Making Civics Real: A Workshop for Teachers
Patriotism and Foreign Policy Workshop Session
Key Constructivist Methodology:
- Small-Group Work
Teacher: Alice Chandler
School: Duke Ellington School of the Arts, Washington, DC
Grade Level: 12th Grade
Course: U.S. Government
- To conceptualize a Museum of Patriotism and Foreign Policy by having student committees present exhibits that express their understanding of the link between patriotism and foreign policy.
The students in this lesson are seniors at the Duke Ellington School of The Arts, a public magnet school in Washington, D.C., that has a strong commitment to integrating the arts with academic subjects. U.S. government teacher Alice Chandler, who finds Socratic questioning and Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences particularly useful in an integrated arts environment, has developed a lesson in which students are to create a Museum of Patriotism and Foreign Policy. Socratic questioning is designed to elicit and clarify the wealth of ideas and facts that exist in any group. Gardner expands the concept of intelligence to include such areas as music, spatial relations, and interpersonal knowledge, which is particularly useful in an arts magnet school.
Over three days, the lesson alternates between whole-class discussions, in which Ms. Chandler’s use of Socratic questioning is evident, 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. The conclusion of the lesson shows the student’s presentations, including dance, music, theatrical performances, and visualizations, along with rationales for their selections.
The support materials found below under Sections will lead you through the viewing of the workshop video and the related activities and discussions for “Patriotism and Foreign Policy.” These materials can be used by individuals and by facilitators of workshop sessions.
The support materials identify key concepts, provide discussion ideas for each video segment, and recommend follow-up activities for after the workshop session.
The following materials—Lesson Plan, Teacher and Student Perspectives, Essential Readings and Other Lessons—provide background and context for the lesson seen in the workshop video. They also supply the tools you need to adapt this lesson and its teaching strategies for your classroom.
Information on Alice Chandler’s method of teaching the lesson on patriotism and foreign policy, the national standards this lesson addresses, additional resources, and her teaching materials, including:
- Rubric for Head Committee
- Rubric for Other Committees
- Listing of Terms, People, Events for Use by Committees
- Web Site Recommendations
See Lesson Plan
Alice Chandler’s reflections on the following topics:
- Constructivist strategies
- Using Socratic questions
- Multiple intelligence theory
- The lesson
- Group work
- Why civics is important
- The standards
- Her background
- Evolution of teaching style
- Advice to other teachers
Alice Chandler’s 12th-grade students’ reflections on the following topics:
- Socratic questioning
- Cooperative learning groups
- Group projects
- Alice Chandler’s teaching style
- Studying civics
- Combining civics and the arts
- Constructivist learning environments
by David W. Johnson and Roger T. Johnson
In this article, by the co-directors of the University of Minnesota Cooperative Learning Center, the authors distinguish among cooperative, competitive, and individual efforts and discuss the essential components that make cooperation work.
Multiple Intelligences: Gardner’s Theory
by Amy Brualdi
Arguing that “reason, intelligence, logic, and knowledge are not synonymous, . . .” Howard Gardner proposed a new view of intelligence that expanded the concept of intelligence to include such areas as music, spatial relations, and interpersonal knowledge in addition to mathematical and linguistic ability. This ERIC (Educational Resources Information Center) digest discusses the origins of Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences, his definition of intelligence, the incorporation of the Theory of Multiple Intelligences into the classroom, and its role in alternative assessment practices.
America Responds to Terrorism: Press Freedom vs. Military Censorship
From the Constitutional Rights Foundation
This lesson engages students in a simulation in which small groups represent a Presidential Commission on Press Rules for a War on Terrorism. In addition to procedures for introducing and using the simulation, the lesson presents historical background on freedom of the press during wartime and suggests a method for evaluating policies.
See Other Lessons
Lesson Materials: West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette
Alice Chandler's teaching materials
Workshop 1 Freedom of Religion
Ninth-grade civics teacher Kristen Borges involves her students at Southwest High School in Minnesota in a simulation of a U.S. Supreme Court hearing on a First Amendment case. Students assume the roles of Supreme Court justices, attorneys for the school district, and attorneys for the families. They first work in groups to prepare for the hearing, then participate in the hearing, and finally, debrief their experiences and write short papers stating their positions on the case. The methodologies highlighted in this lesson include questioning strategies and mock trials.
