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Constitutional Convention Reflective Report

I helped my students develop skills regarding critically evaluation different accounts of the historical debates of the constitutional convention by providing them with two sources on the matter, one primary source and one secondary source. The reason I did one primary and one secondary source is because now my students have knowledge on the subject from someone who experienced these events first hand and they can see how similar or different that is from an historian’s perspective.

On the board I had a model of what I wanted them to do with their bucketing worksheet so they understood what I wanted them to do and what I expected from them. I first engaged them in this activity when I went over the primary source with them. This way, again, they knew exactly what I wanted them to do with the rest of the activity. At 2:35 in my first video clip I started to read the primary source to them. After reading we went over the main ideas of that source as a class. This kept the students engaged and also helped them understand what they would be doing when they go to the secondary source.

My students were still engaged once they move on to the secondary source. However, this time they had to work on it individually to build their skills on their own. One of the main ways I helped my students build and support their arguments was by first modeling for them how I wanted them to take notes on the bucketing worksheet. This occurred at 1:20 in my first video clip. Here I showed them my example of what notes I took from the primary and secondary source. For the primary source that talked about opposing the constitution I wrote down that there was no Bill of Rights in it.

For the secondary source that talked about promoting the constitution I wrote down it was willing to compromise with things such as the Great Compromise. After modeling this for my students they understood how I wanted them to take note on the bucketing worksheet. By taking these notes students were also building support for their arguments during the debate. Some students had promoting the Constitution while others had opposing. After this activity they should all have facts that support their side of the argument. This will then help them when they start to research their other debate topics on their own.

They will understand more clearly what they are supposed to be doing now that we have gone over one of the debate topics. Once they were given their sides of all the debates they were ready to find facts that support their side of the argument. Another way I helped my students build and support their arguments was by providing them feedback. This starts at 4:15 in my first video clip. I first read the primary source to my students and follow that up by asking what they saw in this source that showed why some people opposed the Constitution.

Four different students answered and I repeated all of their responses back to the class to let them know that these are good answers. I also tell the students good job after receiving all of their replies. This lets them know that they are doing what I am asking them to do correctly. This way when they read the secondary source and research the other debate topics they will have a know what I am expecting of them and they will know how to build their support for their side of the argument by using the facts they find. I did the same thing all through my second clip during the debate.

When students gave me a fact that supported their side of the argument I repeated it for the whole class to hear and complemented the student on a good job. For example, at 1:10 in my second video clip the group that was opposing the Constitution said that the new Constitution didn’t give people the freedom of speech. I told the student good job then continued to repeat his answer to the class and go a little more in depth with his response. By doing this the student knows that they correctly supported their argument by using the facts that they found while researching.

Another way I would help my student build supports for their arguments would be to ask them questions about their side of the argument if I wanted a certain fact to be shared that wasn’t already. For example, in my second clip at 2:39 I asked the promoting Constitution side, “What was wrong with the Articles of Confederation? ” The students were giving me good facts to support their side of the argument however I wanted them to bring up the fact that the government was too weak under the Articles of Confederation which up to that point they hadn’t.

This was a very important reason people wanted a new Constitution which is why I wanted them to answer that question for the class. My instruction linked students’ prior knowledge of using sources to take notes and added on how to support their arguments by using their sources. In this class, and I’m sure in other classes before this, these students would use sources to take notes. These sources could be their textbook or things they find on the internet. Before they were just taking notes to learn the material.

However, with this activity these students now know how to use the notes they take from these sources and use them to support their ideas or arguments. This will greatly benefit them in many ways. For example; when they have to start writing argumentative papers. They should have also taken from this lesson the material from the sources such as the outcomes to all the debates during the Constitutional Convention. Students should now better understand the affect this had in the past and how it still affects us today.

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