Civics360: A New Resource for Civic Education

Featured

Tags

, , , , ,

Good morning, friends in Civics. Over the past few years, teachers here in Florida and elsewhere in the United States have made heavy use of the Escambia Civics Review Site. We do believe that the partnership with Escambia County and the willingness of that district to host and share resources for teaching and learning has been beneficial for everyone. Over time, however, requests have been made and ideas contemplated about improvements that could be made to make that site even better. These requests and ideas include more student friendly videos, more helpful assessment tools, and resources for ESOL students and struggling readers. With that in mind, the Florida Joint Center for Citizenship, in partnership with Escambia County Schools,  is excited to announce the launching of a new Civics review site that will, later this summer, replace the currect Escambia Civics Review Site: Civics360. Civics360 is free to all registered users, much like our current Florida Citizen website. This site is now live and available for your use.

civics360 cover

So what are the new features you will find in Civics360? Take a look at the orientation video below, which walks you through the registration process, and read the rest of the post to learn about what we hope will be a useful resource for you and your students.

Continue reading

Florida Council for the Social Studies Annual Conference: Session Highlights!

agenda

A reminder, dear friends and colleagues, that the Florida Council for the Social Studies Annual Conference is fast approaching (and you can register here!). So let’s take a look at some of the sessions on the docket for the conference! We’ll be doing this over the next few weeks, highlighting 3 to 5 interesting sessions that are likely to draw your interest.

Saturday, October 19

It’s a Bird, it’s a Plane, it’s Propaganda! 

Supermanshorttitle

This looks fantastic! The approach taken here to this session is simply really cool.

Is Superman simply a tool for wartime propaganda or a reflection of national identity? This session will engage the participants through the use of original Superman comic books and cover art to answer this question. The participants will be provided with a brief background about Superman, where they will receive a copy of his “origin” from the 1940s comics. Using the propaganda analysis tool and a list of propaganda techniques, the participants will engage in an analysis of the cover art from the 1940s Superman comic books. These will then be compared to the cover art of the Wonder Woman comics, through analysis and evaluation. Additionally, the participants will read a comic about Superman that is titled, “How Superman would end the war” as well as the German response to the comic in order to determine if Superman is being used more for propaganda or if he is a reflection of national identity.

Be sure to check out this session. I know I will try to be there!

Historical Thinking With Cinderella


What an interesting approach to using primary sources with elementary kids!

Using different sources from the Library of Congress, we plan to show our participant how to compare the history of Cinderella using Dr. Sam Wineburg’s Historical Thinking Skills. The Cinderella story we know today seems to have started it’s journey as early as 1697 in Paris. The original story then travels throughout Europe and the world, turning into culturally influenced branches of the original Cinderella story.

This integrates Wineburg’s work with fairy tales! Another session that should attract a good crowd!

Accountable Talk in the Civics Classroom (Poster Session)

posters

We will be featuring a number of poster sessions at the conference this year, and this one looks good, especially if you are as civics-obsessed as your humble bloghost!

Because of how polarized our political world is today, many teachers (ourselves included!) have shied away from engaging students in discussion-based activities, despite all of the research regarding the importance of student ownership in and discovery-based learning. In order to overcome this fear, we have implemented accountable talk during student-led conversations in order to keep the students engaged in the content, thinking critically about the material, and expressing their opinions- all while being respectful of their fellow classmates and differing opinions. In our presentation, we will give teachers a playbook for how to utilize accountable talk in their classrooms. We will discuss how to prepare the class to use accountable talk, we will provide examples of statement stems that will help teachers implement the accountable talk, and we will discuss potential challenges and solutions that we have discovered ourselves while using accountable talk in the classroom. We will also provide specific examples/lesson plans we have used in our classrooms that have centered around using accountable talk (appropriate for both for middle and early high school aged students.)

I look forward to checking this out!

Sunday October 20 (80 Minute Sessions)

Formative Assessments to the Rescue

i said I taught him

Formative assessments are so very important in the social studies and oh there are so many! What are the best ones to use? How can we think about formative assessments that we can use in our different content areas?

Do you need a quick check for understanding from your students but you don’t want to grade another piece of paper? Come and join this interactive workshop on formative assessments and how you can use them in your social studies classroom. All social studies disciplines are welcome. Participants will be shown a variety of formative assessment strategies to help them in their social studies classroom. We want to get away from the paper-based quizzes and more toward “quick checks” that are engaging and more interactive for students but give valuable, immediate feedback for teachers. The presentation is adaptable for all social studies curriculums. Some strategies include SWAT, Agreement Lines, Value Line or Human Spectrum, Odd One Out, Inside/Outside Circles, ABC Graffiti, Grafitti Review, Shower Curtain Review, and many more. We would like to give some time in between strategies for teachers to think how they would use each strategy in their own classroom.

