Connecting Lessons to Common Core: Enlightenment – Declaration of Independence

As I said before, my Social Studies department is meeting next week to discuss activities and lessons that align with the Common Core Standards for History/Social Studies. As I am a fairly new teacher, I am using this as an opportunity to reflect upon past lessons so that I can develop into a great teacher one day.

As I was looking through my World History Dropbox folder today, I came across an activity I developed in which students examined the Declaration of Independence and identified Enlightenment principles embedded within the document.

This activity addressed the below standard:

RH.11-12.5. Analyze in detail how a complex primary source is structured, including how key sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text contribute to the whole.

At our school the American Revolution is covered Freshmen year. For a “Do Now” I asked my Juniors to list everything they knew about what led to the Revolutionary War. Some students definitely needed the refresher, while other students had this information stored away like I imagine squirrels do with food during the winter.

To complete this activity, students used their textbooks, notes, or the “Enlightened Graphic Organizer”* that they had completed.

After about 20 minutes, we came together and I projected a copy of the Declaration of Independence on my whiteboard. Students took turns circling the Enlightenment phrases and ideas. As a group, our discussion began to include the US Constitution and students identified how Beccaria and Montesquieu influence can be seen.

Overall, I feel that this lesson went well and addresses the standard above.

I’d love to hear how others are adjusting to the Common Core (particularly in History/Social Studies).

*I occasionally name things ridiculously. However, while there was nothing truly enlightening about the graphic organizer itself, I like to imagine that the information that filled it in was truly enlightening.

 
For more on my Connecting Lessons to Common Core series click the links below:
Connecting Lessons to Common Core: Nationalistic Travel Brochures
Connecting Lessons to Common Core: Imperialism and Star Wars
Connecting Lessons to Common Core: Extra Extra! Primary Documents to News Articles!
Connecting Lessons to Common Core: Bill and Ted’s Excellent Assignment
Connecting Lessons to Common Core: Personal Journals during the French Revolution
Connecting Lessons to Common Core: Your Own Personal Latin American Revolution
Connecting Lessons to Common Core: Enlightenment – Declaration of Independence
Connecting Lessons to Common Core: A Missed Opportunity (Political Philosophies ~ Conservative, Liberal, Radical)

About Michael K. Milton

I teach students Social Studies at Burlington High School. When I became a teacher, I believed that students would frequently give me apples. This has not happened (not even a Red Delicious ~ a name which is a misnomer). However, my school has given me a MacBook Pro and an iPad in an effort to right this wrong (I assume). I'm very lucky to work in a 1:1 school.
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8 Responses to Connecting Lessons to Common Core: Enlightenment – Declaration of Independence

  1. Pingback: Connecting Lessons to Common Core: Personal Journals during the French Revolution | Michael K. Milton ~ @42ThinkDeep

  2. Mike, With permission:), I’d like to also share this with our audience (with credits to the author of course)

  3. Pingback: Common Core Literacy in the Content Areas | racetothetopdannas

  4. Pingback: Common Core Literacy in the Content Areas | racetothetopdannas

  5. dtfranke says:

    This way of understanding the context of the Declaration is inspired. And inspirational. Thanks for sharing.

  6. I love this lesson. Thank you.

  7. Pingback: Going Meta: Cataloguing My Past Two Years of Blogging | Michael K. Milton ~ @42ThinkDeep

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