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Constitution and Citizenship Day Resources

Resources for educators to support Constitution and Citizenship Day activities. External resources should be carefully reviewed before use in the classroom.

The United States Congress and the President have enacted a provision of law requiring every educational institution receiving federal funds to “hold an educational program” on September 17 of each year in observance of “Constitution Day and Citizenship Day.”

Foundational Documents

California History-Social Science (HSS) Content Standards (1998) (PDF)
California high school students are required to pass one semester of American government to graduate. The content standards for the grade twelve Government course include the Constitution. Standards 12.1, 12.4, and 12.5 focus on the Constitution, while standards 12.2 and 12.3 center on citizenship and related topics. 

California HSS Framework (2016)
Includes guiding questions, fundamental principles, recommended primary sources, and teaching vignettes for the grade twelve course in the Principles of American democracy (PDF).

Guardian of Democracy: The Civic Mission of Schools (2011) External link opens in new window or tab.
Builds and expands on the findings of the 2003 Civic Mission of Schools, updates research on the benefits of civic learning, outlines the Six Proven Practices for Effective Civic Learning, and makes policy recommendations for improving civic outcomes.

Six Proven Practices for Effective Civic Learning External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)
Published in 2014 by the Education Commission of States, this guidebook is a resource for teachers, administrators, policymakers, and others who want to implement the Six Proven Practices. The document highlights research and provides practical suggestions for implementing each practice, each of which supports Constitution Day and Citizenship Day. An additional report, The Republic is (Still) at Risk—and Civics is Part of the Solution (2017) External link opens in new window or tab.,  adds several complementary streams of research and practice. Ideas for enhancing civic education with news media literacy education, action civics, social and emotional learning, and school climate reform are included, as well as two case studies of states improving their civic learning plans.

Resources

Ben Franklin’s Guide to the U.S. Government External link opens in new window or tab.
Apprentice-level learning adventures geared toward teaching kids ages four through eight about the U.S. government. The site includes information on historical documents, citizenship, the election process, and the branches of government. It also has games and classroom activities.

Bill of Rights Institute External link opens in new window or tab.
Wide variety of resources to support civics educators, including lessons, essays, videos, in-person and virtual programs, and a free digital U.S. history textbook.

California Three Rs Project: Rights, Responsibility and Respect External link opens in new window or tab.
The California Three Rs Project is partly based on ideas in Finding Common Ground External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF), a First Amendment guide to religion and public education published by the First Amendment Center.

Center for Civic Education External link opens in new window or tab.
Series of civics programs, community partnership opportunities, lesson resources, and other publications that support teaching about Constitution Day and Citizenship Day.

Constitutional Rights Foundation Curriculum Materials External link opens in new window or tab.
Extensive array of lesson resources to support Constitution Day and Citizenship Day, including Bill of Rights in Action, Civics on Call, civic scenarios and simulations, and more.

Library of Congress Constitution Day and Citizenship Day External link opens in new window or tab.
An overview of resources available to support teaching Constitution Day and Citizenship Day, including related government documents, journal articles, and additional web resources. Also includes the American Memory External link opens in new window or tab. web page, which provides numerous resources to support teaching the Constitution.

National Archives External link opens in new window or tab.
The National Archives and Records Administration provides a wide array of activities, lesson plans, and general information.

National Constitution Center External link opens in new window or tab.
The National Constitution Center is the first and only institution in America established by Congress to disseminate information about the Constitution on a non-partisan basis in order to increase the awareness and understanding of the Constitution. Their teaching resources include videos, podcasts, webinars, articles, and remote learning materials.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Citizenship Resource Center External link opens in new window or tab.
Study resources for the Civics and English portions of the naturalization interview and test, including practice tests, quick civics lessons, lesson plans and other sample teaching activities.

Questions:   Professional Learning Innovations Office | PLIO@cde.ca.gov | 916-323-6269
Last Reviewed: Thursday, January 28, 2021