Civics360: A New Resource for Civic Education



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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.

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VIRTUAL Florida Council for the Social Studies Annual Conference NEXT MONTH!

Friends in the social studies, it’s always important to seek opportunities to network and grow in our learning, and an opportunity nears soon! On February 20, 2021, the Florida Council for the Social Studies will be hosting its first ever virtual conference! This conference, rescheduled after a delay caused by COVID-19, features a number of excellent sessions and opportunities for connecting, and over the next couple of weeks, I will be highlighting some of the more exciting sessions! But first, FCSS is excited to announce its two keynote sessions that connect to the conference theme: Living Through History: Making Good Trouble.

Dr. Charles Flanagan of the National Archives Center for Legislative Archives

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 19thamendment, hear FCSS keynote speaker Dr. Charles Flanagan highlight the impact this amendment has had on American society. “In Their own Words: Women’s Petition’s to Congress,” will highlight never before seen documents housed in the Archives for teachers to utilize with their students when they teach this important amendment.

Joseph Schmidt, Maine Department of Education

Courageous Conversations about Contentious Topics – If we don’t actively engage students in contentious conversations that our society is currently struggling with then what type of citizens are we preparing them to be? If we abdicate our responsibility as educators and school districts, then we cannot be surprised when we have people who struggle to engage with others both online and in person and I think most people agree that our society needs help in being better about that. That is why we need to allow them to practice this is a safe environment, because right now the environment outside of our classrooms is not a safe place to practice disagreeing with each other.

Register now for the conference, and be sure to check back here often to learn more about the sessions!

Civics in Real Life: Impeachment, the 25th Amendment, and Sedition

Good morning, friends. It has certainly been quite a couple of weeks for those of us who work in civic education, has it not? To address some of the events that have happened recently, and the sometimes complicated concepts that have been in the news, we have created three resources for you in our Civics in Real Life series. Each of these resources allow you to discuss current events with students in a manner that encourages deeper discussion and without a particular partisan stance. These take a ‘just the facts’ approach to historical and civics concepts and ideas. Click on each title to access the document.

What is the line between peaceful protest and the threat of sedition?

The 25th Amendment
How is presidential power and succession addressed by the 25th Amendment?

What is the purpose of impeachment and how does it work?

Be sure to check out the rest of the supports provided through our series. It is updated weekly, so be sure to check back often!

Resources for Teaching About the Events of 06 Jan 21

Good afternoon, friends. This post is simply a compilation of resources that can be used to teach about concepts, ideas, actions, or anything else connected to the events of 06 January 2021. We will add to these over time.

Civics in Real Life
Controlling the Chambers
Inching Towards Inauguration
Presidential Transition
The Electoral College
Civil Disobedience
The First Amendment
The Consent of the Governed

Resources on the Foundations of Democracy (from AFT)
Peaceful Transitions (from Bill of Rights Institute)
Resources from the National Constitution Center

Lesson Plan: Reactions to the January 6 Attacks on the U.S. Capitol
Lesson Plan: The History of Contested Presidential Elections 
 Lesson Plan: Learning from Previous Presidential Transitions
Video Clip: Electoral Count Interrupted as Mob Enters Capitol
Video Clip: Majority Leader McConnell (R-KY) on Electoral Count Vote  
Video Clip: The Process for Counting Electoral Votes in Congress

How to Have a Civil Civic Conversation (from Constituting America)

Responding to the Insurrection (from Facing History)

Multiple Resources Collected from #sschat

New Webinar: Presidential Inaugurations and Why They Matter


Our recent Civics in Real Life materials have focused on aspects of the presidential election and the path towards inauguration. At the request of teachers, and as part of our new ongoing webinar series connecting civics topics to current events or required instruction, we will be doing an Inauguration Day webinar in January!

Join us on January 13th at 3pm (an in-service day for most districts, but this WILL be recorded!) for our second webinar,Presidential Inaugurations & Why They Matter. In this webinar, Associate Director of the Lou Frey Institute Dr. Terri Fine will discuss the constitutional and political reasons why presidential inaugurations matter. What is the meaning of this significant event, and how does the inauguration set the tone for the new president’s first months in office? Dr. Fine will provide some useful resources and discuss ways to integrate this topic into your classroom instruction. Click on the flyer to register, and please share!

Did You Miss the LFI/FJCC Webinar on Ocoee?