Workshop 2 Electoral Politics
This program shows the conclusion of a 12-week civic engagement unit developed by the national Student Voices program. José Velazquez's 12th-grade students at University High School in New Jersey divide into small groups to brainstorm and research community issues, prioritize the issues on the basis of what they have learned, present their findings to the class both orally and through a visual presentation, and develop a whole-class consensus on a youth agenda that they present to the mayoral candidates in a televised question-and-answer forum. The methodologies highlighted in this lesson include issue identification and consensus building.
Workshop 3 Public Policy and the Federal Budget
Leslie Martin's ninth-graders at West Forsyth High School in North Carolina create, present, revise, and defend a federal budget, and then reflect on what they have learned. After assuming the roles of the President and his or her advisors to create a federal budget, students are introduced to the actual 2001 federal budget, and in a whole-class discussion, discuss some key concepts involved in creating it. Next, students return to cooperative learning groups, revise their budgets based on what they learned, present their revised budgets, and simulate a Congressional hearing. This lesson highlights the integration of teacher-directed instruction with small-group work.
Workshop 4 Constitutional Convention
Matt Johnson teaches an AP Comparative Government class to seniors at Benjamin Banneker Senior High School in Washington, DC. In this lesson, his 12th-grade students create a constitution for a hypothetical country called Permistan. Matt Johnson uses this lesson to help students review for their final exam and the AP exam by having them draw on what they have learned during the semester about international governments. Students work in cooperative learning groups to discuss and debate issues relating to the executive and legislative branches of government. The lesson closes with a simulation of a constitutional convention. Simulation is the primary methodology highlighted in this lesson.
Workshop 5 Patriotism and Foreign Policy
The students in this program are seniors at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts, a public magnet school in Washington, DC. In this lesson, U.S. government teacher Alice Chandler has her students create a Museum of Patriotism and Foreign Policy. The lesson alternates between whole-class discussion and small-group committee work as students create a gallery for the museum using their respective arts concentration as the medium. The lesson concludes with students presenting their gallery contributions in dance, music, theatrical performances, and visual presentations, along with rationales for their selections. This lesson highlights small-group work as a constructivist methodology.
Workshop 6 Civic Engagement
This program shows a group of 11th- and 12th-grade students at Anoka High School in Minnesota engaging in service learning — a requirement for graduation. In this human geography class taught by Bill Mittlefehldt, students work in teams to define a project, choose and meet with a community partner who can help educate them about the issue and its current status, conduct further research, and present the problem and a proposed solution first to their peers, and then to a special session of the Anoka City Council. The primary methodology presented in this lesson is service learning.
Workshop 7 Controversial Public Policy Issues
In this 12th-grade law class at Champlin Park High School in Minnesota, JoEllen Ambrose engages students in a structured discussion of a highly controversial issue — racial profiling — and connects student learning both to their study of due process in constitutional law and police procedure in criminal law. Students begin by completing an opinion poll, which they discuss as a group. Students are then put into pairs in which they conduct research on the topic. Next, students participate in a debate in which each partnership argues both sides of the issue. A debriefing discussion completes the lesson. The methodologies highlighted in this lesson include role playing and structured academic controversy.
Workshop 8 Rights and Responsibilities of Students
Students in Matt Johnson's 12th-grade law course at Benjamin Banneker Senior High School in Washington, DC, engage in a culminating activity to help them review and apply what they have learned. Students write and distribute one-page briefs of Supreme Court cases they have studied. Next, students are assigned to small groups and given hypothetical cases related to student rights cases from the Supreme Court's 2001-2002 term. Students prepare their cases and present them to the Justices. Justices deliberate and present majority and dissenting opinions, after which the class discusses both the process and the disposition of the cases. This lesson highlights the use of case studies for synthesis and analysis.
Supporting Materials Introduction: Making Civics Real
Supplemental material for educators/facilitators