Beacon Lesson Plan Library
Bay District Schools
What is citizenship? Using the preambles from the US Constitution and the Florida State Constitution as references, students determine rights and responsibilities of citizenship. This introductory lesson for the unit, We the People, introduces students to the concept of citizenship that will be the common thread throughout the entire unit.
The student knows examples of the extension of the privileges and responsibilities of citizenship.
- Student copies of Diagnostic Assessment #3, Florida Government
- We the People journals made from construction paper or file folders containing about twelve sheets of notebook paper
- Video, [School House Rock! America Rock]. Disney Studios. 1997.
- One copy of the vocabulary cards from the associated files
- A transparency of the Preamble to the US Constitution made from the copy in the associated files
- One sheet of chart paper for The Meaning of the Preamble of the US chart – see associated files for a model of the finished chart
- A transparency of the Preamble to the Florida Constitution made from the copy in the associated files
- One sheet of chart paper for The Meaning of the Preamble of Florida chart – see associated files for a model of the finished chart
- A blank transparency for the class list of rights and responsibilities
- Marking pens for writing on the transparencies and charts
- One sheet of chart paper for the class list of rights and responsibilities
1. Before the unit begins, possibly on the day the diagnostic assessment is given, allow students to make their own We the People journals. They can be made with construction paper covers or file folder covers. Choices of red, white or blue would be appropriate, but not a necessity. Each journal should have about twelve pages of blank notebook paper.
2. Download, duplicate and print student copies of Diagnostic Assessment #3, Florida Government, from the unit’s associated files. See the Extensions section of this lesson plan for more information.
3. Obtain and preview The Preamble portion of the video, [School House Rock! America Rock].
4. Download and print one copy of the vocabulary cards from the associated files. Cut them apart into individual word and definition cards.
5. Create space on the word wall for the unit words.
6. Download, print and make a transparency of the Preamble to the US Constitution made from the copy in the associated files.
7. Locate one sheet of chart paper for The Meaning of the Preamble of the US chart. See the associated files for a model of the finished chart.
8. Download, print and make a transparency of the Preamble to the Florida Constitution made from the copy in the associated files.
9. Locate one sheet of chart paper for The Meaning of the Preamble of Florida chart. See the associated files for a model of the finished chart.
10. Locate a blank transparency for the class list of rights and responsibilities.
11. Locate marking pens for writing on the overhead and for writing on chart paper.
12. Locate one sheet of chart paper for the class list of rights and responsibilities.
13. Preview the Weblinks from this lesson. Some are informative for the teacher, while others may be student resources that you may want to share with students and parents.
Note: This is the first of nine lesson plans in the unit, We the People, and serves as an introduction to the unit. Only social studies content is addressed in this lesson. The concept of citizenship is established and will be the common thread through out the rest of the unit. This lesson is to be taught on day two of the unit. Reading, math and writing standards are integrated with this unit and are addressed in the lesson plans Class President (reading), Buying and Budgets (math), and Getting to Know Our Elected Officials (writing). See the Unit Plan Overview from the unit’s associated files for guidance in how to organize the teaching of the lesson plans.
Session 1 (Day 1 of the unit)
1. Administer Diagnostic Assessment #3, Florida Government. Use the information gathered from the diagnostic to guide your teaching of the social studies lessons in the unit, We the People.
Session 2 (Day 2 of the unit)
1. To gain students’ attention, play The Preamble portion of the [School House Rock! America Rock] video.
2. Ask students if they have ever heard the words to that song before. Tell students that the words to the song are the Preamble (opening paragraph) to the Constitution of the United States. This is one part of the constitution that tells about the rights and responsibilities of citizenship in the United States.
3. Tell students that they are beginning a new unit of study. The unit is all about citizenship and our rights and responsibilities of citizenship. Today we will be looking at the US and Florida Constitutions to learn what rights and responsibilities we have as citizens. By the end of the unit, we will know at least two rights and two responsibilities that show citizenship. We will also know how to show citizenship in our classroom.
4. Display the unit vocabulary card for citizen.
5. To encourage students to use content to determine meaning, say the following sentence while displaying the citizen vocabulary card: “Because I was born in America, I’m an American citizen.”