Good morning friends! On Wednesday 09 December, we virtually hosted Dr. Robert Cassanello for a webinar to introduce teachers to the 1920 Ocoee Election Day Massacre, which is soon to be required instruction in Florida Schools. Professor Cassanello explored the history and meaning of that horrible event, as well as how it has been considered over time. The webinar included a discussion of resources that could be used for instruction, as well as ways to align the content to standards. We are incredibly grateful to Dr. Cassanello for his participation! If you missed the session, you can view it on our channel at Schooltube (which includes some more features connected to the video that you may find beneficial) or simply click play below.

In addition, Dr. Cassanello was kind enough to share with us the PowerPoint (email us for this!) and resource list for his session (linked below). You should also consider the Civics in Real Life resource that discusses the key details of the massacre itself.

We hope that you find benefit in this webinar, and if you want to get on our newsletter mailing list, send us an email for news on updates, opportunities, and upcoming webinars and resources!

Florida Council for the Social Studies 63rd Annual Conference (Now Virtual!)

In happy news, the Florida Council for the Social Studies’ 63rd Annual Conference, which had been postponed due to COVID-19, has now been rescheduled as a virtual conference!

We so hope you will join the good folks at FCSS for this virtual conference. Work is being done to line up some excellent sessions and speakers, and we expect that this virtual conference will provide a new and more flexible opportunity to engage with colleagues while expanding professional learning!

You can register for the conference here. And if you want to present (and we hope you do!), you can submit your proposal here! Proposals are due no later than 30 November.

Come join us, and make good trouble.

Free Webinar: The 1920 Ocoee Election Day Massacre

Good morning, friends. I wanted to share with you an opportunity that you might find beneficial. Earlier this year, the Florida legislature mandated that teachers be prepared to teach about the 1920 Ocoee Election Day Massacre by the 2021-2022 school year. While Florida does have a task force working hard on how it should be taught, we are honored to bring you a new learning opportunity in December.

We will be joined by noted expert and researcher Dr. Robert Cassanello on Wednesday, December 9 at 3pm to talk about what you need to know about this tragic and horrific event, and how you can approach it in your classroom. We hope that you can join us, even if you aren’t in Florida. This event is symbolic of so much of the effort to secure voting rights in the face of oppression, and aligns well with instruction on both the civil rights effort and the backlash to it.

You can register for this webinar here. Questions? Contact us!

Free Online Professional Development for Civics, Government, and US History

Are you looking for some free, self-paced professional development? Be sure to check out what the Lou Frey Institute/FJCC offers. These are all FREE courses and can be completed at your own pace.

Our most extensive free course series is the Civics Classroom. This four course series focuses on preparing civics teachers with the pedagogy necessary for good instruction! Be sure to visit the Civics Classroom page to get the syllabus for each course in this series.

A Prepared Classroom

A Prepared Classroom provides teachers with an understanding of:

  • Course descriptions and the Civics End-of-Course Test Item Specifications,
  • How to utilize curriculum and pacing guides,
  • The value of strategic planning and preparing for instruction, and
  • Making informed decisions about instruction based on formative and summative data.
  • (This course has a module that targets primarily civics in Florida but can still be applicable for any teacher!)
A Cognitively Complex Classroom

A Cognitively Complex Classroom provides teachers with an understanding of:

  • The role of cognitive complexity when facilitating instruction and assessment,
  • Utilizing strategies and structures, and
  • Developing learning activities that integrate English Language Arts and disciplinary literacy skills.
A Cohesive Classroom

A Cohesive Classroom provides teachers with an understanding of:

  • identifying the needs of students for scaffolded and differentiated supports aligned with the Universal Design for Learning and,
  • how to develop a responsive civics classroom that builds academic and social-emotional competencies.
A Constitutional Classroom

A Constitutional Classroom will provide teachers with an understanding of:

  • Major ideas in the U.S. Constitution,
  • How to apply disciplinary literacy skills, and
  • Preparing for instruction to make content accessible for all learners.

This last course was actually developed in collaboration with Dr. Charlie Flanagan of NARA’s Center for Legislative Archives and with Bay District Schools!


We now offer a course in what we hope will be a strong and long series for high school US history! The High School US History: The Civil War and Reconstruction Era is, like A Constitutional Classroom in the Civics course series, hosted by our friend Dr. Charles Flanagan from the National Archives’ Center for Legislative Archives and was developed in collaboration with our partners at Bay District Schools. 

