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Showing posts from June, 2021

ICH Poolside PD begins with Essential Questions and Institutional Transformation

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by Mary Ellen Daneels, Civics Instructional Specialist The Illinois Civics Hub (ICH) summer programming launched this week with two webinars. The first tackled the role of essential and supporting questions in curriculum design. The second featured the American Bar Association (ABA) Division of Public Education as we tackled Theme 5 of the Educating for American Democracy Roadmap - Institutional and Social Transformation. The EAD Roadmap provides a non-partisan path for vertically-aligned K-12 history and civics education. The roadmap is designed around seven content themes that provide driving questions to shape curriculum. These driving questions differ from essential questions. The EAD site explains: Unlike essential questions, which are about larger questions of civic life and history that do not have a predetermined right answer, driving questions in the Roadmap often do. An example of an essential question might be, “Does history really repeat itself?”, but with a drivi

Victory Gardens Address Food Insecurity through Service Learning

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by Mary Ellen Daneels, Civics Instructional Specialist The Illinois Social Science standards has students address essential questions in history to help students be personally responsible citizens in their communities. Further, two of the historical questions around the theme of civic participation in the new Educating for American Democracy Roadmap ask, “How have Americans come together in groups, made decisions, and affected their communities, the country, and the world” and “How can that history inform our civic participation today?” Brad Marcy, a history teacher from LeRoy High School addressed both standards and these important historical questions when he engaged his students in an examination of homefront efforts in the United States during the World Wars to address issues of food insecurity past and present. The lessons learned inspired students to take informed action in their community to help neighbors in need. Brad is one of 26 educators participating in the Guardians

SCOTUS Free Speech Cases Lead to Informed Action through Service Learning

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by Mary Ellen Daneels, Civics Instructional Specialist The Illinois civics course requirements for both middle and high school require students to discuss current and societal issues to apply their knowledge of democratic institutions through civil discourse around essential questions facing our republic. A case taken up by the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) this term, Mahanoy v. B.L. is sure to animate many #CivicsInTheMiddle classrooms. This case involves a cheerleader removed from the squad for her Snapchat postings. This case will determine whether Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District , which holds that public school officials may regulate speech that would materially and substantially disrupt the work and discipline of the school, applies to student speech that occurs off-campus. Chris Johnson, an Illinois Civics Instructional Coach from ROWVA Junior/Senior High School, led his students in an inquiry around the First Amendment that explored

Civics and Environmentalism Intersect through Service Learning

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by Mary Ellen Daneels, Civics Instructional Specialist All educators are civics educators. This year’s Illinois Democracy Schools webinar series illustrated that civics happens across the curriculum. We send implicit and explicit messages to students about power, identity and justice through how we engage student voice in creating norms, the content we curate for classroom use and the way we engage both students and faculty in exploring the intersections of civic learning, school climate, and vision and leadership. Whether students aspire to be a dancer , scientist, accountant, farmer, or plumber, all occupations are impacted and impact public policy. All students are members of their community with lived experiences that make them uniquely qualified to be counted among “we the people.” All sectors of society contribute to making a “more perfect union.” Jason Artman, an Illinois Civics Instructional Coach , and his colleague Aaron Sester from Mendota High School had their social s