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Making Civics Real: A Workshop for Teachers

Patriotism and Foreign Policy Workshop Session

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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

Lesson Objectives:

  • 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 Lesson
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.

Support Materials
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.

Additional Materials
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.

Lesson Plan

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

Lesson Materials

  • Listing of Terms, People, Events for Use by Committees
  • Web Site Recommendations


See Lesson Plan

Teacher Perspectives

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


See Teacher Perspectives

Student Perspectives

Alice Chandler’s 12th-grade students’ reflections on the following topics:

  • Socratic questioning
  • Cooperative learning groups
  • Rubrics
  • Group projects
  • Patriotism
  • Alice Chandler’s teaching style
  • Studying civics
  • Combining civics and the arts
  • Constructivist learning environments


See Student Perspectives

Essential Readings

Cooperative Learning
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.


See Essential Readings

Other Lessons

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

Series Directory

Making Civics Real: A Workshop for Teachers


Produced by State of the Art, Inc., in collaboration with the National Council for the Social Studies and the Center for Civic Education. 2003.
  • ISBN: 1-57680-679-0