Two or Three Fifty-Minute Class Periods
Using the town meeting format, students will design a detailed plan for a philanthropic activity. It is up to the students, with some class time provided, to complete the project. See Extension for suggestions.
See if the students can remember the Anticipatory Set from Lesson Two: What is Government?. (They were asked in the Anticipatory Set to "create a government.") Explain that they will now be given information that will allow them to create a classroom government at this time. Once they learn the skills of parliamentary procedure, the students will be given a chance to put them into practice. A more complicated version of "parli pro," as it is often referred to, is used in some high school student councils, college student councils, city councils, school board meetings, the state legislature and Congress. Explain that knowing parliamentary procedure allows everyone to participate effectively in public meetings.
As a unit assessment, have students create a crossword puzzle using the vocabulary learned in this unit. Words should reflect philanthropy, citizenship, nonprofits, roles of various levels of government, national documents, parliamentary procedure, classroom rules and service project learnings.
Later in the school year or immediately following the introductory meetings, allow students to plan a philanthropic activity using the town meeting format. They should create a detailed plan of action to be followed. This can be done instead of the Classroom Rules and Constitution portion of the lesson.
Teacher Note: I usually give students free reign, within reason, and the resources of the school. Once they come up with their idea, I create a grading rubric. It is up to them, with some class time provided, to complete the project. I have had classes create anti-smoking skits for elementary kids, hold car-washes to benefit local nonprofits, and host a week-long Random Acts of Kindness week for the entire school. The key is to have the class conduct a needs survey of the school or local community before they hold their meeting. Having the class create their own service project is the primary reason I teach them the town meeting format.
Lesson Developed By:Amy Six-King
town meeting: form of local government where citizens discuss issues; originated in New England states; considered a form of direct democracy
moderator: individual nominated and voted upon by the class to run the town meeting
agenda: an official order of items, on paper/board/transparency, to be followed in a meeting or convention
eligibility: requirements individuals must meet to participate in the town meeting; determined by the class/group
quorum: number of people that must be present to hold a town meeting; determined by the class
procedures: specifications as to how the meeting will be run
point of privilege: statement made prior to citizen making a statement
point of information: statement made prior to citizen asking a question
point of opposition: statement made as opinion is given that disagrees with viewpoint of another citizen
I make a motion or I move: A proposal by one member for consideration and action of the group that is meeting.
Does anyone second that motion? The moderator must call for the motion to be "seconded" by another citizen in the class before the action can take place; if no second is given, the motion is dropped. If the motion is seconded, the motion will go to a vote by the class with majority rule passing the motion; if a majority is not present, the motion is dropped.
Sample created by Grand Ledge High School students, 1999
Teacher Note: Items may be added or deleted based on need. The Sample Classroom Constitution is only an outline. I allow my classes to create their own eligibility, quorum and procedures for town meetings. After a two-day break, they then use their "Classroom Constitution" to create their classroom rules. I then type up the entire document, title it "Classroom Constitution" and have each student glue a copy in their notebooks as a reference. The students usually have town meetings four or five times during a semester, as I and as they see fit. After this mini-unit, I then launch into my unit on the Constitution.
I. History of Parliamentary Procedure
A. The "Parli Pro" used today comes from Robert's Rules of Order.
B. Henry Martyn Robert did not know how to run an effective meeting.
a. He studied parliamentary law.
b. He wrote a user friendly how-to manual in 1876.
c. His ninth edition of Robert's Rules of Order was published in 1990.
C. Purpose of Parliamentary Procedure
a. To provide order to a meeting
b. To provide focus for the meeting
c. To ensure fairness for all members of the meeting
D. General Principles of "Parli Pro"
a. Majority rule/minority rights
b. Deal with one matter at a time
c. Members have rights & obligations1. Right to be heard
2. Right to oppose
3. Right to request information
All rights reserved. Permission is granted to freely use this information for nonprofit (noncommercial), educational purposes only. Copyright must be acknowledged on all copies.