So these are just some of the cool sessions we will be having at the conference. Why don’t you go ahead and register for this now! 

American Founders Month: Thomas Jefferson!

FMimage

Check out the National Constitution Center’s biographies of the Founding Fathers! https://constitutioncenter.org/learn/educational-resources/founding-fathers

It’s Founders Month here in Florida! According to the Florida Department of Education,

Section (s.) 683.1455, Florida Statutes (F.S.), designates the month of September as American Founders‘ Month and s. 1003.421, F.S., recognizes the last full week of classes in September in public schools as Celebrate Freedom Week.

So what does this mean for our schools and kids and teachers? Basically, it’s time to do some learning about the men and women who have helped shape this state and this country. Here on our Florida Citizens blog, we’ll be doing at least two posts a week with a brief overview of a particular Founder, Framer, thinker, or shaper of this state or this nation and how they made an impact.

Sept 25 Jefferson

American Founders’ Month continues in Florida. Today, we look at Thomas Jefferson. Out of all of the Founders’, it may be Thomas Jefferson that most schoolchildren are most familiar with. They know him, of course, as the author of the Declaration of Independence. The Declaration, of course, is considered on of the clearest rebukes of tyranny ever written, and it remains to this day a symbol of the pursuit of liberty the world over.

Like many of his peers, however, Jefferson was a man of massive contradictions. An advocate for liberty who owned a great many slaves, a slaveowner who recognized the evils of slavery (‘the rock upon which the Union would split’) but never freed his own slaves (unlike his colleague and friend George Washington, who freed his own upon his death), an opponent of an activist and strong central government who nevertheless used his power to purchase vast swathes of land from the French (despite his doubts about whether the Constitution gave him that power), and a believer in the importance of civility and comity in politics and life who was involved in one of the most brutal presidential campaigns in American history.

Thomas Jefferson was indeed many things, some good, some bad, but all important to the legacy of freedom and the Founders of this country. As one of his successors as president, John F. Kennedy, once said while hosting a dinner for Nobel Prize winners,

I want to tell you how welcome you are to the White House. I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered together at the White House, with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone.
Someone once said that Thomas Jefferson was a gentleman of 32 who could calculate an eclipse, survey an estate, tie an artery, plan an edifice, try a cause, break a horse, and dance the minuet.

Log in and learn more about Thomas Jefferson from this excellent lesson provided by our friends at iCivics! 

You can grab the PowerPoint featured at the top of this post here: Thomas Jefferson AFM

It’s Constitution Day!

us-constitution

Good morning, friends! It’s Constitution Day today! September 17th celebrates that day back in 1787 when the Framers and Founders gave us our Constitution. It is, to this day, the oldest written and codified national constitution still in force. Yes, it has flaws and weaknesses, but it has also given us a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, and allowed for the growth of liberty and freedom over time in these United States. The fact that it is so very adaptable to the times is important, and it has allowed the nation to work towards those founding principles of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, even if it has not always been able to reach them.

Now, if you ask me, every day should be Constitution Day! So where can you find some resources for teaching about Constitution Day?

Students Investigating Primary Sources 

On the Florida Citizen website, you will find a number of primary source-oriented lessons built around the founding documents, targeting grades 3-12 and exposing students to the principles of our founding and the documents that create the framework for the liberties we enjoy today. These were developed in collaboration with the National Archives and with teachers from across the state of Florida. There are lessons there that cover the entire Freedom Week! Our elementary and middle school lesson plans elsewhere on the website also address different aspects of the Constitution and our other founding documents. Be sure to check out these free resources! 

The Civics Renewal Network

How about some resources shared through our friends at the Civics Renewal Network ? Of course, we need to begin with the Preamble Challenge!

Preamble Challenge

CRN PRAMBLE

Find terrific classroom activities and lessons for all grade levels with the free online Teacher Toolkit. Take the Preamble Challenge, and today, share your videos and photos on Twitter and Instagram using #renewcivics and #preamblechallenge. Let’s see all sorts of creative ideas for learning about the Preamble.

Check out some more CRN-linked resources on the Constitution here! 

For more CRN-linked resources from the FJCC, go here.

Schoolhouse Rock

Well, it IS a classic, isn’t it?

