True story. Yesterday in social studies class.
The Framers were only a few years past the Treaty of Paris and a long war against the tyranny of King George III. I wanted my fourth-graders to understand how important the separation of powers was to these men. They did not want power concentrated in one man. They didn't want a king or a dictator.
Trying to think of a tyrant with whom kids in 2012 are familiar I suggested Saddam Hussein. I called "Joe" forward to act the part of the Iraqi dictator. We imagined a few scenarios as Joe/Saddam acted as legislature, court, and executive rolled into one. The simulation seemed to be working.
We finished up and Joe started toward his seat but stopped as if reminded of something, turned and asked, "But what did he sing?"
"What's that?" I asked.
"What did he sing?"
"I don't understand. What did WHO sing?"
"Saddam," he exclaimed, in earnest frustration, "you said he was Saddam who sang!"