Guide to the Constitution

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Words We Live By

Building Knowledge about the Constitution

6-8 Grade Band Set

Anchor Text

1110L Excerpt from The Words We Live By: Your Annotated Guide to the Constitution

By: Linda A. Monk

Genre: Informational

Monk, Linda A. The Words We Live By: Your Annotated Guide to the Constitution. New York: Hachette Books, 2004. Print.

Available from Amazon in paperback for $17.00.
Line of Inquiry: This text set focuses on the inception, specific language, and effects of the United States Constitution. The anchor text, an excerpt from Linda A. Monk’s Words We Live By: Your Annotated Guide to the Constitution, guides students through a close reading of the Constitution’s first three words, “We the people.” Although a relatively short document, Monk makes very clear the complicated nature of the Constitution’s language. The accompanying texts in this set provide an opportunity for students to build subsequent knowledge about the Constitution. Some of the texts lay a foundation for a close reading of the anchor text by providing background knowledge on the Constitution and how it was created. Other texts look at specific individuals who have been closely tied to the Constitution. And still other texts look at what happened after the Constitution was ratified.
830L 5 Things to Know About the Constitution

By: Scholastic News

Source: SIRS Discoverer

Text Type: Nonfiction

"5 Things to Know About the Constitution." Scholastic News 5/6. 17 Sep 2012: 4+. SIRS Discoverer. Web. 07 Jan 2013.

Introductory in nature - provides 5 important ideas you should know about the constitution before you “go any further” (1. Creating it was a long, difficult process, 2. Many of our nation’s founding fathers helped craft it, 3. Split power among 3 branches, 4. Important Parts were added later, 5. It’s alive!); introduces the vocabulary words “delegates” and “ratified.”

900L Thurgood Marshall and the Supreme Court

By: Deborah Kent

Text Type: Nonfiction

Kent, Deborah. Thurgood Marshall and the Supreme Court. New York: Children’s Press, 1996. Print.

“...provides a chronological narrative history of the legal struggle, led by Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP Defense Fund, that preceded the political battles for civil rights...tells the dramatic story of how the NAACP Defense Fund let the Court to use the Constitution as an instrument of liberty and justice for all African-Americans.” (Amazon)

Available from Amazon in paperback for $4.95.

1030L The Great Little Madison

By: Jean Fritz

Text Type: Nonfiction

“Fritz creates a vivid picture of the man and the problems that our forefathers faced while America was a new and vulnerable nation. This historically accurate, sometimes humorous biography illuminates Madison’s passion for keeping a young country intact through the turmoil of two wars, and Fritz is able to squeeze in a great deal of governmental history within a fascinating context.” (Scholastic)

Available from Amazon in paperback for $6.29.

1080L Hamilton and the Constitution

Text Type: Nonfiction


Outlines Hamilton’s involvement in the Constitution--including the notion that he thought the new government should be modeled after the British system, which he deemed, the “best in the world”; talks about his series of essays, written in conjunction with John Jay and James Madison, known as “The Federalist”.

1140L The Making of the Constitution

By: David White

Text Type: Nonfiction

White, David. "The Making of the Constitution." Social Studies for Kids. Aug. 4 2004: n.p. SIRS Discoverer. Web. 03 Jan 2013.

Introductory in nature - but more specific and academic than the article, “5 Things to Know About the Constitution”- gives an account of the general events leading up to the Constitutional Convention and describes the different “plans” that certain delegates came up with.

1150L Building a New Nation: The Federalist Era 1789-1803

By: Christopher Collier

Text Type: Nonfiction

“...chronicles the development of the new government following the signing of the Constitution. It explores the political views of the young nation’s leaders as they struggled to form a strong nation, despite the foreign and domestic dilemmas...” (Scholastic)

Available from Amazon in library bindings for $4.00.

1220L Amending the Constitution

By: Timothy K. Dyhouse

Text Type: Nonfiction

Dyhouse, Timothy K. "Amending the Constitution." VFW Magazine. April 1996: 19+. SIRS Discoverer. Web. 07 Jan 2013.

This provides a more in-depth look at the amendment process. It describes the two processes for amending the constitution, as well as the vague wording of Article V (which allows for amendments); lists the 27 amendments including the time it took to ratify and the year it was ratified. I would pair this one with Deborah Kent’s Thurgood Marshall and the Supreme Court.


1130L Road to the Constitution (Timeline of events 1774 - 1800)

By: Mark Clemens

Text Type: Nonfiction

Clemens, Mark. "Road to a Constitution." Cobblestone (Vol. 28, No. 9). Dec. 2007: 7. SIRS Discoverer. Web. 07 Jan 2013.

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