Friday, May 11, 2018

Teaching about Civic Literacy and Engagement

I just finished a Civic Literacy and Engagement Workbook for my Life Skills students. Civics is not offered at my high school so it is incumbent upon our U.S. History teachers to infuse the topic into their history lessons. This is a huge challenge considering the difficulty involved in covering the content we are expected to cover in U.S. History, especially in any depth.

I've been a strong advocate of civic literacy my entire teaching career. I make it a priority. I infuse these topics into all my courses, any chance I get. This year I've expanded my "Civic Literacy and Engagement" unit in my Life Skills class to a month-long unit from a two-week long unit. I spend 2-3 days covering the basics (which is essentially review because most of my Life Skills students have taken U.S. History with me where I cover this material more extensively). We review the structure and framework of local, state, and federal government as well as key terms. The following week, we work in our Civic Literacy and Engagement Workbooks focusing on topics covering what it means to be a "good" citizen" and the various ways in which citizens can become engaged in the civic process. I've included 48 task cards in my workbook as well. We try to complete one lesson a period and conclude the period with 5-10 minutes completing "tasks" included on the task cards. Some days we start the period working on the task cards and finish the period wrapping up a previous lesson.

Each lesson is centered around a program or program segment from NPR. My students are becoming more adept at "close listening" as I've also made this a priority over the course of the year. I use podcasts and NPR quite often in my courses. Many of the task cards include activities and games from the amazingly awesome site, icivics. Most of my students LOVE the games on this website, especially "Argument Wars" which I also use in my Civil Rights History course following my lesson on the landmark Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education.

Some other activities I include in my unit: a mock voter registration, a mock election, a mock trial, "What would you do? scenarios, a gallery walk, a bulletin board project, etc.

I'd love to hear from other teachers, especially those who teach in schools without a formal Civics course offering. How do you infuse civic education into the curriculum?

If you are interested in my Civic Literacy and Engagement Workbook (which includes 48 task cards) please click the link below. Please follow me on TpT for resource updates and freebies!

Happy Teaching!

Civic Literacy and Engagement Workbook (Includes 48 Task Cards!)


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