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Showing posts from February, 2020

March Madness: Classroom Resources for the Illinois Primaries and Super Tuesday

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by Mary Ellen Daneels, Civics Instructional Specialist
Do you have your brackets ready for March Madness? No, we are not referencing the college basketball playoffs, rather the flurry of political contests next month that provide a unique learning opportunity for #CivicsInTheMiddle classrooms, as nearly two-thirds of the delegates to the national conventions will be selected by month’s end.

The nation will be closely watching the results of Super Tuesday on March 3rd as the race for White House heats up. Closer to home, the March 17th Illinois primaries will provide an opportunity for #CivicsInTheMiddle classrooms to explore candidates for congress, the Illinois General Assembly, the state judiciary as well as important local races.

This past week, Dr. Shawn Healy, Director of the Democracy Program at the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, hosted our second #Election2020 after school webinar that reviewed the presidential contest results to date and previewed what to look for on Sup…

Teachable Moments: Presidential Pardons

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by Mary Ellen Daneels, Civics Instructional Specialist
This past Tuesday, President Trump announced a flurry of presidential pardons and commutations. Illinois residents were particularly interested by the president’s decision to commute Rod Blagojevich’s 14-year prison term, releasing the former governor more than four years early and drawing to a close one of the state’s most notorious corruption cases.

Students in #CivicsInTheMiddle classrooms may have questions about the Blagojevich case and the president’s power to pardon. Here are some resources to help.
The Chicago Tribune has created a timeline of the Blagojevich case, and WBEZ has curated an overview of his 20 year political career.The Bill of Rights institute has created a lesson plan titled, “Pardon Me, Mr. President,” that explores the origin of the power to pardon and how it has been used throughout history.The Classroom Law Project has a resource page around presidential pardons.iCivics has a Media Moment Mini Lesson

Guest Blog: We Shouldn’t Talk about Voting without Talking about Voter Suppression - Complicating the Ideal of One Person, One Vote

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by Bonnie Laughlin-Schultz, Illinois Civics Instructional Coach Bonnie Laughlin-Schultz taught high school in the St. Louis area prior to earning a PhD in history. She was a James Madison fellow, class of 1999, and graduated from Knox College with a BA in history and secondary education. She is the social science teaching coordinator and an associate professor of history at Eastern Illinois University, where she teaches social studies methods courses as well as the U.S. history survey, women’s history, research methods and writing, and courses in the online MA for teachers. She is the Civics Instructional Coach for Clark, Clay, Coles, Crawford, Cumberland, Douglas, Edgar, Edwards, Gallatin, Hamilton, Hardin, Jasper, Lawrence, Massac, Moultrie, Pope, Richland, Saline, Shelby, Wabash, Wayne & White Counties. We are set to mark the centennial of the 19th Amendment, the moment when American women became voters. Coverage of this centennial abounds, and while some of it offers the nu…

Resources for the State of the Union Address

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by Mary Ellen Daneels, Civics Instructional Specialist
This week is a cornucopia of “teachable moments” for #CivicsInTheMiddle classrooms. The week begins with the Iowa Caucuses. Next, a vote in the Senate to conclude the impeachment proceedings against President Trump is expected midweek. A Democratic Debate in New Hampshire rounds out the week on Friday.

Tuesday will be marked by a Presidential address to the nation on the State of the Union. If you are looking for resources to help students understand the history and significance of the State of the Union address, here are a few resources to start with.
Flocabulary has a State of the Union lesson plan that uses word clouds to understand the themes and content of the speech--past, and present.The Choices Program from Brown University has a curriculum around Surveying the State of the Union Addresses.PBS News Hour Extra has resources to help students understand the history and purpose of the State of the Union address, as well as…