|| Lesson Plan: Context
Leslie Martin teaches the two-semester, ninth-grade freshman seminar course
on economic, legal, and political systems at West Forysth High School
in Clemmons, North Carolina, where she has taught since 1998. Prior to
1998, she worked in industry—as a senior consultant at Competitive
Solutions, Inc., in Raleigh, North Carolina; assistant vice president
at Integon Insurance Corp., in Winston-Salem, North Carolina; and an associate
at Eli Lilly and Co., in Indianapolis, Indiana. Leslie Martin holds a
Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Stanford University, a Master's
of Business Administration from Duke University, and a Master of Education
degree from Wake Forest University’s Master Teacher Fellow Program.
In February 2002, she was named Outstanding High School Social Studies
Teacher of the Year by the North Carolina Social Studies Council. She
is a National Board of Professional Teaching Standards certified teacher.
West Forysth High School is located in a suburban area near Winston-Salem,
North Carolina. The school has an enrollment of 1,700 students and a campus
with 10 permanent buildings and several temporary classrooms. The school
was established in 1964 and has undergone many changes over the years,
both in size and leadership, as the community has grown and the grades
served by specific schools have shifted. New residential development continues
to bring new students from many different backgrounds into the ever-changing
student population. The school offers both regular and honors programs.
Technologies such as hypermedia, interactive software, and the Internet
are available to both teachers and students.
At West Forysth High School, civics is taught at three different levels:
standard, honors, and freshman seminar, which is the class seen in the
program. The freshman seminar is an honors-level class, specifically designed
for the highly gifted, self-motivated student, and emphasizes independent
thinking. The curriculum, while following the standards established by
the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, focuses more heavily
on independent research, group work, and group and individual presentations
than do non-honors courses. The course covers two semesters, one on civics
and American government and the other on economics. The economics portion
deals with such basic concepts as supply and demand and monetary policy.
The civics portion is a history of how the Constitution was created and
what impact the various areas of government have on our lives. An overall
goal of the course is to help the students understand the interplay between
the government and the economy. The lesson in the program is a culmination
of what the students have learned over the entire year. The course text
is United States Government, Democracy in Action (Glencoe/McGraw-Hill,