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Check out our complete list of US History Lessons.
The School House Rocks videos (most if not all the clips can be found on schooltube) are a useful and different way to review some major events and themes covered during a U.S. History course. (It also might be useful to show these just before a final exam or state assessment.) The clips are short and can be covered in a relatively short amount of class time.
Prior to watching, the students complete a viewing sheet to see how many students already know they answers. At the end of each segment, the class discusses the themes associated with each cartoon. The cartoons also can be show individually during the point of the year that you cover a particular topic.
The goal for each video is to share:

  • Pre-veiwing questions.
  • The video.
  • The lyrics.
  • The themes.

Below is the worksheet I give to the students along with a few “teacher” notes. Hopefully both are useful.

I’m Just a Bill

Pre-Viewing Questions (to test prior knowledge)
1. What are the federal legislative bodies?
2. What is the total number of Senators?
3. What is the total number of Representatives?
4. What are the 3 branches of government?
5. What is a veto?

I’m Just a Bill

I’m Just a Bill

Boy: Woof! You sure got to climb a lot of steps to get to this Capitol Building here in Washington. But I wonder who that sad little scrap of paper is?

Bill: I’m just a bill
Yes, I’m only a bill
And I’m sitting here on Capitol Hill
Well, it’s a long, long journey
To the capital city
It’s a long, long wait
While I’m sitting in committee
But I know I’ll be a law someday
At least I hope and pray that I will
But today I am still just a bill

Boy: Gee, Bill, you certainly have a lot of patience and courage

Bill: Well I got this far. When I started, I wasn’t even a bill, I was just an idea. Some folks back home decided they wanted a law passed, so they called their local Congressman and he said, “You’re right, there ought to be a law.” Then he sat down and wrote me out and introduced me to Congress. And I became a bill, and I’ll remain a bill until they decide to make me a law.

I’m just a bill
Yes, I’m only a bill,
And I got as far as Capitol Hill
Well, now I’m stuck in committee
And I’ll sit here and wait
While a few key Congressmen discuss and debate
Whether they should let me be a law
How I hope and pray that they will
But today I am still just a bill

Boy: Listen to those congressmen arguing! Is all that discussion and debate about you?

Bill: Yeah, I’m one of the lucky ones. Most bills never even get this far. I hope they decide to report on me favorably, otherwise I may die.

Boy: Die?

Bill: Yeah, die in committee. Oh, but it looks like I’m going to live! Now I go to the House of Representatives, and they vote on me.

Boy: If they vote yes, what happens?

Bill: Then I go to the Senate and the whole thing starts all over again.

Boy: Oh no!

Bill: Oh yes!

I’m just a bill
Yes, I’m only a bill
And if they vote for me on Capitol Hill
Well, then I’m off to the White House
Where I’ll wait in a line
With a lot of other bills
For the president to sign
And if he signs me, then I’ll be a law
How I hope and pray that he will
But today I am still just a bill

Boy: You mean even if the whole Congress says you should be a law, the president can still say no?

Bill: Yes, that’s called a veto. If the President vetoes me, I have to go back to Congress and they vote on me again, and by that time you’re so old . . .

Boy: By that time it’s very unlikely that you’ll become a law. It’s not easy to become a law, is it?

Bill: No!

But how I hope and I pray that I will
But today I am still just a bill

Congressman: He signed you, Bill! Now you’re a law!

Bill: Oh yes!


Capitol Hill
White House
House of Representatives