 

Founders Month 2019: Judith Sargent Murray

FMimage

Check out the National Constitution Center’s biographies of the Founding Fathers! https://constitutioncenter.org/learn/educational-resources/founding-fathers

It’s Founders Month here in Florida! According to the Florida Department of Education,

Section (s.) 683.1455, Florida Statutes (F.S.), designates the month of September as American Founders‘ Month and s. 1003.421, F.S., recognizes the last full week of classes in September in public schools as Celebrate Freedom Week.

So what does this mean for our schools and kids and teachers? Basically, it’s time to do some learning about the men and women who have helped shape this state and this country. Here on our Florida Citizens blog, we’ll be doing at least two posts a week with a brief overview of a particular Founder, Framer, thinker, or shaper of this state or this nation and how they made an impact.

image of JSM

Judith Sargent Murray was born in pre-Revolutionary Boston, the daughter of a well-to-do merchant family. It as fortunate for us, as it was for her, that her parents believed in educating their daughters as well as their sons. Unfortunately, this education was limited to reading and writing; Sargent Murray had little opportunity for advanced education. Instead, she took advantage of her father’s vast library and educated herself in history, civics, philosophy, literature, and so much more. This education, so much of it self-taught, she put to work as a writer and thinker and, most importantly, advocate for the rights of women and the equality of the sexes.

For Judith Sargent Murray, the way in which we consider the roles and educations of boys and girls was unjust, stifling, and wrong. In her seminal work, ‘On the Equality of the Sexes‘ (1790), she raises doubts about the argument that men are inherently the intellectual superiors to women:

“Yet it may be questioned, from what doth this superiority, in thus discriminating faculty of the soul proceed. May we not trace its source in the difference of education, and continued advantage?…As their years increase, the sister must be wholly domesticated, while the brother is led by the hand through all the flowery paths of science”

In other words, the only reason men can claim superiority to women is because we do not give women the same education and opportunities as men! This theme would reappear throughout her work over the years, and she never ceased believing that America offered a great opportunity for a reconsideration of the role and education of girls. The new nation, after all, needed women who would raise the next generation to believe in and understand the American spirit and model, a ‘Republican motherhood‘ that required educated, passionate, and (to a degree for its day) liberated women.

Sargent Murray practiced what she preached, educating the children in her house as she believed they deserved and as was right. She also wrote hundreds of essays and letters and articles, many of which were published under pen names in such a way as to hide the fact that she was a woman, for she feared her arguments would be automatically rejected. She was a ‘Founding Mother’ of the pursuit of equal rights, an advocate for the American project, and someone who encouraged the new nation to live up to the ideals it promised. You can learn more about the wonderful Judith Sargent Murray from this excellent lesson.

Grab the PowerPoint featured at the top of this post: JSM 2019

And of COURSE this Freedom Month don’t forget the Preamble Challenge from our friends at the Civics Renewal Network! Check it out today!

Next up: Thomas Jefferson!

ALERT: CIVICS360 VIDEOS IMPACTED BY TEACHERTUBE OUTAGE (UPDATED)

AND ITS ALL BACK UP. 🙂

Good morning friends and colleagues. If you use Civics360, you likely noticed the following when you try to load a video:

504 error

Basically, TeacherTube is now down. We have reached out to them to get an ETA on when it will be back up and find out why this happened. Once it is back up we will let you know.

If you absolutely need access to a particular video today, I can send it to you directly to download as a last resort. Email me. 

We apologize for the issues that this causes and are working to get it fixed!

American Founders Month 2019: Mercy Otis Warren!

FMimage

Check out the National Constitution Center’s biographies of the Founding Fathers! https://constitutioncenter.org/learn/educational-resources/founding-fathers

It’s Founders Month here in Florida! According to the Florida Department of Education,

Section (s.) 683.1455, Florida Statutes (F.S.), designates the month of September as American Founders‘ Month and s. 1003.421, F.S., recognizes the last full week of classes in September in public schools as Celebrate Freedom Week.

So what does this mean for our schools and kids and teachers? Basically, it’s time to do some learning about the men and women who have helped shape this state and this country. Here on our Florida Citizens blog, we’ll be doing at least two posts a week with a brief overview of a particular Founder, Framer, thinker, or shaper of this state or this nation and how they made an impact.

Sept 19 Warren

American Founders’ Month continues here in Florida. Today, we take a look at one of the most influential of those women who played a role in the establishment and early days of the United States: Mercy Otis Warren.

Mercy Otis Warren was one of the most well-read and literate residents of Massachusetts in her day, man or woman. A playwright and a historian, an eloquent essayist and inveterate letter writer, she was one of the loudest voices speaking out against the failures and perceived tyranny of British government in Massachusetts and the other colonies.

