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Posing as 1788 journalists, students create a newpaper front page to share their viewpoints on the ratification of the constitution


Computers & Internet, Language Arts, Social Studies  




Title – Create a Newspaper Front Page
By – Tammy Dayton
Primary Subject – Social Studies
Secondary Subjects – Language Arts, Computers/Internet, Art
Grade Level – 5th, small groups


      GOAL 8: The learner will examine ways the people of the U.S., Canada, and Latin America govern themselves.


      GOAL 11: The learner will analyze changes in ways of living


    and investigate why and how these changes occurred.


    GOAL 3: The learner will make connections through the use of oral language, written language, media, and technology.


    GOAL 2: The learner will demonstrate knowledge and skills in the use of computer and other technologies.

OBJECTIVES: The student will justify the ideas of the new government by taking a stance and creating a newspaper front page. The student will share ideas with each other and cooperate together as a group in exploring the views of the public who lived in 1788, when the Constitution was written and ratified. The student will use a word processing application to create and format a document.

FOCUS AND REVIEW: Introduce the conflict over ratifying the Constitution at the state conventions by discussing as a whole group how cooperation of the new leaders might help the new nation.

STATEMENT OF OBJECTIVES: Our lesson today will center on the problems that our founding fathers faced when deciding to vote for or against the Ratification of the Constitution. We will discuss as small groups the opinions of the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists.

KEY POINTS: The teacher will lead the discussion of the views of the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists. Federalists wanted the Constitution’s strong national government. Anti-Federalists did not want a strong national government unless a bill of rights was added. Newspapers provided a way for both groups to tell the public how whey felt over the plan and the reasons for their feelings.

GUIDED PRACTICE: The students will read “Approving the Constitution” in America’s Story (p 296-301). The students will discuss these questions: Why were many delegates not willing at first to agree to the new Constitution? Why was The Federalist important?

INDEPENDENT PRACTICE: After discussion, each group will create the front page of a newspaper dated June 22, 1788, about the ratification of the Constitution on the previous day. Each group will create a name, appropriate headlines, and a front-page illustration for its newspaper and write an article or two to go with the headlines. Students will be evaluated by how the newspaper can show the feelings or opinions of groups that are represented in the newspaper.

INDIVIDUALIZATION FOR ENRICHMENT: Ask the students to create a newspaper by using a 3-column newsletter template on the Microsoft Works program.

INDIVIDUALIZATION FOR REMEDIATION: As a teacher, I make sure every one of my students are allowed to participate by putting them in groups where there will be no one monopolizing the discussion. I also ask one person in each group to ask someone for their opinion if they do not talk. The groups review their thoughts and notes before the newspaper is created so there will not be any confusion.

CLOSURE: The groups will display their completed newspapers.

REFLECTION: My class was divided into 4 groups of 4-5 students in each group. I was impressed in the variation of ideas that were represented. One group, exclusively females, took the stand of no involvement of women in the new government’s plans. Another group took the side of Connecticut, who was one of the last to ratify the Constitution. They even included a political cartoon. If I do this activity again, I will do a mini-activity on political cartoons and discuss the impact that art had on people then and now. I will bring in copies of political cartoons to analyze as a whole group. Before this activity, I was not even aware that students knew about political cartoons and the purpose they play in today’s media. Two groups were even able to create a newspaper using a 3-column newsletter template. It was very effective. The students felt that they were doing something worthwhile.

E-Mail Tammy Dayton !

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