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Lift Your Spirits with Constitution Fun in Florida!

Posted by Liberty Day Institute on November 13, 2014  /   Posted in Blog

Cofield - In the Winner Circle After Marine Corps Marathon October 26 2014We are proud to call Joseph Cofield Liberty Day Institute’s Florida Coordinator.  Joseph retired from United States Army after 21 years as a soldier in the Signal Corps, with almost two-thirds of those years served in oversea commands mostly in Europe.  “I am truly amazed when I reflect on how quickly time passes,” Joseph observes.  His hard work and dedication in service to our nation’s military continues now through his volunteer work heading up the Institute’s Florida effort to educate youth about the U.S. Constitution and American government and as a Fellow with the James Madison Institute.

After the Old Naples 10K Race in Naples Florida on November 08, 2014, a great moment for the teaching the United States Constitution took place while waiting to announce the top winners…

Joseph completed his race and eyed a group of high school students raffling an opportunity to win $500 for the Cancer Alliance of Naples (CAN). He could not resist a challenge, so he informed the high school students that if they could answer correctly some questions from the Constitution he would gladly donate $5.00 or more to their project.

First question, how many Amendments are there to the Constitution?

Answer: Ranged from 13 to 20 from the small group of high school students.
Correct Answer: 27 Amendments to the Constitution, so I put my $5.00 back in the pocket.

kit1-1-1Second question, what rights do the people have under the first two Amendments of the Constitution?

Answer: Ranged from freedom of speech but none other beyond establishment of religion and after hearing so many incorrect answers I was starting to get confused but this confusion led me to remember that I always carried my Liberty Day Constitution booklet on me so I showed them that there was no mystery to the five and it was really was five parts just as they had five fingers. All the students got Amendment II “The Right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.”

Cofield Race2Correct Answer: Using the five fingers and pulling on a glove, the five parts of Amendment I become easy to remember using the word “GRASP.”

G = Grievances (petition the Government for a redress of grievances)
R = Religion (Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof)
A = Assemble (right of the people to peaceably to assemble)
S = Speech (freedom of speech)
P = Press (freedom of the press)

Joseph became convinced that the students would not get an answer correct, so he did what he does before teaching every lesson in the classroom. He used the KWL method (what does the student know already, what will be important to teach the student, and of course what did the student learn). I asked the students to select any one of the 27 Amendments and please tell me correctly what the Amendment stated.

Cofield Race4Answer: Brittany stated, “The XIX (19th) Amendment gave women the right to vote.”  Brittany impressed me so much that I decided to purchase three chances of winning the $500.00.

What I got next was worth more than $500.00.  The other students gathered around and now with a group of 15 -20 and we examined the United Constitution, identifying facts that the high school students knew from their past school years.

Using the questions in the Liberty Day Constitution booklets, the high school students would not stop until every question was reviewed as they questioned each other until someone is the group came up with the answer or close enough for us to turn the pages and somehow read out loudly what the real answer was. An example of the fun of learning:

Cofield Race1Nga asked the group, how long is one term of office for a member of the US Senate?
Answer: Ranged from 4 to 8 finally someone said 6.  Joseph identified the answer as correct, and the student earned a Constitution bracelet. Just to prove that the teacher was fair, Nga looked up the answer and page where it could be found in the Constitution.
Correct Answer: Six (6) years (pg. 2) (a student read out loudly and with boldness, “The Senate of the United States…for six Years; and each Senator shall have one Vote).

What a great teaching moment on November 8, 2014! The students freely hung around after the race earned their Liberty Day Constitution booklet and Constitution bracelet and vowed that they would pass this knowledge on to others and will challenge other with their new expanded knowledge about the United States Constitution.

Special thanks to my mentor and great professor Dr. Robert Safransky (Dr. S.) for reminding me about the glove and GRASP method for teaching the five parts of the 1st Amendment.  Also special thanks to a great parent by the name of Deirdre Clemons for sharing how her children were so eager to learn the Constitution beyond the classroom. Thus, I am never afraid that the students will be turned off from wanting to learning beyond the wall of the classrooms.