A long time friend to both Abigail and John Adams, she broke with her dear friend over the creation of the U.S. Constitution, which she opposed as a violation of the ideals she and Adams were strong advocates for during the Revolution. Indeed, she was one of those Anti-Federalists who wrote in response to the Federalist Papers; using the nom de plume ‘A Columbian Patriot’, she wrote powerfully on perceived flaws in the new Constitution, and as herself to her dear friend John Adams on how he had so betrayed what they fought for. Sadly, her relationship with the Adams family never truly recovered.

You can learn more about this fascinating woman through the National Woman’s Hall of Fame. 

Grab the Powerpoint slide featured in this post: Mercy Otis Warren AFM

Another Reason to Attend the FCSS Annual Conference: The Exhibitor Hall!

agenda

Good morning friends! Don’t forget that the 2019 Florida Council for the Social Studies Annual Conference is coming soon (and you can register here!). Not only do we have some excellent sessions planned, but we also have some fine exhibitors joining us. Today, we’ll highlight just a few.

Teaching With Primary Sources
TPS waring

If you aren’t familiar with the work of Dr. Scott Waring and his folks in collaboration with the Library of Congress, you should be! They offer some excellent resources to support the use of primary sources in the classroom, and of course Dr. Waring also has his annual SOURCES conference! Be sure to stop by their table during the FCSS conference.

The Sikh Coalition

sikh

The Sikh Coalition have been generous supporters of FCSS over the years, and we are excited to have them joining us this year as well. They do some excellent work sharing educational resources and tools for folks interested in learning about the Sikh community, as well as on the importance of religious liberty, so integral to our lives as Americans. Check out their table during the FCSS conference!

Indiana University Center on Representative Government
IU

The Center on Representative Government, from Indiana University, are strong supporters of FCSS, and offer some excellent resources relating to civic education!

The Center on Representative Government is a non-partisan, educational institution that has developed an extensive array of free civics education resources and activities to improve the public’s understanding of the role of representative government, to strengthen civic engagement, and to teach the skills that are essential to sustaining our form of representative democracy.

At the core of the Center’s work is the belief that our nation’s great experiment of representative democracy has served us well for more than 200 years, but it fundamentally rests on an informed electorate that understands our system of government and participates in our civic life. Be sure to check out their table at the conference!

And More! 

We’ll highlight additional exhibitors and sessions over the course of the next few weeks. Be sure to check this space for more! Register for the conference today! 

Learn here about the keynote!

Check out some of the sessions!

The Preamble Challenge and Constitution Day Teacher Toolkit from the Civics Renewal Network!

305x185xNews_CRN_Feature.jpg.pagespeed.ic_._IpqUr2Eme-300x182

Hello dear friends in Civics, and welcome to Founders Month! How about some resources shared through our friends at the Civics Renewal Network to start us off and get us ready for the rapidly approaching Constitution Day! Of course, we need to begin with the Preamble Challenge!

Preamble Challenge

CRN PRAMBLE

 

Find terrific classroom activities and lessons for all grade levels with the free online Teacher Toolkit. Take the Preamble Challenge, and on September 17, share your videos and photos on Twitter and Instagram using #renewcivics and #preamblechallenge. Let’s see all sorts of creative ideas for learning about the Preamble.

Check out some more CRN-linked resources on the Constitution here!
A More Perfect Union: George Washington and the Making of the Constitution

mv_byreneecomet

This animated video from George Washington’s Mount Vernon highlights the Constitutional Convention and George Washington’s role in the formation of the new government. Events covered in the video include the causes leading to the 1787 Constitutional Convention, the numerous compromises included in the document , and the challenges in ratifying the Constitution. The video has a run time of 23 minutes and is broken into three chapters for easy navigation.

For more CRN-linked resources from Mount Vernon, go here.

Redistricting and Gerrymandering

gerrmander

In this lesson from Street Law, students will learn how state legislatures and governors can manipulate the redistricting process to gain an advantage for their party in the U.S. House of Representatives and state legislatures. Students will learn what constitutes gerrymandering and the typical types of gerrymandering used. Students will role play state legislators and collaborate to draw both gerrymandered and not gerrymandered districts. Students will consider the foundational redistricting case Baker v. Carr (1962) and classify arguments made in the case. In addition, students will evaluate the proper role of the Supreme Court in state redistricting cases.

For more CRN resources on redistricting, go here.

Why Do People Form Governments?

new_fjcc_long_kv2

Oh, hi! This is an FJCC lesson! How very cool. 🙂 This short lesson for early elementary students is intended to introduce them to the concept of government and how one of the most important purposes of government is to keep us safe. Students will also be introduced to the Constitution and the three branches of government in this lesson from the Florida Joint Center for Citizenship at the Lou Frey Institute.

