The Declaration of Independence is tough. And I have these high expectations that they will be able to understand it. I demand they understand it. I FORCE them to understand it.
Darn near kills me every year.
We have a TCI game where we use context clues to match key portions of the document with "translations". Then we view famous people reading it aloud. ("Hey, that's Whoopi Goldberg! And that guy who was in 'The Patriot' "!) Then we discuss its ideals and take notes. Then they create a booklet wherein they "translate" it into their own words and illustrate each section. Um, they are allowed to use the results of the TCI game. They really only have to "translate" two parts: OK, so:
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
OK, so it's not simple. But with Mr. Dictionary, Mr. Textbook and all his margin notes, with me as their fearless instructor who TOLD them what it means, I know they can do this. But oh the weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth! I am so meaaaannn! I make them think!!