NOTE : This post is an update of my podcast and post from about a year ago describing how I use a fictional break up letter to help teach the purpose of the Declaration of Independence. In the original podcast, from September 2007, I included audio of my class while doing this activity. Today - October 30, 2008 - I did this activity with my 8th graders and instead of capturing their reaction using audio, I used my Flip video camera and took video of the activity while it was happening. It was great and really shows how the activity works in a real classroom. I have embedded the video with this post.
Hello. Today's podcast describes one of the activities I use in class to teach about the Declaration of Independence. Students often don't really understand the purpose of the document and this activity usually helps. I act as if I have found a note on the floor of my class the day before after school and then I read it to the class. It is a break up letter and at the end the students are stunned to learn that it is from "the American Colonies". I have included the text of the letter that I use below and the podcast has a recording of what happens when I read the letter in class and the discussion that follows. The podcast also has some hints and suggestions if you would like to replicate this activity in your classroom. I'm sure someone out there does something similar but I have not been able to find it anywhere else. I really enjoy this activity and my students have fun with it as well.
Direct link to Podcast #120 - Teaching the Declaration of Independence as a Break Up Letter - MP3 File - 16:57 Minutes
If you have any comments or questions please leave a comment on the blog or send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Text of the letter that I read to my class this year:I'm not sure how to start this letter but I feel we need to talk. I've been thinking about us a lot lately. Things used to be so great - it was like we were M.F.E.O. I mean everyone said it was perfect. I really thought we would be together forever but then things changed.
I feel like you started to take me for granted. You just started to do whatever you wanted and never even asked me about anything or how I felt.
I've been thinking about this for a while and I don't want to hurt you but I think it is time we broke up. I mean it's just not going to work. I need some time by myself to see what it is like on my own. I'm sorry things didn't work out but I do think YOU are the one to blame. Sorry but "US" is over.
The American Colonies