Women’s History Month: Shirley Chisholm, Trailblazer


What does it mean to be involved? How can we make a difference in the lives of those who depend on us, and in the lives of those who seek only to have a voice? Shirley Chisholm, the first African-American woman elected to Congress, asked these questions. In addition to being the first African-American woman elected to Congress, she also ran for the Democratic nomination for President in 1972.


Her ‘Unbought and Unbossed’ campaign, while unsuccessful stands as a challenge to those who would sacrifice ideals for power, and stands even now as an example for those women and African-Americans who would follow in her footsteps.

You can learn more about Congresswoman Chisholm at the National Women’s History Museum. The Smithsonian Magazine also has an excellent piece on her presidential campaign. 

PPT Slide for Shirley Chisholm


2018 Florida Council for the Social Studies Conference Call for Proposals

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The Florida Council for the Social Studies, a Gold Star Council, is pleased to announce that proposals are now requested for the 61st annual conference, to be held at the Florida Hotel and Conference Center, October 19-21, 2018. The theme of this years conference centers around the importance of diversity and inclusion within the social studies at all levels of teaching and learning. We are looking for exciting and engaging sessions that will provide teachers with something they will be able to reflect on and use in their classrooms, and we know you have a great session that you are dying to share!

You can submit your proposal here. And you can find more information about this year’s conference at the FCSS website!

We believe we have a fantastic keynote lined up that we will be able to announce soon, and look forward to providing our teachers with some excellent and exciting sessions!

If you wish to sponsor or exhibit at the conference, you can complete the form here.

Questions about sponsorship or exhibits can be directed to Dr. Steve Masyada (stephen.masyada@ucf.edu) or Ms. Peggy Renihan (Peggy.Renihan@fcss.org).

We hope to see you join us!

Student Civic Engagement Today


Today, around the country, students from Kindergarten through higher education are engaged in protests concerning gun violence. However one feels about the issues being debated, students assuming the rights and responsibilities of democratic citizenship  in their communities is something to celebrate. What students are doing today is consistent with our nation’s recent and not so recent  history of young people becoming engaged in their communities and learning the skills of citizenship and civic life.  Let’s consider just a few examples.

Running for Governor in Kansas

In Kansas, which has no age restriction on becoming governor, six teenagers are running for the position, and are running serious campaigns around issues. And their political persuasions run across the spectrum, a mix of conservatism, liberalism, and libertarianism.

Being engaged in the issues, aware of the rules and requirements for office, and taking action to pursue change are not inherently conservative or liberal civic virtues. These young people are engaged in civic action in their state because they saw a need and decided to try and fill it.

Birmingham Children’s March

The Birmingham Children’s March involved more than 1000 kids skipping classes all across Birmingham and marching in favor of civil rights, despite threats and violence perpetrated by people far older than them.  And they swore to continue doing it until change was on the horizon. They modeled for their fellow citizens the better angels of our nature and stood strong in the face of adult persecution and violation of their civil liberties.

Tinker v. Des Moines (1969)

‘Students do not shed their rights at the schoolhouse door.’ A legendary decision, arising as a result of 13 year olds protesting a war they saw as unjust. Indeed, the Tinker decision, and the actions of those students involved in that case, have in some ways inspired the movement today., with the Parkland students citing the Tinker case as something they learned about that helped show what can happen when students become civically engaged.

The Pro-Life/Pro-Choice Movements, Gun Rights, Student Busing, Black Lives Matter, and the ERA

Ongoing debates about controversial civic, political, and societal issues have always involved students, on both sides. Whether arguing and protesting over abortion, pointing out that there are is not uniformity among young people in the gun debate, wading knee deep into the disputes about busing students across northern cities like Boston to integrate schools, marching in the streets in defense of black lives and liberties, or taking sides for or against the Equal Rights Amendment, student civic activism is something that has always been an important pathway into civic life for young people. It is their first taste of the possibilities of civic life and fervor, and encouraging young people to engage with those possibilities can only strengthen the core of American democracy.



Women’s History Month: Elizabeth McCullough Johnson

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Elizabeth McCullough Johnson is an important figure in Florida civics, government, and history. She was the second woman elected to the Florida House, and the first women ever elected to the Florida State Senate. For those of us who live and work in the central Florida area, she is also an incredibly important figure because she is in many ways the mother of our University of Central Florida, the largest (at last count, by population) public university in the country.

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You can learn more about Senator Johnson at Florida Memory.

PowerPoint Slides:
Senator Johnson of FL


Creating a Florida C3 Hub!



