Years ago, when my boys has just started school, I spotted something at a store that I just had to have – a series of four video tapes that brought back some great memories from my childhood.
I started buying them one at a time as I could afford them, and all three of our kids fell in love with them.
Several years later, Nick was in fifth grade and his teacher asked the class if any of them had ever heard of the U.S. Constitution. Nick stood up and started to sing. To the teacher’s slack-jawed amazement, he sang the entire preamble to the Constitution word for word, then proceeded to tell the class when it was signed and why.
Way to go, Schoolhouse Rock!
The teacher had never heard of the cartoons, but she asked Nick if he could bring his video to class. We had four of them, but the song featuring the preamble was on the video called, “America Rock.” It featured songs and cartoons about not only the Constitution, but the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. territorial expansion, the American Revolutionary War, the Legislative process and more.
C’mon…I’m sure a bunch of you out there know the words:
“I’m just a bill, yes I’m only a bill, and I’m sitting here on Capitol Hill…”
I didn’t get that particular video back until the end of the school year, because the teacher kept finding ways to work the songs into other lessons.
Yesterday was Constitution Day – the 222nd anniversary of the day the Constitution was signed. The Schoolhouse Rock video tells the story:
“In 1787 I’m told our founding fathers did agree
To write a list of principles for keepin’ people free.
The U.S.A. was just startin’ out – a whole brand-new country.
And so our people spelled it out, the things that we should be.”
It then goes into a slightly abridged version of the preamble, which was the song Nick sang in front of his entire classroom when he was nine years old.
“We the people, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
Note: The original preamble actually states “We the people of the United States…”
There are several different Schoolhouse Rock video collections out there these days. Grammar Rock teaches kids about verbs, nouns, pronouns, adjectives, interjections and more. Multiplication Rock is about the numbers zero through 9, Science Rock talks about electricity, the telegraph, planets, energy conservation and gravity. Two other collections we never owned are about com-puters and money.
They are great teaching tools, fun music and the cartoons themselves are pretty funny. I highly recommend them for any family. Grab a video, sit down with two friends and learn.
After all, three is a magic number.