For more CRN-linked resources from the FJCC, go here. (and we will be adding more to the collection soon!)

 

American Founders’ Month! Today: George Washington

FMimage

Check out the National Constitution Center’s biographies of the Founding Fathers! https://constitutioncenter.org/learn/educational-resources/founding-fathers

It’s Founders Month here in Florida! According to the Florida Department of Education,

Section (s.) 683.1455, Florida Statutes (F.S.), designates the month of September as American Founders‘ Month and s. 1003.421, F.S., recognizes the last full week of classes in September in public schools as Celebrate Freedom Week.

So what does this mean for our schools and kids and teachers? Basically, it’s time to do some learning about the men and women who have helped shape this state and this country. Here on our Florida Citizens blog, we’ll be doing at least two posts a week with a brief overview of a particular Founder, Framer, thinker, or shaper of this state or this nation and how they made an impact.

Sept 3 or 4 Washington

George Washington is perhaps the one Founding Father that most people, both here and abroad, may recognize by both name and image. From his placement on the one dollar bill and the quarter, to his name on numerous cities throughout the United States as well as our architecturally rich capital, Washington is everywhere. There is so much we could say about our first president, from his precedent-setting time as our First Citizen to his (varied) success as a military leader to his mixed feelings about slavery. Today, we bring you this link to Mount Vernon, on the life, legacy, and character of our first president.

You can download the PowerPoint slide on Washington here: George Washington. 

Our next post will discuss one of the first American feminists and a great patriot, Mercy Otis Warren. Watch this space for more!

And don’t forget to check out the resources provided by the Civics Renewal Network for more wonderful stuff for American Founders’ Month!

American Founders’ Month! Today: Phillis Wheatley

FMimage

Check out the National Constitution Center’s biographies of the Founding Fathers! https://constitutioncenter.org/learn/educational-resources/founding-fathers

It’s Founders Month here in Florida! According to the Florida Department of Education,

Section (s.) 683.1455, Florida Statutes (F.S.), designates the month of September as American Founders‘ Month and s. 1003.421, F.S., recognizes the last full week of classes in September in public schools as Celebrate Freedom Week.

So what does this mean for our schools and kids and teachers? Basically, it’s time to do some learning about the men and women who have helped shape this state and this country. Here on our Florida Citizens blog, we’ll be doing at least two posts a week with a brief overview of a particular Founder, Framer, thinker, or shaper of this state or this nation and how they made an impact.

PwFM

(This slide is available here: Wheatley FM)

Our first highlight this week is an incredible woman, one of the first great poets of what would become the United States. Phillis Wheatley was a slave, taken from Africa when she was just seven years old and enslaved by a prominent Boston family (a reminder that American slavery was not a uniquely Southern institution) who recognized her literary genius young and encouraged her poetry and writing, and she gained fame and support from significant figures in New England and in the British Isles. Freed at last when she was about 21, she continued to compose beautiful poetry, meditating on questions of life, death, liberty, family, and hope. One of the most important topics, near and dear to her, though, was America. As the Poetry Foundation tells us:

In addition to classical and neoclassical techniques, Wheatley applied biblical symbolism to evangelize and to comment on slavery. For instance, “On Being Brought from Africa to America,” the best-known Wheatley poem, chides the Great Awakening audience to remember that Africans must be included in the Christian stream: “Remember, Christians, Negroes, black as Cain, /May be refin’d and join th’ angelic train.” The remainder of Wheatley’s themes can be classified as celebrations of America. She was the first to applaud this nation as glorious “Columbia” and that in a letter to no less than the first president of the United States, George Washington, with whom she had corresponded and whom she was later privileged to meet. Her love of virgin America as well as her religious fervor is further suggested by the names of those colonial leaders who signed the attestation that appeared in some copies of Poems on Various Subjects to authenticate and support her work: Thomas Hutchinson, governor of Massachusetts; John Hancock; Andrew Oliver, lieutenant governor; James Bowdoin; and Reverend Mather Byles. Another fervent Wheatley supporter was Dr. Benjamin Rush, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.

Sadly, one of the greatest poets of the early United States died impoverished and alone. Her poetry, though, and through it the memory of her and her dreams of what the new nation COULD be, lives on. You can learn more about Phillis Wheatley from the Poetry Foundation and from the third activity in this excellent lesson plan provided by the National Park Service.

Our next post will discuss our first and perhaps greatest president, George Washington. Watch this space for more!

And don’t forget to check out the resources provided by the Civics Renewal Network for more wonderful stuff for American Founders’ Month!