We here at the Florida Joint Center for Citizenship are strong advocates of the C3 Framework. The emphasis on inquiry, and actually doing something with that inquiry, is civic learning at it finest, and we believe that the C3 Framework would be an excellent model to build standards and curriculum around. It seems that Florida is now making some moves towards providing teachers with an opportunity to embrace the C3.

Over the past few years, the social studies community has established a repository of Inquiry oriented lessons from various states at C3 Teachers.

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This website is an excellent resource with a variety of K-12 inquiry lessons that can be modified to fit Florida standards and benchmarks. But, you may ask, where is Florida? Well, for a variety of reasons, Florida has fallen behind others states in using elements of the C3 Framework (though some districts like Pasco and Brevard have begun using the language of C3 in curriculum development and pacing).

Happily, this may be about to change. Dr. Jane Lo of Florida State University and Mr. Michael DiPierro, the social studies consultant of the State Department of Education, have announced a new project and opportunity that will create a C3 Hub for Florida! From their recent call:

WHO: We are seeking K-12 Florida social studies
teachers to be involved in an exciting lesson
creation project funded through Title IV-Part A and
managed by the Florida Department of Education
and Florida State University. Florida K-12 teachers
of all social studies content areas may apply

WHAT: This project is seeking teachers with experience
writing and implementing inquiry based lessons in the social
studies classroom. Selected lesson writers will participate in
a series of virtual professional development activities and
one face-to-face professional development session on the
C3 Inquiry Design Model with experts in the field. The
professional development is intended to help writers create
two lesson plans using the Inquiry Design Model. Lesson
plans will be shared with fellow teachers on the National
Council for the Social Studies C3 hub site. Lesson writers will
be compensated for their travel, professional learning, and
approved lessons. In-service points will be available to
submit for district consideration. More information will be
provided to selected writers.

WHEN: A virtual logistics meeting will occur in May 2018. A
face-to-face PD session will be conducted in summer 2018.
The lesson writing process will take place during Fall 2018,
with continued virtual professional development and
support (approximately one check-in per month). The
expected completion date of the lessons is January 2019.
The lessons will then undergo a review process, during
which time, writers may be asked to provide revisions. The
goal is to have lessons to share with the broader social
studies teaching community by Fall 2019.

WHY: This is a great professional development opportunity
that allows teachers to work with experts to hone their
inquiry lesson writing skills as well as inquiry pedagogy. This
process will also allow us to create a Florida C3 Hub so that
Florida social studies teachers can have a reliable resource
for rigorous inquiry plans.

HOW: To apply for a writer position, please fill out this form
by March 23rd, 2018. Contact Dr. Jane Lo, Assistant
Professor, Social Studies Education, jlo@fsu.edu and copy
Michael.DiPierro@fldoe.org, FLDOE Social Studies Education
Specialist, with any questions or concerns.

This is a great opportunity to help develop an incredible resource for Florida teachers, and we here at FJCC would love to see what you come up with for civics!



Friends, one of the most requested things that districts have asked of us when it comes to Civics360 is the ability to integrate it into Single Sign On within a district level LMS. In order for us to test this capability, we must see how the ‘live’ site works. While we do NOT expect there to be any problems at all, or expect any interruption in service with the Civics360 platform, please be aware that there MAY be periods of unavoidable downtime as we test and troubleshoot integration with Classlink. We will strive to ensure that this downtime is as limited as possible. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

The C3 Framework, Elementary Education, and ELL Students


Many of the folks that read this blog and work in secondary civic and social studies education have considered ways in which they might incorporate the C3 Framework into the work that they do. This is no doubt just as true for elementary social studies educators (they, like Santa, DO exist you know!), and English Language Learners (ELLs) could benefit from the College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) approach to inquiry and learning. Recently, our own Florida Joint Center for Citizenship director Dr. Steve Masyada coauthored, with ELL education expert Dr. Katherine Barko-Alva of William and Mary, a chapter in Optimizing Elementary Education for English Language Learners. In this chapter, they walk teachers through an extended second grade lesson around civic life, modified for ELL students and integrating all 4 Dimensions of the C3 Framework. It might be of interest to folks thinking about ways in which we can get the C3 Framework into elementary classrooms and help our ELL students, and really, all students, in embracing civic life. Check out Dimensions of Success if you are so inclined!

Interesting Upcoming Webinars


Our Curriculum Director, Val McVey, based out of our Connecticut office, passes along these upcoming webinars which may be of interest to folks in the field! The History and Memory webinar seems especially promising!

