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Civics Education

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Civic Engagement as a catalyst for Civics Education

Civic Engagement, service-learning and other community projects offer a means to engage diverse learners in authentic work that profoundly motivates because it matters in the larger world.

Massachusetts, as part of reform that builds civic education into the curriculum each year from Kindergarten through high school, passed a law in 2018 to require that each student be offered an opportunity to participate in a civic engagement project in middle school and/or in high school. Link to the law here. To learn more about the law and the coalition that supported its passage, click here.

Emerging America offers resources to teachers for developing Civics lessons, planning courses that pair content knowledge with inquiry skills and practices that are fundamental to citizenship, and shaping community engagement projects for maximum educational value.

Upcoming Course: Teaching Grades K-5 Civic Engagement and Social Studies

  • April 23 and May 21, 2018, 8:30am – 3:30pm at the Collaborative for Educational Services in Northampton, MA (Register by April 16)

Online Resources:

  • EmergingAmerica.org library of Teaching Resources: for support in developing Civics lessons, use the Refine Your Search box to select grade level, time period, subject, and key words for primary source sets and sample lesson plans.
  • Media Literacy and Civic Engagement (Webinar): Promoting Active Learning in the K-12 Classroom and Community (webinar recording will be posted when editing is complete)
  • Click here for links to Civics and History Education web resources (look for Web Resources on the navigation menu), copies of the Massachusetts History and Social Science Standards,  local organizations, Massachusetts school district planning resources, archived presentation slides from the summer 2018 Civics Institute that we facilitated for the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).
  •  Local History Projects are an opportunity to pursue civic engagement by finding information about issues of historic and contemporary interest to the students’ own community. Projects can allow students to try out, sharpen, and show off skills that include yet extend beyond conventional classroom skills. Learn from Emerging America’s decades of direct experience leading civic engagement projects in its Windows on History program.
  • Library of Congress TPS consortium members focusing on civics education are linked on the website of Barat’s Citizen U, and listed below:
The Barat Education Foundation
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Citizen U is a multidisciplinary, inquiry-based civics curriculum using primary sources for elementary, middle, and high school students to foster civic knowledge, skills, and dispositions.

Bean Creative
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Case Maker features twenty pre-made civics challenges that teachers can share with their 6th-8th-grade students, or customize and annotate specifically for their needs.

iCivics
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DBQuest introduces students to major questions in civics and history using a Big Question as guiding light for deep examination of three selected primary sources from the Library.

Indiana University CORG
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Engaging Congress is a fun, interactive game that uses primary sources to explore the basic tenets of representative government and the challenges they face in contemporary society.

Muzzy Lane Software
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Kid Citizen features episodes in which children interactively explore Congress and civic engagement through historical primary sources, connecting what they find with their daily lives.

RRCHNM George Mason University Eagle Eye Citizen is a digital resource that helps middle and high school students think critically about Congress, civic participation, and American history using primary sources from the Library.
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Eagle Eye Citizen is a digital resource that helps middle and high school students think critically about Congress, civic participation, and American history using primary sources from the Library.

Upcoming Workshops


Social Studies and Humanities pose distinct challenges for struggling learners, including extensive discipline-specific vocabulary, difficult informational text…