The High School US History: Civil War and Reconstruction course will provide teachers with pedagogy, content, and resources for:

  • the major ideas of the cause, course, and consequences of the Civil War and Reconstruction Era
  • primary sources and disciplinary literacy
  • strategies and structures for accessible learning

You can get info to register for the new course and download the syllabus at the course page on Florida Citizen.

But what about you folks in high school US Government? We have a new course for you as well!

The High School Government Classroom: Building Critical Knowledge course will provide teachers with pedagogy, content, and resources for:

  • lesson planning and preparation in social studies
  • the principles of American democracy
  • the US Constitution
  • Founding Documents
  • Landmark Cases

For Florida teachers, this course is intended to help you prepare students for the new Civic Literacy Assessment. However, it also provides a basic foundation in US government content, pedagogy, and resources and aligns with the newHigh School US Government modules on Civics360! (And there will be a post on the launch of that new resource later!). 

You can get info to register for the course and download the syllabus over at, you guessed it, Florida Citizen.

We hope that you find these new courses beneficial!

Questions? Email Steve!

Previewing Changes to Civics360

Friends, hope this post finds you well on this Election Eve! We have been working hard on improving our resources. In addition to our Civics in Real Life tool, we of course have Civics360. That latter platform has entered a beta stage for relaunch, and I wanted to take a few minutes and show some of the changes coming to Civics360.

The most significant change is to the registration process. Traditionally, teachers and students would register individually, and we asked for emails, names, and all that fun and potentially privacy-problematic stuff. Well, recognizing this, we have moved forward with updating the system to much easier and whole new process.

Teacher Registration

When you access Civics360, you’ll be asked to select an account type. As an educator, you would select that option.

Once you have selected that, enter your the email and password you want to use. You’ll be asked to create a profile.

Enter your information. A new change that should benefit folks not working in a Florida public school: you can now enter your own school!

Once you have completed your initial profile, you will be taken to your own page. Here, finish your profile with some more specifics.

Now, a brand new feature that we are adding: classrooms! You will be able to create your own ‘class’.

Note the code that was created for that class. That’s important! Right now, I have no one enrolled, as you will see below.

I guess I need some students! So I will send them to Civics360, armed with the classroom code I created.

The entire registration process for students has changed significantly! Now, they will get a randomly generated user name, and can create their own password. They should also enter the classroom code you created! You’ll note that it auto-identifies what the class is. So let’s pop back over to the teacher profile!

And I have the first student in my class! With this new approach, the goal is to let you handle registration and password recovery yourself, immediately, as well as tracking student work and having separate class groups.

Now, THIS IS ALL STILL IN THE BETA TESTING PHASE and we are working hard to ensure it is bug free and does everything we need it to do. I do not yet have an estimated launch time, but we are excited to at least give you a preview! The most important change is to the student registration process. We will no longer ask them for ANY information, to better address privacy concerns, and it is now essentially a one click registration for students!

I hope that this preview of what is to come was interesting, and that you will continue to use Civics360 and the other resources that we offer. Questions? Shoot us an email anytime!

Tomorrow’s Webinar with AFT on Civics in Real Life and Civics360!

Educator friends, we are doing a webinar tomorrow evening with the American Federation of Teachers Share My Lesson folks, on using Civics in Real Life and Civics360 to teach about civics and current events. We hope that you can join us! Webinar opportunity from the Lou Frey Institute

Thursday, October 15, 2020 – 5:00PM EDT – FREE –

Join Christopher Spinale, Val McVey and Steve Masyada, all of the Lou Frey Institute and Share My Lesson for a conversation on virtual resources for civics and current events. ·

Some of the most difficult topics for educators to address in the classroom are current events. How do we approach current events in a way that connects to our content while also allowing opportunities for both discussion and engagement? · This webinar will share virtual resources that can be used to address current events from a civics lens. The Lou Frey Institute will discuss its Civics in Real Life series, a weekly series which uses civics concepts to explore current events in a one page, student friendly, image rich text. This includes hyperlinks to related content and a closing activity that encourages reflection and engagement. · The webinar session will discuss ways in which this resource can be integrated into both face to face and virtual instruction while also discussing the use of the free Civics360 content platform as a means of building foundational knowledge through a virtual resource. · Available for one-hour of PD credit. A certificate of completion will be available for download at the end of your session that you can submit for your school’s or district’s approval.