6. Ask for student definitions for citizen. Although being born in America is one way to become a citizen (native), it is not the only way. Give the following scenarios:
· A child born in Japan to American parents working in Japan (native)
· Someone who moves to America, and after studying about America and taking a test, goes before a judge to take a pledge of citizenship (naturalized)
7. Confirm that being born in the US, having both parents as citizens, and taking the pledge of citizenship before a judge are all ways to become a citizen of the United States.
8. Display the definition card for citizen. Review native and naturalized from the discussion above.
9. Move the discussion from citizen to citizenship. Now that students know what a citizen is, ask what they think citizenship is by presenting the vocabulary card for citizenship.
10. If your school awards citizen of the month or class good citizen, this is a good time to bring in the real-world application of citizenship. Ask what these students do that shows citizenship. Guide answers to the fact that these students follow the rules and are helpful to others.
11. Display the definition card for citizenship. The definition claims that citizenship means the person has the rights and responsibilities of a citizen. Wonder aloud what these rights and responsibilities could be and who decides what they are.
12. Hang the two vocabulary cards and the definition cards on the unit word wall.
13. Display the transparency of the Preamble to the US Constitution. Tell students that back in 1787, our founding fathers were trying to establish the United States as a country instead of being part of Britain. They wrote the Constitution telling the rules of how our country and its citizens would be ruled and treated. The Preamble is the opening paragraph of the US Constitution and tells about our rights and responsibilities as citizens.
14. Dissect the Preamble by writing one segment of The Meaning of the Preamble of the US at a time on chart paper divided into columns. Use the model from the associated files for definitions and as a setup guide. Discuss the segment and write the meaning for that segment in the appropriate column of the chart paper.
15. Once the chart of segments and meanings is complete, begin the discussion of rights and responsibilities. In the discussion decide whether the segment is a right and/or responsibility of citizenship. Rights are our protection given to us by the Constitution. Responsibilities are how we help keep the Constitution working. Establish that if it is a right (protection given to us), it is also our responsibility to be sure it is true for others. Everyone has the same rights, so it is never our right to take away someone else’s right. Complete the appropriate column on the chart.
16. Tell students that since we are also citizens of the state of Florida, we should look at the rights and responsibilities of the citizens of Florida.
17. Repeat procedures 12 – 14 using the Florida Preamble. See the associated files for a model of The Meaning of the Preamble for Florida.
18. On a blank overhead transparency write the title, Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship in (teacher’s name) Class. Under the title, draw a line forming two columns. At the top of the column on the left, write Rights. At the top of the column on the right, write Responsibilities.
19. Ask students what rights they should have as citizens of our class. Guide students towards suggesting broad rights like the writers of the preambles did. List the rights in the appropriate column. Possible answers are available from the associated files.
20. After the list of rights is complete, ask students what responsibilities they have to be sure other people’s rights are upheld.
21. Beside each right, list the corresponding responsibility. See the associated files for an example.
22. Discuss what each student can do to show citizenship in the classroom. Possible answers may be that they can help someone having difficulty with an assignment, they can loan someone a pencil, they can return a lost eraser, they can make friends with the new student, etc.
23. Since outside activities often are less structured causing lack of responsibility, be sure to have students give examples of rights and responsibilities during PE, recess, bus rides, and waiting for the bus.
24. Turn off the overhead. Ask students to think about their rights and responsibilities.
25. Pass out students’ We the People Journals. Have students write three rights, three responsibilities, and three ways of showing citizenship in the classroom in their journals. You may need to write this assignment on the board, as three-part assignments are hard for some students to remember. Remind students that their writing should remain focused and correct punctuation should be used. (See the lesson plan, Getting to Know Our Elected Officials, session 2 for further information.) Allow about five minutes for students to write.
26. While students are writing in their journals, copy the rights and responsibility information from the transparency onto chart paper to be hung in the classroom.
27. Collect the journals, read and assess students’ knowledge of rights and responsibilities of citizenship in the classroom. Write formative feedback in the journals both affirming correct responses and correcting misinformation. Responses may be, “Great! You know that you have the responsibility to allow others to listen.” or “No, loaning a pencil is not a right, it is a way of being a good citizen. What right do students have that has to do with their things?”
28. Display the Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship in (teacher’s name) Class chart. On either side of the chart, display the US and Florida Preambles from the associated files. This can easily replace any posters you may be displaying of class rules as these rights and responsibilities should cover any class rules that may have been established.
