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Life, liberty, and the pursuit of comprehension

November 7, 2011

Give your students the opportunity to get up close and personal with the Declaration of Independence with this activity from Mr. Kulikowski at Mr. K’s Time and Relative Dimension in School. Rather than simply presenting it to learners to study, Mr. K has his students read it and then translate it into modern language.

Students can pair up and help each other make sense of each paragraph. Mr. K stresses understanding the main idea by telling students that they do not need to translate every sentence, but rather every big idea. He also has students find seven words that they do not know before writing, to better understand the paragraph and give the Declaration, as well as the activity as a whole, more meaning. Depending on the challenge needed by individual students, you might make the activity collaborative so that some learners get more challenging paragraphs and others have only a few sentences to tackle.

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