Current and Societal Issue Discussions for In-Person, Remote, and Hybrid Classrooms
by Mary Ellen Daneels, Civics Instructional Specialist
Current and societal issue discussions swirl all around us and affect our daily lives.
- Which presidential platforms BEST reflect the policy issues that are important to me?
- How should the federal government prioritize and distribute vaccines for COVID-19?
- To what extent should internet access be a public good?
- Should standardized tests be administered while schools adjust to teaching students remotely?
- Who benefits if Illinoians vote “yes” for the amendment to change Illinois’ personal and corporate income tax from flat to progressive?
Current and societal issue discussions that center student voice provide an opportunity for the youngest members of our communities to acquire and apply content knowledge while building skills that are crucial for the health of our republic. Much like a good lesson plan, engaging classroom discussions rarely just “happen.” These student-to-student conversations take planning, structure, vetted resources, and practice. IllinoisCivics.org has resources to support current and societal issue discussions that include texts, step-by-step guides, and video exemplars in our Curriculum Design Toolkit.
Facilitating student-to-student discussion in remote or hybrid learning environments takes a reimagination of traditional strategies used in the classroom. IllinoisCivics.org added remote learning guides in our Remote Learning Toolkit for some of the more popular structures to facilitate civil classroom conversations.
- Philosophical Chairs is a strategy to help students practice methods of persuasion, active listening, and open-mindedness.
- Socratic Seminar is a protocol designed to help students dive deep into a common text to promote understanding of multiple perspectives, questioning, and an understanding of the lived experiences of others.
- Structured Academic Controversy is a technique to help students analyze multiple perspectives and reach consensus on complex issues past and present.
- 56 Formative Assessment Ideas, curated by David Wees, Formative Assessment Specialist, New Visions for Public Schools
- Edutopia - 53 Ways to Check for Understanding
- Formative Assessment Tools
- 75 Tools to Improve Student Learning - Stefanie Wager, Iowa Department of Education
- Reflective Writing and Thinking - UTM Experiential Education Office
- Visible Thinking: Harvard University Project Zero
Post a Comment