Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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  Making Civics Real: A Workshop for Teachers  
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Tools for Teaching

Lesson Collection
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Lesson Collection

From this page, you can quickly access the eight original Lesson Plans that are profiled in this workshop. In addition, you can access Other Lessons which employ the highlighted constructivist strategies or further explore the workshop topic.

Lesson Plan
This lesson demonstrates the use of questioning strategies in mock trials. It features ninth-grade civics students at Southwest High School in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in a simulation of a U.S. Supreme Court hearing concerning a First Amendment case.

Other Lessons
Controversial Issues in Practice
In this article, Maria Gallo, director of legal studies and a teacher at Harry S. Truman High School in the Bronx, New York, presents three lessons on the First Amendment: The Establishment of Religion, The Free Exercise of Religion, and Putting It All Together: A Round Table Discussion.

Lesson Plan
This lesson is the culmination of a 12-week unit developed by the national Student Voices Project. Students divide into small groups to research specific community issues, prioritize the issues on the basis of what they have learned, present their findings to the class, develop a whole-class consensus on a Student Voices Agenda of issues they think the next mayor should address, and study the candidates’ positions on the issues they have chosen to track.

Other Lessons
Voting Isn’t Enough
Instructional activities to promote enduring democratic behaviors through broad voter education are presented. The author, G. Dale Greenawald, is an educational consultant who has published extensively in the field of social studies education, and recently served on the faculty of the University of Northern Colorado.

Voting Is Essential
Rick Blasing, a social studies instructor at LaCrosse High School, LaCrosse, Kansas, who also serves as a part-time faculty member in the social science department at Barton County Community College in Great Bend, Kansas, describes a lesson plan to help students formulate their own political opinions in an election campaign through a critical examination of political advertisements, candidate debates, and political cartoons.

Lesson Plan
Over three class periods, Leslie Martin’s ninth-graders at West Forsyth High School in Clemmons, North Carolina, create, present, revise, and defend a Federal budget, and then reflect on what they have learned.

Other Lessons
Dividing the Federal Pie
A simplified version of Leslie Martin's lesson is presented

Budget Cutting vs. Revenue Generation
This leson presents students with an emergency situation that must be funded and asks them to find budgetary solutions.

Lesson Plan
This lesson takes place in an AP Comparative Government class in which students engage in a simulation of a constitutional convention during which they will create a constitution for a hypothetical country they call Permistan.

Other Lessons
Student Exercise in Democracy
In this article, Cathy Travis, a long-term Congressional staff person, presents a lesson on how to amend the U.S. Constitution and engages students in consideration of the pros and cons of potential new amendments.

Lesson Plan
Students at Duke Ellington School of the Arts work to create a Museum of Patriotism and Foreign Policy. Over three days, the lesson alternates between whole-class discussions and committee work, in which students determine what will be placed in the museum, using their particular art major as the basis for their choices.

Other Lessons
America Responds to Terrorism: Press Freedom vs. Military Censorship
This lesson, from the Constitutional Rights Foundation, engages students in a simulation in which small groups represent a Presidential Commission on Press Rules for a War on Terrorism.

Lesson Plan
This lesson is part of the service learning curriculum at Anoka High School in Anoka, Minnesota. Students work in teams to define a project, choose and meet with a community partner who can help educate them about the seriousness of the issue, conduct further research on the identified problem, and present the problem and their proposed solutions first to their peers, and then to a special session of the Anoka City Council.

Other Lessons
Service Learning in the Social Studies
The approach to service learning in the social studies explained here is based on the work of the Close Up Foundation and the Constitutional Rights Foundation in Los Angeles in developing Active Citizenship Today (ACT).

Lesson Plan
In this lesson, students engage in a structured discussion of a highly controversial issue—racial profiling—and connect student learning both to their study of due process in constitutional law and to police procedure in their study of criminal law.

Other Lessons
Creating Strategies and Conditions for Civil Discourse About Controversial Issues
John Allen Rossi, an assistant professor of education at Virginia Commonwealth University examines several major approaches to teaching about controversial issues, explores their benefits and weaknesses, and looks at how they might be combined with a variety of constructivist methodologies.

Lesson Plan
In this lesson, each student takes responsibility for writing and distributing a one-page brief of a Supreme Court case and presenting a summary of the case to the class. Next, students are assigned to groups of three and given a hypothetical case. Each team represents either the petitioner or the respondent, or is part of the Supreme Court. Students prepare their cases and engage in a mock trial.

Other Lessons
Legal Thriller/Alternative Trial Research
In this lesson created by the Constitutional Rights Foundation, students are given the option of selecting one of 21 trials from the period 1865 to 1993, writing a report about it based on a defined list of questions and a set of research tips, and making an interesting presentation about the case to the class.

Legal Thriller Book Review
This lesson, designed by JoEllen Ambrose, provides students with a list of 28 novels that are courtroom thrillers, or that feature a famous lawyer, judge, or particular aspect of the legal system. Students are expected to write a report using a defined format and participate in a Book Club discussion group.

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