By Teachers, For Teachers
If there's one thing that EVERY child in a US school has to do at some point before they graduate High School (typically in 7th Grade before the Constitution test), it is memorize the Bill of Rights, the first 10 Amendments to the Constitution. Each of them deal with specific rights ranging from our freedom of speech and religion to protecting us from incriminating ourselves. Every child learns in a different way, whether it be through rote memorization, visualization and sometimes a silly song. To aid you in your search for the best way to memorize the Bill of Rights, we've compiled a list of 3 methods - flashcards, a graphic organizer and a song to the tune of the 12 Days of Christmas.
Many people learn most effectively through typical rote memorization with the use of flashcards. We found some great interactive flashcards at Quizlet which will allow you to choose between the memorization phase (with the Amendment and its meaning both on the front of the card) and the testing phase (with the Amendment on the front and the definition on the back.)
Another great way to help students remember the definitions to the Bill of rights is to allow them to find their own connections. By providing them with a vehicle to organize and convey the way they visualize each one, you're allowing them to choose the best method for themselves. Our Bill of Rights Graphic Organizer gives students just that, whether they use it to create a mnemonic device, images or a song - the method they use to memorize the Amendments is completely up to them.
A very large percentage of people learn very well by relating the topic at hand to songs, particularly if they contain the same tune as one that's familiar. In the next example, Douglas McGrath has developed a mnemonic device to remmber the Bill of Rights by connecting them with the famous tune, "The 12 Days of Christmas"!
The First Amendment of the Constitution says
Freedom of religion, speech and press.
The Second Amendment of the Constitution says
Right to bear arms.
The Third Amendment of the Constitution says
No soldiers in our homes now.
The Fourth Amendment of the Constitution says
Where’s your warrant please?
The Fifth Amendment of the Constitution says
Don’t rat on yourself.
The Sixth Amendment of the Constitution says
Right to a quick trial.
The Seventh Amendment of the Constitution says
Jury of your peers.
The first part of the Eighth Amendment says
They can’t raise your bail.
The second part of the Eighth Amendment says
The cops aren’t allowed to beat ya.
The Ninth Amendment of the Constitution says
We have lots of rights.
The Tenth Amendment of the Constitution says
We the people have the say.
The rest of the Amendments of the Constitution say
All people are created equal.
Credit should be given to screenwriter Douglas McGrath for the mnemonic device he devised to remember the Constitutional amendments in the 1993 version of the film "Born Yesterday" on which this version, adapted by Chelly Eifert, was based.
No matter how your students learn best, there are numerous tools available to fit their memorization needs. Tell us in the comments how YOU teach the Bill of Rights to your students!