I just found another way to grab a teaching moment and share the United States Constitution.

Respectfully,
Joseph Cofield
Florida State Coordinator, Liberty Day Institute

About Liberty Day Institute

Founded in Denver, Colorado, in 1996, the Liberty Day Institute empowers educators to teach the U.S. Constitution and American Government using our Complete Educational Resource package.

17 Comments

  1. Keith Flaugh December 6, 2014 5:33 am / Reply

    Great getting to know you Joseph- looking forward to working with you!

    • Joseph Cofield December 27, 2014 8:01 pm / Reply

      Keith thanks! I believe and I can see as well each day where we are truly making a difference in expanding the minds of our youth about the United States Constitution

      Joseph

  2. Deirdre Clemons December 6, 2014 5:04 pm / Reply

    Joseph is a force to be reckoned with. His dedication to this country and its youth is unshakable. He has come up with some resistance in, of all places, Collier County school district. But he is not deterred nor intimidated. He is a man on a mission. If he is allowed to accomplish his mission, it could be a key factor in saving our nation as a free constitutional republic for generations to come. Thank you Joseph for your tireless dedication to this nation and the preservation of the greatest free country the world has ever seen!

    • Joseph Cofield December 27, 2014 8:30 pm / Reply

      Thanks Deirdre for your very kind words. I view each temporary setback as just another opportunity to push a little harder and to help educate those who just do not understand we have an obligation to educate our youth about the United States Constitution. Our children deserve to live in this great country we call home and to enjoy those freedoms granted to them and which we now enjoy. James Madison challenged every generation to teach the youth about the United States Constitution so our nation will forever stay strong. I will continue to fulfill my obligations because it is the right thing to do.

      Joseph

  3. Mimi December 12, 2014 10:53 pm / Reply

    What a great way to teach the Constitution! Joseph is a great teacher giving the kids a passion for learning.

    • Joseph Cofield December 27, 2014 8:37 pm / Reply

      Mimi thanks for the observation of yet another way to teach the United States Constitution. We must find ways to reach our youth and share with them this great document we call the United States Constitution.

  4. ART GARRISON December 12, 2014 10:59 pm / Reply

    GREAT STORY JOSEPH!

    • Joseph Cofield December 27, 2014 8:50 pm / Reply

      Thanks Art, we all had a great time. I hope that the children will continue to pass on their knowledge learned of the United States Constitution.

      Joseph

  5. Rachel December 12, 2014 11:47 pm / Reply

    Good for you, Joseph. I’m proud to call you a friend!

    • Joseph Cofield December 27, 2014 8:52 pm / Reply

      Thanks Rachel! I am so blessed to have a dear friend such as you. God truly allowed our path to cross.

      Joseph

  6. April Hoover December 13, 2014 8:27 am / Reply

    What a great organization! We all need to understand the Constitution and why it’s so important to our country’s founding…and continued existence! Thanks Joseph.

  7. Lee Morrison December 13, 2014 9:17 am / Reply

    Joseph, I am not surprised at your creative way of teaching and sharing with the youth. I know you will continue to do great things with the minds of our children.

    • Joseph Cofield December 27, 2014 8:57 pm / Reply

      Thanks Lee, I get up every day thinking how can I get better at reaching our youth and assisting in expanding their minds about the United States Constitution.

      Joseph

  8. Anita Munoz December 28, 2014 11:04 pm / Reply

    Great website Mr. Cofield! It is very important to learn about and understand the United States Constitution!

  9. Annie Mac April 30, 2015 1:07 pm / Reply

    Thank you for the info. Are you available as a speaker for a woman’s service group on the constitution?

    • Joseph Cofield May 12, 2015 7:38 am / Reply

      Hello Annie,
      I would love to speak with your woman’s service group on the Constitution. You just let me know and I will prepare my presentation to meet your needs. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to speak about something that I am very passion about.

      Joseph

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