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Series Info

Episodes: 8

Length: 60 min.

Grade Levels:
Professional Development

Social Studies

Video on Demand
Teachers Guides
Web Resources


Making Civics Real: A Workshop for Teachers

This video workshop for the professional development of high school teachers illustrates a constructivist approach to the teaching of civics, with eight video programs, each dedicated to one teacher’s multi-part lesson. Developed in collaboration with the National Council for the Social Studies and the Center for Civic Education, the video programs, Web site, and print guide provide the methodology for the effective teaching of civics, and include complete lesson plans of the lessons shown in the video.

Episode Guide

1. Freedom of Religion—Ninth-grade civics teacher Kristen Borges involves her students at Southwest High School in Minnesota in a simulation of a U.S. Supreme Court hearing on a First Amendment case.

2. Electoral Politics—This program shows the conclusion of a 12-week civic engagement unit developed by the national Student Voices program. The methodologies highlighted in this lesson include issue identification and consensus building.

3. Public Policy and the Federal Budget—Leslie Martin’s ninth-graders at West Forsyth High School in North Carolina create, present, revise, and defend a federal budget, and then reflect on what they have learned.

4. Constitutional Convention—Matt Johnson teaches an AP Comparative Government class to seniors at Benjamin Banneker Senior High School in Washington, DC. Students work in cooperative learning groups to discuss and debate issues relating to the executive and legislative branches of government.

5. Patriotism and Foreign Policy—The students in this program are seniors at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts, a public magnet school in Washington, DC. In this lesson, U.S. government teacher Alice Chandler has her students create a Museum of Patriotism and Foreign Policy.

6. Civic Engagement—This program shows a group of 11th- and 12th-grade students at Anoka High School in Minnesota engaging in service learning — a requirement for graduation.

7. Controversial Public Policy Issues—In this 12th-grade law class at Champlin Park High School in Minnesota, JoEllen Ambrose engages students in a structured discussion of a highly controversial issue — racial profiling — and connects student learning both to their study of due process in constitutional law and police procedure in criminal law.

8. Rights and Responsibilities of Students—Students in Matt Johnson’s 12th-grade law course at Benjamin Banneker Senior High School in Washington, DC, engage in a culminating activity to help them review and apply what they have learned. Students write and distribute one-page briefs of Supreme Court cases they have studied.

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