Legislation passed by Congress, educational institutions receiving Federal funding are required to hold an educational program pertaining to the United States Constitution on September 17 of each year. This Congressional initiative is authorized by Section 111 of Division J of Pub. L. 108-447, the ``Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2005,'' Dec. 8, 2004; 118 Stat. 2809, 3344-45 (Section 111).
Section 111(b) states ``each educational institution that receives Federal funds for a fiscal year shall hold an educational program on the United States Constitution on September 17 of such year for the students served by the educational institution.''
111 requires that Constitution Day be held on September 17 of each year, commemorating the September 17, 1787 signing of the Constitution. However, when September 17 falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or holiday, Constitution Day shall be held during the preceding or following week.
Federal legislation passed in the U.S. Congress in 2004 mandates that all children have the opportunity to celebrate the Constitution and Citizenship. This will be done K-12 through the social studies classes. As a teacher, if you are responsible for social studies instruction you are required to present a lesson on the Constitution or Citizenship during the time period that you do social studies. 6-12 social studies specialists have been informed of this during their department meetings this past Wednesday and are currently busy planning a lesson.
Below you will find some websites for information.
First Amendment Center http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org/ The First Amendment Center works to preserve and protect First Amendment freedoms through information and education. The center serves as a forum for the study and exploration of free-expression issues, including freedom of speech, of the press and of religion, and the rights to assemble and to petition the government. Lessons, articles, and more!
Middle – High School This site offers two Constitution Day lesson plans, one for middle school and one for high school. It also offers a biographical essay and lesson about James Madison, a lesson on and images of the Founders, and a lesson on the First Amendment.
Justice Learning http://www.justicelearning.org/constitutionday/index.asp Middle – High School This site offers two free programs on DVD/CD and via the web: “Conversations with Supreme Court Justices” and “Justice Talking”, a debate. Materials and curricula that complement the programs will be available on the website.
The National Archives has the original Constitution on permanent display in the Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom. For the first time, National Archives programs in honor of Constitution Day, September 17, will extend far beyond one day and far beyond the Rotunda to reach thousands of citizens, teachers, and students nationwide.
Middle – High School This site provides background on Constitution Day and links to many resources including an Interactive Constitution and two tool kits for activities designed to fulfill the requirements of the new law.