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One of the most wonderful things about teaching in the 21st century is the plethora of online resources. I posted earlier today a number of quality online primary sources that could be used to approach the Florida Civics Benchmarks, but there are so many other possible resources out there that can be used, and I want to focus this post on one of my own favorite things (and perhaps yours!), videos. 

There is a growing body of research that addresses integrating 21st century technology, such as Youtube videos, effectively into your curriculum. Of course, we know that using videos in the classroom is not new. I’m sure some folks are familiar with some classic classroom videos: 

Well, there are many videos out there that can work well with our own Benchmarks! So let’s take a look at a few, and discuss how they might align with our Florida Civics Benchmarks! One caveat: videos on Youtube should be downloaded before class so that you can avoid commercials and certain inappropriate images that might appear! Read more to see!

Benchmark 7.C.1.3

Soomo Publishing has done two quality music videos (both of which we will see), and this first one, based on One Republic’s ‘Too Late to Apologize’  works very well to introduce the Declaration of Independence as required by C.1.3. Indeed, we actually use it as an introduction within our lesson plan relating to this benchmark! Even if you don’t use the lesson plan, the video is an excellent warm up, as you can ask students what issues the colonists seem to be having with the King. While it is not necessary or aligned with the benchmark, a fun extra credit might be to have the students try to identify each of the individuals in the video! Plus, Ben Franklin playing the electric guitar without a shirt. Awesome. 

Benchmark 7.C.1.3 and 7.C.1.4

For this one, I’m going to go out to left field a little bit and suggest a nice supplement or warmup to integrate into lessons for these benchmarks might be these excerpts from a great musical, 1776.

The argument over including critiques of slavery in the Declaration

How the King and Parliament have oppressed the colonies

There are lots more possibilities throughout the musical, but these are just a couple that can work as decent warmups, at least! 

Benchmark 7.C.3.7

This benchmark, which addresses how certain amendments impacted participation by minority groups in the American political system, is another lends itself well to a music video from Sooma Publishing. While we don’t have it in our lesson plan (yet!), it is a great warm up and discussion tool to introduce the 19th Amendment and discuss how it illustrates the expansion of civic opportunity! It is based on Lady Gaga’s ‘Bad Romance’, and does a good job drawing the viewer and listener into the debate over the expansion of suffrage! (The ‘singer’, by the way, is modeled on Alice Paul). 

Benchmark 7.C.3.3

This benchmark looks at the structure and function of government. A fun and effective video to introduce this element of the curriculum is a classic Schoolhouse Rock video: Three Ring Circus (somehow a perfect title!). It does a good job breaking down the structure of government and talks about the role of each one in friendly terms. 

Benchmark 7.C.2.1/2.2/2/3

These benchmarks are to me some of the most important, as they ask students to understand what it means to be a citizen, the responsibilities of citizenship, and how one becomes a citizen. A couple of good videos, that I have come across thanks to folks in the great Florida Civics Facebook Group, really illustrate well different elements of these benchmarks and serve as a strong supplement to the FJCC lessons on these benchmarks

Becoming, and Living As, a Good Citizen

The Flag and US (Robin Williams as Old Glory)

Benchmark 7.C.1.5

This benchmark has students exploring the Articles of Confederation and how the Articles failed to create an effective government. 

There are some pretty good videos out there, but one that kids might like is a song/rap about the Articles, created by a student, that breaks down the weaknesses of the Articles as required by the benchmark! 

This post has gotten pretty long, and for that I apologize (if it’s not too late! 😉 ). Next week, I will share some additional videos for other benchmarks that could be used as warmups, wrapups, or supplements to your instruction in each benchmark! 

Do you have any good video suggestions? Let us know in the comments! 

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