ a napkin
BJB2 wipes the drool from her chin
LeniD :-)
DavidWe: Leni, the same thing happened in Philadelphia at your presentation...
LeniD: BJ drooled?
DavidWe remembers to bring a bib, next time
DavidWe smiles
LeniD: LOL
BJB2 promised not to tell, David!
LeniD :-)
BJB2 . o O (I’m practicing for senility)
DavidWe: Leni knows you well, Bj
MichaelH must have REALLY missed something at NECC
DavidWe: You did, Michael, you did!

LeniD: Cynthia and Ellie... will this work for you?
LeniD: We would love your feedback. Is this document set useful? Why?
MichaelH: I think the primary sources are great, Leni
LeniD: They are in PDF format at high dpi...
so when you print them out, you can do a great document analysis lesson.
CynthiaSA: This would be great for my middle school teachers.
LeniD: Good, Cynthia!
CynthiaSA: I think I will email them a link tonight.
LeniD: Great :-)
MichaelH: Leni, I'm downloading the Bill of Rights broadside right now... is there a way to enlarge that to poster size?
LeniD: Don't miss the last link...the tools.
LeniD: Michael, you can do that yourself... and I would be happy to send you instructions. We teach how to do this through video conference and at our summer institutes. Try the Make-It-Take-It Workshop link here….
MichaelH: Thanks, Leni... we actually start 1st Amendment Monday, and this would be cool (besides I need posters in my classroom anyway!)
LeniD: However, with these document sets, we want to make it as easy for a teacher, media specialist or librarian as possible by providing immediately usable, good quality printouts, without muss or fuss.
LeniD: What would you like to see in future document sets?
BJB2: the political cartoons
MichaelH: yes, that would be good, Leni!
BJB2: and the branding of America
LeniD: Yep... we couldn't find that would work for this one, BJ... we will add political cartoons whenever possible. We plan to use one in the next set.
LeniD: Is it a good mix of documents, images and multimedia? Will it engage your students?
DavidWe certainly hopes so
LeniD: So do we! :-)
MichaelH: I think it 's a good mix, Leni. I haven't checked the sound files, but I think that's a nice touch
LeniD: Cynthia and Ellie - will your teachers be able to use the multimedia resources?
CynthiaSA: In my school, yes.
MichaelH: I wondered if you'd considered adding anything from the Federalist Papers or from the minutes from the Philadelphia convention?
LeniD: Michael, we considered a good deal... including those items... narrowed it down to this very focused set about the "Constitution"... would broader be better?
DavidWe has been carrying around his pocket-sized copy of The Constitution
DavidWe: National Constitution Center is a pretty neat place
DavidWe . o O (in Philly)
LeniD: Yes, we got ours, too, David :-) It's actually pretty cool!
DavidWe smiles
CynthiaSA: Too much might be overwhelming to teachers.
LeniD: Our thought as well, Cynthia. This seemed like a good number to us.

EllieW: I'm afraid our technology is not reliable enough for the teachers to count on using it for a lesson. On top of that I think the learning curve is so steep that they don't try. Remember we only go through 6th grade.
LeniD: Ellie, the documents and images in this set are intended to be printed out and used in the classroom. Would that work? Is there someone in your school (you perhaps?) that could help create the set for classroom use?
LeniD: If you have other suggestions or feedback we would love to hear from you – just send an e-mail to

LeniD: As the 2005-2006 school year unfolds, we will be updating some of the community centers you see now, and adding some rich new ones, such as...
MichaelH listens attentively
LeniD: Early America ....
LeniD: The Great Depression...
LeniD: Religion in America... and more!
CynthiaSA: Sounds exciting!
MichaelH: Leni, when will the Religion in America center go up?
LeniD: Near the end of the school year, Michael.
LeniD: We’re building a new Feature Presentation on that... and a community center will be published in late spring, as well.
MichaelH: I'm in the middle of doing some PBS lessons, and I thought there might be something there I could use.
CynthiaSA: How about Early America. I'd really like to use it with my 5th grade teachers.
MichaelH: Lessons are on immigration, and one of the themes deals with "freedom to worship"
LeniD: I’d love to hear more about that, Michael.
LeniD: Early American will be in November, Cynthia.

LeniD: BJ and Jeff have shown me the wonders of holding our chats in a “group room”…
MichaelH: we used the SSF room last night for my session, Leni, worked very, very well
LeniD: Ahh... good tie in, Michael.
LeniD: We will put handouts and tools in this room, as well, so that you can download them. If you have suggestions, comments or something to share with others, we hope you will share them here.
LeniD: So... moving away from the mic...
BJB2: ok...good time to tell people how to join the group
MichaelH: I think that's a great idea, Leni... a central TI location....
MichaelH is all ears
LeniD: Please, Bj!
BJB2: look on the screen above this chat window or reattach your chat
BJB2: scroll down on the welcome note to THIS IS THE GROUP ROOM FOR LIBRARY OF CONGRESS…
BJB2: with a green i next to Library of Congress
BJB2: click on the green i
BJB2: that will give you the group ID page with a place to join the group in the top left of the screen
BJB2: the advantage to joining the group is that you will be able to post to the discussion board and will receive reminders of Leni's events (since she'll remember to send them ;-)
LeniD: Sure will :-)
MichaelH: Leni, you are always welcome to post in the SSF room too...
as well to the SSForum and Social Studies listserv
LeniD: BJ, would you explain how to make this room a "favorite" for easy return?
BJB2: once you've joined the group, the group will be added to your favorite places menu
LeniD: Thanks, Michael! Thanks for the explanation, BJ.

LeniD: We hope you will join us for the October Learning Page chat. Our topic is “The People...Native Americans.” We are building a new document set for October, now!
LeniD: We will look for you on...
BJB2: coolness, Leni! The date is October 20
LeniD: Thursday, October 20 at 8:00 PM, ET
CynthiaSA: Thanks, It was great
DavidWe nods
DavidWe: Thanks, Leni
BJB2 hugs...thanks, Leni!
LeniD: Night all... thanks for joining in.
DavidWe: Ciao
LeniD: Ellie, thanks for making time for this chat. I do hope it was helpful.
LeniD: Good night.
LeniD left the room (signed off).

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Last updated 09/23/2005