  1. Technology and Digital Media in the Social Studies Classroom”:
    Thursday, February 8, 3:30-4:30.
    Experts in the field will discuss the latest technologies and methods to use them in the classroom.  Co-sponsored by New England History Teachers Association.
  2. History and Memory”. This series explores the difference between history and memory, and explores how societies remember the past has a direct impact on the present.  This is a four part series:
    1. History, Memory and the Civil War (February 22, 3:30-4:30)
    2. Memories of World War I and World War II  (March 15, 3:30-4:30)
    3. Memories of the Vietnam War (April 5, 3:30-4:30)
    4. The Aftermath of 9/11 (May 3, 3:30-4:30)

 Any educators wishing to sign up for these webinars should contact Stephen Armstrong at Stephen.Armstrong@ct.gov


The Congressional Data Challenge from Library of Congress

An interesting competition has come out, offered by the Library of Congress, and folks with a creative, analytical, and/or technological bent might find it fun and worth a shot. The Library of Congress is looking for some interesting and unique ways to use and analyze Congressional data. Take a look!


What new insights can come from Congressional data?

A variety of Congressional publications and data sets are available on Congress.gov. The Library of Congress (LC) invites you to leverage that data to create new meaning or tools to help members of Congress and the public explore it in new ways.

What are we looking for?

LC would like to inspire creative use of technology to analyze digital Congressional information from Congress.gov. This could take the form of interactive visualizations, mobile or desktop applications, a website, or other digital creation.

Submission Criteria

Final submission will include a 2-minute demonstration video explaining a product, the data sources used, and its benefits. Source code is required to be published and licensed as CC0.


LC will award $5,000 for first prize and $1,000 for the best high-school project. Honorable mentions may be awarded for:

  • Best tracking of legislative status
  • Best data visualization, and
  • Best data mashup

To get you thinking, we offer a few example projects:

  • A visualization of how the legislative process works using legislative data
  • Tools that could be embedded on Congressional and public websites
  • Legislative matching service, to identify Members with similar legislative interests
  • Tools to improve accessibility of legislative data, and
  • A tool that, based on bill text, identifies Members of Congress with legislative interests that are similar to the user’s, or to the legislative interests of other Members of Congress

Solvers may want to review the winners of the Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers Data Challenge for inspiration in how innovators of all ages have looked at data in different ways.

Be sure to check out challenge.gov for questions and to enter! We would love to see what you do!

Resources for Teaching the State of the Union



It is at this point in the year when the President of the United States provides Congress with a mandatory State of the Union report. While it is now delivered as a speech, it was not always the case. In the long tradition of the State of the Union, delivering it as a speech to Congress is a relatively new development. 

So how do you use the State of the Union in your classrooms? This post will share some useful resources for teaching about, discussing, following, or using the State of the Union address as a teaching and learning tool.

Surveying State of the Union Addresses


This approach comes to us from Brown University’s Choices Program. In it, students will

  • Understand the constitutional basis and history of the State of the Union Address
  • Explore significant moments in twentieth century State of the Union Addresses and identify important historic themes
  • Collaborate with classmates to identify likely topics for the State of the Union Address
  • Assess the president’s State of the Union Address

This is an extended and engaging lesson, popularly used by social studies teachers of multiple grade levels across the country, and easily adaptable for your classroom.

State of the Union Bingo


This lesson is an older one, but still good, from the National Constitutional Center. It looks at the language of the State of the Union, and considers it as a means of engagement with constitutional duties and the broader public. Students will

  • Understand the Constitutional requirement for the State of the Union address
  • Examine the choices the President makes in the State of the Union Speech
  • Describe the events and topics addressed in the State of the Union speech.
  • Analyze the President’s legislative plan for the upcoming year

Flocabulary State of the Union


This is not a particularly deep lesson, but it does engage students with analyzing the language and content of the State of the Union using word clouds. What terms, concepts, ideas, language appears the most in the address? What does that mean for the goals and purposes of the president and his or her constitutional duties?

C-Span’s State of the Union Lesson


This lesson, from the good folks at C-Span, has students identify the constitutional requirement for the State of the Union address, examine the issues presented in State of the Union speeches, and analyze President Trump’s proposals for each issue. It has them breaking down the address comparing it to prior presidential addresses and State of the Union speeches.

Online Engagement With the New York Times


The New York Times is hosting an online ‘pre-discussion’ of the SOTU address that allows students to share their opinions and predictions, and then a post-address discussion. While you may not want to have your students as part of the conversation, the guiding questions and approach taken here may be something you want to duplicate in your classroom.

Bonus Opportunity: The 22×20 Campaign


The 22×20 Campaign (so named because there will be 22 million new voters by 2020) is hosting an online ‘viewing party’ and will have an active presence on social media. Students can take part in the conversation by using #22×20 online. This is a great opportunity to engage with other students all across the political spectrum during the address, and can be a fruitful source of ongoing discussion in your classrooms.