University of Wisconsin–Madison

Pedagogical Suggestions Using the Celebrations of Ratifications Page

Click here to view the Celebrations of Ratifications Page


The Team Coverage Newscast – An entire class project that simulates a newscast covering the celebrations associated with the ratification of the Constitution.

  • This activity should be done after covering the Philadelphia Convention and the ratification process.
  • Divide the class into the various roles that would be required to do a news broadcast. Roles that you may want to consider in doing this broadcast might be:
  • Anchorperson(s)
  • Camera person(s)
  • Writers
  • Reporters
  • Eye witnesses- These roles will need to be “created” for the purpose of being interviewed so as to tell the story associated with the celebrations in their city.
  • Assign reporters and eyewitnesses to cities to cover the celebrations of the ratification of the Constitution. Be sure to emphasize that although there will some similarities, reporters should pay attention to the distinctions and variations that occurred from city to city. The cities that can be covered in this broadcast are:
  • Lancaster, Pennsylvania
  • Carlisle, Pennsylvania
  • New York, New York- You may want to have more than one reporter to cover the events in New York.
  • Albany, New York
  • Boston, Massachusetts
  • Portsmouth, New Hampshire
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Have the reporters and the eyewitnesses read through the document(s) that are associated with their assigned city. The Celebrations of Ratification page has all of the documents listed. The city names are in each of the items on the list. Each pair might also do a little background reading about the city itself during the late 18th Century. Reporters work primarily on the interview. The eyewitness works primarily on the events in their city and their persona.
  • Reporters and eyewitnesses should begin to construct and write their segment of the newscast. Remember, not all celebrations were peaceful or, for that matter, favorable of the new Constitution. The Albany and Carlisle accounts will bear this out.
  • Reporters should conduct “interviews” with eyewitnesses. If you are filming the interviews it should be easy to edit them into a sequence of interviews.
  • Anchorpersons should do some reading on the ratification period to get background about the time period. Their task is to write and produce the transitions between interviews as the broadcast goes from city to city. It would be helpful for students to watch some broadcasts to see how an anchorperson functions within a story that has a team coverage format.

*All of this will certainly be a multiple day project. Depending on how realistic or sophisticated one wanted to be in this project, you might consider bringing in reporters, broadcasters, costuming experts, and technology professionals. You could also coordinate with the drama departments if you envision a full production.

Scavenger Hunting through the Toasts

  • Divide the class into groups of 3-5 students.
  • Have each group make a T-chart that should look like:

Scavenger Hunting

  • Have each group look at specific document of toasts from the seven items that appear on the Celebrations of Ratification page.
  • After the groups have worked through their individual document have them report their finding to the class.
  • Follow-up activities could be:
  • Having them do some research as to why certain individuals appear in toasts.
  • Comparing all the toasts looking at what items appear in several of the documents.
  • Have them share their thoughts on the imprecatory toasts (toasts that wish ill will on others)

*As a variation on this scavenger hunt, you could have students look for items that have been selected from all the toasts. You would simply construct and handout a have them scavenger through all the toast lists.