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Civic Engagement Update

Published on Mon, 11/04/2019

In 2020-2021, school districts across Massachusetts will fully implement student-led civic engagement projects in every 8th grade and every high school. Projects will occur as class assignments, but students may request the option to complete individual projects. Later in November, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) expects to announce a small grants program to support implementation. 

New EL-Accessible Lesson: Restricting Immigration to the U.S.

Published on Wed, 10/30/2019

A new lesson for high school students uses primary sources to engage students, including those whose reading levels may not yet be at grade level, in exploring the changes in policy in who is admitted to the United States.

Initiatives to restrict specific groups of people from immigrating to the US are important topics in US History, included in standards for the US History I and US History II high school classes. This lesson uses the 21st century “travel ban,” ruled constitutional in 2018, as an entry point to explore previous shifts in US immigration policy.

Culturally Relevant Pedagogy and Primary Sources: new for teachers

Published on Mon, 10/07/2019

There are two new opportunities for teachers to learn more about culturally relevant pedagogy, in addition to the excellent videos and other teaching materials linked on the Engagement Strategies page of the Accessing Inquiry section of our website at EmergingAmerica.org. 

Using Visual Primary Sources

Published on Tue, 10/01/2019

Visual Literacy: Making Lessons Accessible and Inclusive

Guest Blog Post by Wendy Harris, High School Social Studies & Teacher of the Blind at Metro Deaf School in St. Paul, Minnesota.  

You want to get your students to work with primary sources, but you have students who struggle with reading English text. Maybe they have a learning disability, English is not their most comfortable language, or any number of other reasons. Sound familiar?

Supporting Engagement by Students with Disabilities in Civic Education

Published on Wed, 07/17/2019

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 student-led civic engagement project in middle school and in high school. As teachers and schools embark on planning for how the student-led projects will be organized, it will be valuable to think about what will support full participation by students with disabilities in this important new opportunity.

Literacy in Practice Standards Are the Entry Point for Elementary Social Studies

Published on Mon, 05/20/2019

How can we teach students the most vital skills to function as citizens? Since the early 19th century, preparation for civic life has been the central reason for public schools. As part of a multi-year effort to reinvigorate the civic mission of schools, in 2016 the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) added “readiness for civic life” to its core definition of what it means to be educated in the state. http://www.doe.mass.edu/ccr/

Teachers Making Lessons Accessible

Published on Sun, 05/05/2019

“I’ve found that if I pick the right primary sources…[I can make the lesson more accessible]. For example, I just gave some students an evacuation poster (after Order 9066 [–forcing Japanese relocation to camps]) that was selected for its minimal text which was heavy on vocabulary they would know or be able to figure out such as dates and places. I gave other students letters to the editor about the Japanese American “evacuation” and internment, and also used political cartoons.

Celebrate Spring with Pi in the Social Studies

Published on Wed, 03/13/2019

Pi Day has become a celebration of growing festivity in many American educational settings. March 14, as expressed 3.14 in ‘month.day’ notation, is an opportunity to talk about π*, to have a celebration that connects to science and geometry, and to brighten the muddy days of March with the pleasures of pie.

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