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Showing posts from May, 2019

I'll Jump First

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by Mary Ellen Daneels, Lead Teacher Mentor
Podcasts are an integral part of my continuing professional development. Through podcasts, I can keep on top of current events, learn from other educators, delve deep into social studies related content as well as pursue other interests outside of the classroom.

Imagine my delight when I was asked to be a guest on the Park Ridge-Niles District 64 Podcast, I’ll Jump First! The podcast is produced “by teachers for teachers”. The topic of our conversation was Questioning in the Classroom, more specifically engaging student voice in inquiry.

The 30+ minute conversation with District 64 Technology Instructional Coaches Megan Preis, Kevin Michael, and Mary Jane Warden delved into the opportunities and challenges of supporting K-12 classrooms in questioning. We also shared a bevy of resources that can be used by teachers to scaffold instructional shifts around the new Illinois Social Science standards and civic education requirement.

I hope y…

A Veteran Civics Teacher’s Case for #CivicsInTheMiddle

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by Mary Ellen Daneels, Lead Teacher Mentor
The Election of 2018 has often been called a “Sputnik” moment for civic education. No matter where you fall on the political spectrum, both sides of the aisle have been increasingly alarmed by the effects of political polarization on our republic. One of the unintended consequences of educational initiatives related to STEM and No Child Left Behind is that social studies has been increasingly marginalized in grades K-8. By passing HB 2265 on Tuesday, the Illinois Senate Education Committee took a positive step towards returning to the civic mission of schools and putting “civics in the middle” through legislation requiring a least a semester of civics within grades 6, 7, and 8.

While the Illinois civics standards and school code requirements clearly describe knowledge needed to prepare students for civic engagement (content) — HB 2265 is needed to further define the skills and dispositions educators need to build in students through the use…

Past is Prologue for Presumptive Implementation of Middle School Civics

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by Shawn P. Healy, PhD, Democracy Program Director
As legislation to require a semester of civics in middle school moves to the Illinois Senate, this post will further elaborate on the McCormick Foundation’s presumptive plan to support statewide implementation. Like the high school course, we propose a three-year plan to help middle school teachers, schools, and districts incorporate a civics course in grades 6, 7, or 8.

The past three years provide a prologue for middle school implementation. I’ve written previously about the impact of high school civics implementation, from the fidelity by which teachers, schools, and districts have implemented the law to student civic engagement outcomes. I have also addressed the value provided by more than 1,300 hours of professional development (PD) to 10,000-plus teachers since October 2015.

Dr. Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg, Director of the Center for Information Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) at Tufts University, offered some …