Friday, September 21, 2018

Mayflower Compact

 We will be reading and discussing the Mayflower Compact next week.  Check out this video to help see why it was so important.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Week 13: 5/10/18

Last blog post! I know most of you are super busy with the play this week, so I'll keep it short and sweet...

This is your LAST WEEK to pass off award requirements! Please get as many completed as possible! (Refer to the list in your book--complete Constitution quizzes, read George Washington's Farewell Address & define vocabulary, memorize the Preamble, complete the Constitution journal, catch up on opinion papers, memorize scriptures, watch movies.) We will check things off during class on Thursday.

PRESENTATIONS: This week we will be pleased to hear from Athen on Harriet Tubman and Lilli on Paul Revere. Remember: No reading your paper to the class! Just tell us, in your own words, what makes the person you researched a hero.

OPINION PAPER #12: What would life be like without the Constitution? You should have plenty to say on this topic, and I expect FULL page papers from you, not half pages with huge titles! Your title should be no larger than size 14 font. This is also the 12th paper, so if you've already written ten, you're off the hook!


Have a wonderful week!
-Mrs. Hellyer

Monday, May 7, 2018

Week 12: 5/3/18

Sorry this is later than usual...I've been sick all weekend. :( I wanted to quickly say that you all have done really well on your debates, especially for first timers! I know how difficult it can be to argue a side you don't agree with, but setting your personal biases aside and debating the facts helps you to try to understand and really listen to people's opinions and the logic behind them. Use these skills anytime you have to share your opinion about something important: you will be much more persuasive and credible!
Since we learned about the 18th Amendment last week, here's a short video about prohibition that you might find helpful for writing your paper. Enjoy!

Devotional: Gwen
Presentations: We will have the pleasure of hearing from Elsa on Abraham Lincoln and from Sariah on her dad. Reminder: please give a brief overview of why this person is a hero. Also, visual aids are highly encouraged!
Opinion Paper #11: Is it an unalienable right to intoxicate oneself? Does the government have the power to take away our unalienable rights? Explain. Be sure to answer BOTH questions in your paper!
Award Requirements: Work on George Washington's Farewell Address. For this requirement, you need to read the entire address, and write the definitions for all the words marked with an asterisk (there are 46 total). If you've already done that, finish your Constitution Journal, complete your Constitution quizzes, or memorize some scriptures and references.
That's all, folks! See you Thursday! -Mrs. Hellyer

Monday, April 30, 2018

Week 11: 4/26/18

Last week we discussed Amendments 6, 7 and 8, which touch on the rights of the accused and due process. Fortunately, the founders had the good sense to write these amendments with the idea that a citizen accused of a crime should be innocent until proven guilty, not the other way around. Here's a quick review:
  • Amendment 6:
    • Right to a speedy and public trial
    • Right to be tried by an impartial jury
    • Right to have an explanation of the nature of the crime
    • Right to be confront by your accusers and to cross-examine witnesses
    • Right to obtain witnesses on your behalf
    • Right to the protection of an attorney
  • Amendment 7:
    • Right to a jury when the amount in question is over $20
    • Jury has the right to have its facts as found remain unchanged during appeal
  • Amendment 8:
    • No excessive fines or bail
    • No cruel and unusual punishments
Here are a couple of interesting (but short) videos about these amendments:

HERO REPORTS: Elliot on Benjamin Franklin & Sariah on her Dad
OPINION PAPER #10: Should a murderer be sentenced to die by the same means as his victim? TIP: You might want to think about the different classifications of "murder" as you form your opinion. Also, Mrs. Maxwell will send out an email with the opinion paper tracking sheet so you can see if you have your 10 papers completed for the semester.
DEBATE: Should the death penalty be deemed a "cruel and unusual punishment?" Remember to bring printed notes with facts, not feelings, to the debate! Is there suffering involved in this? Does the punishment fit the crime? What methods are used to execute prisoners? What crimes are capital crimes? Who should have to perform the executions? These are all questions you should be able to answer during debate. I might try to get a guest judge to come in to determine a winner...
Corban, Gwen, Elliot, Elsa
Athen, Lilli, Madeline, Sariah
READING: Book Discussion on The Proper Role of Government by Ezra Taft Benson will be on May 10th. EVERYONE needs to prepare something to discuss!!!
Let me know if you need help or have questions, and I'll see everyone on Thursday! -Mrs. Hellyer

