As you reflect on these classroom activities from the video, think about how you might adapt and extend these ideas in your own teaching.
- In her first-grade class, Cynthia Vaughn helps her students role-play citizenship. The class tours their own community, then constructs a model town in which each student assumes the role of a business owner, community leader, or citizen. Working together, students think about issues in their model community, share their concerns with the "mayor," and come up with solutions.
- Wendy Ewbank's seventh- and eighth-grade students use landmark Supreme Court cases to study how citizens' rights are supported by various amendments. Students research the cases, simulate a town meeting, and assume the roles of plaintiffs, defendants, and judges. Through a process of questioning, Ms. Ewbank and her class examine important points, the constitutional issues involved, the judicial process, and the Court's ruling in each case.
- Tom Rockey's 12th-grade civics students discuss court cases related to gender discrimination, examining the conditions under which it is and is not reasonable to discriminate based on gender. But before the students begin, Mr. Rockey outlines several characteristics of civil discourse, such as listening to the ideas of others.
Consider your own classroom as you answer the following questions.
- Considering that active citizenship often involves discussing issues within a community, how do you define civil discourse in your classroom? How do you ensure fairness and respect across different skill levels in discussions?
- What are the common elements of citizenship when talking about national and global citizenship?
- When do you use historical models to teach citizenship and when do you get students engaged with more complex concepts such as individual freedom and the common good?
- What issues or projects in your community lend themselves to student involvement? How can your students become involved?
Links to the Lessons
"Creating Effective Citizens" features the following teachers and lessons from the Social Studies in Action library:
Cynthia Vaughn: Leaders, Community, and Citizens
Darlene Jones-Inge: Making a Difference Through Giving
Libby Sinclair: Understanding Stereotypes
Justin Zimmerman: The Middle East Conflict
Becky Forristal: Population and Resource Distribution
Wendy Ewbank: Landmark Supreme Court Cases
Wendell Brooks: Competing Ideologies
Tim Rockey: Gender-Based Distinctions
Brian Poon: The Individual in Society