SPRING HILL — It was an interesting way to put things.
As part of Celebrate Freedom Week, Powell Middle School social studies students learned about the constitutional amendments through song — done to the tune of The Twelve Days of Christmas.
The First Amendment — freedom of religion, speech and the press — was interpreted as "and just say any crazy thing you like" (think "and a partridge in a pear tree"). The second, the right to peaceful assembly, became "assemble and be nice" (two turtle doves). The right to bear arms was reworded "Here is my gun. Freeze" (three French hens). And the fifth became "Don't rat on yourself" (think "five golden rings").
Department head Kathie Marcucci, who teaches seventh-grade civics and eighth-grade United States history, led the weeklong effort by Powell's eight social studies teachers. It culminated with a giant flag, made by the school's nearly 1,000 students holding red, white and blue papers (sixth-grade world history teacher Robert Demaris' idea) outdoors on the athletic field.
During a seventh-grade class period, as Marcucci's students were writing letters to soldiers, some of them shared their thoughts on why they had to learn about the Constitution, what they learned, what had been going on during the week and why they were writing to soldiers.
The first thing that came to Jalenee Alcaide, 12, was the song, but she added, students need to study these things "because we need to know what got us our freedoms and who's helping us keep them safe," she said.
Matt Berry, 12, was impressed by the way the giant flag was going to be photographed.
"The firefighters are going to go up in their bucket thingy," he said, "and they're going to raise it very, very high, and he's going to take a picture."
Said Stacy Challis, 12: "We're learning about the Bill of Rights and the Constitution. Today we're going to write letters to soldiers. I'm going to say 'thank you' because of what they do; they're risking their lives to help us."
Marcucci explained that studying these documents is part of the seventh- and eighth-grade standards and said the Florida Legislature has designated the last week of September as Celebrate Freedom Week.
Katherine Cales, 13, said she and her classmates should study these things, "because (President) Obama once had people go out on the street and survey them about what they know, and hardly anybody knew anything, so we have to take civics."
This will help her later, she explained: "In the future, when we're voting for a new president, I'll know my politics and who to vote for."
Elly Carnes, 13, agreed that civics is important.
"At the beginning of the school year, Ms. Marcucci said most adults don't know their civics," she said. "You need to learn how we got our freedom and stuff."
Besides Marcucci and Demaris, the Powell social studies teachers include: Jessica Buse, seventh-grade civics; Keith Carsillo, eighth-grade U.S. history; Pete Crawford, seventh-grade civics; Jesse Mockler, sixth-grade world history; T.J. Roberts, eighth-grade U.S. history; and Brandy Sladek, eighth-grade U.S. history.