Friday, April 20, 2018

Week 10: 4/19/18

Yesterday, we had a fun and very thought provoking activity/discussion on what the limitations on privacy rights should be. It was interesting to hear how many different ideas there were on privacy versus safety. Elliot and Corban mentioned this quote as food for thought:
"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." -Benjamin Franklin
Below are three videos (about 35 minutes total) to give you a little more info on the Bill of Rights, and help you with your debate:


  • Devotional: Elliot
  • Presentations: We will be pleased to hear from Madeline on Thomas S. Monson, and from Corban on Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Debate: Please prepare some notes to help your team debate! Don't forget to ask your parents for some guidance, and/or their opinions..maybe even practice your arguments on them!? The topic is:
Should a business owner have the right to refuse service to a customer based on that business owner's religious beliefs?
For (Yes) Team:
Gwen, Elliot, Lilli, Sariah
Against (No) Team:
Athen, Corban, Elsa, Madeline
  • Opinion Paper #9: If a person is suspected of doing evil, should the government be allowed to search his house without his knowledge?
  • Reading: Our next book discussion will be on The Proper Role of Government by Ezra Taft Benson on May 10th. Everyone needs to be making notes on things to discuss about this document for the book discussion. The link for the article is below, and if it's okay with your parents, I would like you to print it out and highlight/make notes on it.  
  • Award Requirements: Look through your award requirements page in your binder and see what you could complete this week and pass off on Thursday.
Have a great weekend!
-Mrs. Hellyer


Monday, April 16, 2018

Week 9: 4/12/18

Great job to everyone who participated in the Constitution Bowl! We had  lot of fun, and you guys kept me on the edge of my seat! I hope that you realize how much you have learned this year about our nation's founding documents--I'd bet money that most 7th/8th graders don't have a clue about the powers of Congress or the Bill of Rights! You guys are awesome!

We went over a lot of material last week rather quickly, mostly in preparation for the Bowl, but here's a quick recap:
  • Article 5 describes two ways the Constitution can be amended: 1) by Congress or 2) by a convention of states. This second method has never been used, although it has come close to being used, but Congress has always caved at the threat of convention, and passed the desired amendment. There is a current effort to organize a convention of states right now, so we may get to see history be made in our lifetime! Exciting!
  • Article 6 Section 2 makes the Constitution and the laws passed and treaties made by Congress the "supreme law of the land." This supremecy clause is meant to prevent the states from usurping power that rightfully belongs to the federal government, and the federal government from doing the same to the states.
  • Amendment 1 spells out five essential rights of the people for true freedom to exist: freedom of religion, of speech, of the press, to peaceably assemble and to petition the government for redress. These rights are not unlimited; they come with the responsibility to use them wisely and to never infringe on the rights of another citizen in the process of exercising them.
Below is a short video about the Battle for Athens, TN that happened in 1946. Think about which rights were being infringed and exercised by the people on both sides of the battle. How might a judge rule in this case?

READING: Athen will lead our book discussion on The Great Little Madison. The rest of you come prepared with questions or comments to share. Donuts for those who read the book! 
HERO REPORT: The big day has finally arrived! Your hero report is due this Thursday, and must be 2-4 pages on the hero you selected, and must include a bibliography/works cited page. PLEASE use the following link to find out how to write a bibliography (scroll down a little and you will see examples):
Also, you MAY NOT use Wikipedia as a source, and be sure not to plagiarize (copy the author's words) or your paper will NOT be accepted. I look forward to reading what you all learned about these fascinating people! 
OPINION PAPER: You had a choice this week:
  1. Write a letter of petition to a government officer on an issue of your choice, OR
  2. If you were to make an amendment to the Constitution, what would it be?
As always, please let me know if you have any questions or concerns! -Mrs. Hellyer