The Most Important Experience of My Professional Life: The Madison Fellowship

January 12th, 2012 by

One of the great features of a career in teaching is the opportunity to have a new start more than once a year. We start a school year in the fall, with nice, fresh bulletin boards, clean desks and floors, in a building that has been thoroughly scrubbed and shined during the summer. And then, Read more…

2011 National Council for the Social Studies Annual Conference

December 1st, 2011 by

It’s here!  The 2011 National Council for the Social Studies Annual Conference occurs this weekend, Dec. 2 – 4, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.  The theme for this year’s conference is Dimensions of Diversity, and the Bill of Rights Institute is helping to carry out that theme by presenting four Read more…

Countdown to the Constitution – Final Details

September 16th, 2011 by

Philadelphia, September 10 – 15, 1787 As the weather finally cools a bit and the Convention enters what will be the final week of deliberations, the main topics of discussion are the amendment process and the ratification process.  On Monday, September 10, Elbridge Gerry raises a concern about the amendment process—he fears that the new Read more…

Countdown to the Constitution July 25: Establishing the Presidency

July 29th, 2011 by

Philadelphia – Establishing the Presidency One of the most persistent topics discussed in the Philadelphia Convention was the structure of the presidency. The Framers had grappled with this topic on June 1, 2, 4, 9, and 18, and then again on July 17, 18, 19, 20, 24, 25, and 26. The main issues were questions Read more…

Constitutional Thinking for Young Learners

April 12th, 2011 by

As shown in our online store screenshot, our resources are intended for secondary students and teachers. I’m so excited that we are just weeks away from the release of our new curriculum, The Founding Documents: A Three-Act Drama, which is tailor-made for fourth through sixth graders. It is a fun, full-color magazine-style activity booklet that Read more…

Stopping the Revolving Door

February 14th, 2011 by

Professional development plus mentoring plus a strong focus on the Founding documents can help equip early career teachers to find satisfaction in their career.

A Holiday-Themed Bill of Rights Song!

December 22nd, 2010 by

From the Westbrook classroom, a festive way to help students memorize the content and order of the Bill of Rights. Enjoy! Bill of Rights Song (to the tune of “The Twelve Days of Christmas”) The First Amendment guarantees religion, speech, and press Petition and assembly, too. The Second Amendment guarantees a right to bear arms, Read more…

Tricks for Teaching the Bill of Rights

December 13th, 2010 by

One of my beginning-of-school routines was to teach the guarantees of the Bill of Rights using some engaging memory devices. Bill of Rights Day, December 15, would be another great time to teach this lesson. Using a strategy I learned at a professional development conference many years ago, I had students themselves identify ten physical Read more…

8 Ways to Build Students’ Reading Skills

November 5th, 2010 by

Students don’t always come to us with the literacy skills they need, and it’s important for teachers to be mindful of ways to support them as they develop those skills. I’ve worked for the Bill of Rights Institute since 2007, but before that, I had a long and rewarding career as a Social Studies teacher Read more…