29. Just as the signers of the Constitution showed their agreement with the Constitution by signing it, allow for any students who agree with the class rights and responsibilities to sign it. Supply a fine point marker or gel type pen so that all signatures will be of similar color and size keeping all students equal.
30. Remind students that one way to show citizenship is to help others. Talk about various ways the class as a whole can help others in the community. Possible ways are pick up trash around the school yard, collect canned goods for needy families, collect money to buy stuffed animals for the local police department to use in their abused child program, make cards for a local nursing home, visit a local nursing home and sing songs, collect money to buy Christmas gifts for needy children. Think about the needs of your community and the realistic possibilities of what your students can do.
31. List all the possibilities for a class citizenship project on the board. Allow students to discuss the merit and realistic possibility of the various suggested projects.
32. Vote on a class project. On chart paper, write the title for the project and then list the steps that need to be taken to accomplish the project, such as gain approval from the principal, notify parents, set a date for bringing collected items, set a date for the procedure, set a date for presenting items, etc. As the project progresses, check off the items on the list that are completed. This is a two-week unit, so the project can be a two-week project, or can continue for a longer period of time. Community service should be a life-long project.
Diagnostic Assessment #3, Florida Government, should have been administered prior to beginning this lesson. This instrument is the diagnostic assessment of all social studies standards taught in the unit, We the People. All instructions for administering the assessment, as well as all tools needed are available from the unit’s associated files. Use the results of the diagnostic to modify the activities presented in this lesson plan to meet the needs of students. The diagnostic assessment will be reviewed and used as a study guide later in the unit, so retain all copies of the assessment.
Student journal entries are used as the evidence to be assessed. Criteria include at least two examples of rights (privileges) of citizenship, two examples of responsibilities of citizenship, and two examples of how students can demonstrate citizenship in the classroom. The examples cited must align with information from the classroom citizenship chart developed from examples from the US and Florida Constitutions. Formative feedback will be written in the individual journals before returning them to the students.
1. The Beacon Unit Plan associated with this lesson can be viewed by clicking on the link located at the top of this page or by using the following URL: http://www.beaconlearningcenter.com/search/details.asp?item=5197. Once you select the unit’s link, scroll to the bottom of the unit plan page to find the section, Associated Files. This section contains links to the Unit Plan Overview, Diagnostic and Summative Assessments, and other associated files.
2. An extension of this lesson can be the reading of the Bill of Rights. See the Weblinks section of this lesson for a link to the US Bill of Rights and the link to the Florida Bill of Rights.
3. The journal entries can be in paragraph or list form.
4. The Preamble portion of the video can be shown multiple times and the words learned.
5. The music teacher can be encouraged to plan her music lessons around patriotic songs.
6. Allow students to role-play and model good citizenship.
7. Watch students at PE or other outside activities and jot down acts of citizenship to be discussed when students return to the classroom.
8. Allow students to learn more about citizenship from the [Ben’s Guide to U.S. Government for Kids – Citizenship] Website. The link is available from the Weblinks section of this lesson. The URL (address) for this site can be sent home to encourage student-parent interaction and to keep the parent informed as to what is going on at school.
1. This site is a reference on citizenship.Constitutional Topics: Citizenship
2. Ben Franklin teaches about the US government. Teachers and students can use this site as a reference.Ben’s Guide to U.S. Government for Kids – Citizenship
3. This site houses the online copy of the Florida Constitution.The Florida Constitution
4. This is a site for teacher reference. It is a portal for links to U.S. patriotism, various U.S. symbols, The Bill of Rights, the Constitution of the United States, and much more.Guide to Patriotic Symbols presented by uscitizenship.info.
5. As an extension to the study of rights and responsibilities, the Bill of Rights can be presented. This site lists the Bill of Rights that is part of our US Constitution.The Bill of Rights
6. This site can be used as a teacher or student resource. Available are a history summary surrounding the writing of the Bill of Rights, text of the Preamble, Bill of Rights and other Amendments, and a graphic of the Bill of Rights.The Bill of Rights
7. This outline, with links to the various parts of the Florida Constitution, is a resource for both teachers and students. Article I is the Declaration of Rights and the 25 rights of Florida citizens are addressed.The Florida Constitution