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Re: [Channel-talkcivics] Making Civics Real

From: Lynn Saxton <lsaxton@warsaw.k12.ny.us>
Date: Fri Aug 17 2007 - 12:09:37 EDT
X-Mailer: Novell GroupWise Internet Agent 7.0.2

Wow, great ideas, Jim! I will be working with a much smaller populace - about 20-odd students for half a year in each course (PIG and Econ). I would love any guidelines you have that I could possibly adapt to this smaller group. I very much like the "Citizenship Council" idea as I was planning to incorporate community service somehow into my class. This way, the impetus is not coming from me but from the students themselves - terrific.

Jim, Bill, Elyse,
Have any of you every tried the "Fantasy Congress" with your kids? You can access it online at fantasycongress.com. I think it would be a great draw, especially for boys who might have tried fantasy football, but I don't really know anything about how fantasy football works so I'm at a disadvantage here. Any ideas?

Lynn

>>> "Jim Malanowski" <jim.malanowski@morgan.k12.ga.us> 08/16/07 4:48 PM >>>
Lynn,

We take a select group of students to the Georgia Youth Assembly each
November. It's a statewide mock legislature sponsored by the YMCA. It
attracts anywhere from 450-650 students from around the state. Students
submit bills and the 60 best bills are put in a "Bill Book" that is the
foundation for committee meetings and student debate in the Georgia
Senate and House chambers. It's a real high for the kids that go.

Last year, my teaching colleague invited me to participate in a
"Congress" that was a MCHS version of GYA for all our sophomores. She
had done it for the previous four years with her classes. We didn't
elect a Governor or Supreme Court like they do at GYA, but all of our
sophomores (around 280 in all) were divided into "Conservative" and
"Liberal" parties. The kids dress up (they love it!) and believe it or
not the vast majority spend two solid days debating bills. Some of the
kids who had no interest in Citizenship "found themselves" in the
process when they discovered how passionately they felt about some
issues. We used it as a "sales point" for their personal involvement
and activism in our democracy.

Admittedly, it takes a whole bunch of prep, but we both felt like it was
worth it.

In the past (I've been at it 36 years!), I have organized students in
focused community service projects and given them extra credit for their
participation. We've done everything from "bike hikes" to encourage
people to conserve energy, to trash pick-ups in a six-block radius
around school, to collecting for Disabled American Veterans.

The events are planned by a "Citizenship Council" made up of
representatives that are selected by each of my classes. We meet once a
month and they bring concerns and agenda items (things like seating
charts, suggestions for class activities, and eating food in the
classroom). It turns into a great microcosm of our "real"
representative government in the U.S. I'm the Executive Branch so I can
veto their decisions...and they can override my veto. The principal is
the Judiciary and can overrule anything that flies in the face of school
rules.

In my Econ classes, I have kids do a "Stock Scavenger Hunt" to introduce
them to the basics of stocks, then some play The Stock Market Game. I
also run an Investment Club during scheduled club times. We use it as a
recruiting time. As a matter of fact, I have to go right now to prep
for a Club Fair that the kids will attend tomorrow during lunch.

Well, I guess those are the highlights of what I do. Let me know if I
can fill in any blanks.

Jim
 
Jim Malanowski
Morgan County High School
1231 College Drive
Madison, GA 30650
(E) jim.malanowski@morgan.k12.ga.us
(S) 706-342-2336
(C) 706-474-9405
(H) 706-342-7672
 
In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but
planning is indispensable.
  - Dwight D. Eisenhower
 
-----Original Message-----
From: channel-talkcivics-bounces@learner.org
[mailto:channel-talkcivics-bounces@learner.org] On Behalf Of Lynn Saxton
Sent: Thursday, August 16, 2007 1:36 PM
To: channel-talkcivics@learner.org
Subject: Re: [Channel-talkcivics] Making Civics Real

Jim,
I'd love any suggestions!
Lynn

>>> "Jim Malanowski" <jim.malanowski@morgan.k12.ga.us> 08/15/07 4:33 PM
>>>
Lynn,

 

I'd be glad to talk with you, but I don't know how "regular" I'll be.
I've not done any Annenberg work like you're doing, but will gladly
share what I'm doing in Madison, Georgia to try to make "Citizenship"
real for sophomores. I've taught it twice and will be teaching it again
in the spring.

 

Jim

 

Jim Malanowski

 

In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but
planning is indispensable.
- Dwight D. Eisenhower <http://www.quotationspage.com/quote/36892.html>

 

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Received on Fri Aug 17 12:20:17 2007

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