April 2022
Illinois Civics Hub Newsletter
A newsletter for Illinois teachers to support the implementation of the Illinois middle and high school civics course requirements and K-12 social science standards.
Civics, Standards, and Media Literacy
Choose Your Own Adventure for Summer PD
The revised Illinois Social Science standards provide a pathway to prepare our youngest citizens for college, career, and civic life in the 21st century. Join the Illinois Civics Hub for a blended learning experience where you “choose your own adventure” by mixing and matching a variety of virtual and face-to-face options to build a professional development experience that fits your needs. This summer experience is FREE through a grant from the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.

Introductory Webinar- Civics, Standards, and Media Literacy: An Overview of Social Science Shifts in Illinois: This webinar provides an overview of the revised Illinois Social Science standards and related course mandates. Participants complete a reflection activity to set an agenda for in-person and virtual workshops to follow this summer. Choose from three dates and times.

Civics, Standards, and Media Literacy Workshop: Join the Illinois Civics Hub for an interactive workshop to deconstruct the revised social science standards to audit and enhance current practice. Experience the proven practices of civic education with lesson demonstrations in time for the 2022 midterm elections. Walk away with FREE resources aligned to standards and educational mandates in civics, media literacy, and Inclusive American History. These workshops will take place between 8:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Lunch will be provided. Visit the Illinois Civics Hub Professional Development calendar to find a location near you.

#PoolsidePD: Pick a Few that Work for YOU- COMING SOON! Collaborate with others across the state using Free for Teachers Canvas as you choose from our catalog of on-demand, one-hour PD modules to meet your needs. Develop a plan of action with research-based “teacher moves” from the Educating for American Democracy Roadmap Pedagogy Companion. Get feedback from peers and Illinois Civics Hub Regional Civics Instructional Coaches for a flexible and responsive professional learning experience.

  • Modules on Culture and Support before Challenging Content: Creating a Civil, Brave, and Reflective Classroom for Inquiry, Engaging Student Voice in Staging Inquiry, and Teaching the Language of Collaboration and Cooperation
  • Modules on Inquiry as a Process: Using Essential and Supporting Questions in Curriculum Design, Civic Online Reasoning, and Avoiding the Rabbit Hole- Teaching Concepts in Conspiratorial Thinking with the News Literacy Project
  • Modules on Assessment for Improvement and Reflection: Making Thinking Visible for Formative Assessment, Using Performance Assessments in Social Studies, and Building Better Rubrics for Student Feedback
  • Modules on Constitutional Democracy as Content and Practice: Simulations of Democratic Processes, Current and Controversial Issue Discussions and Informed Action through Service Learning
Civic Online Reasoning for the Midterm Elections
The midterm elections are a teachable moment to help our youngest citizens be wise consumers of information. Join Dr. Joel Breakstone, Director of the Stanford History Education Group, for this timely webinar to share how we can help students navigate the information landscape for informed civic participation. Walk away with tools and ideas to enhance your classroom practice. This webinar aligns with Themes 1 and 7 of the Educating for American Democracy Roadmap- Civic Participation and Contemporary Debates and Possibilities.

This webinar will take place on Wednesday, April 27 from 3:30-4:45 p.m. CT. Registration is free, and this webinar is applicable to educators across the disciplines. Don't forget to invite your librarians and tech coaches!
Harvard Case Method Institute
The Case Method Institute for Education and Democracy is seeking teachers to join in its efforts to advance U.S. history, government, and civics instruction in high schools while deepening students’ interest in, and engagement with, democracy in America. The Institute offers training in the case method, the core pedagogical approach at many business and other professional schools, as well as access to the complete “History of American Democracy” curriculum originally developed for students at Harvard College and Harvard Business School. In comments echoing the feedback of teachers and students nationwide, an undergraduate described this new approach to U.S. history in its inaugural year as “the civics course everyone should take.”

U.S. history, government, and civics teachers with students in grades 9-12 are invited to participate in the next professional development workshop to be held on May 21, 2022. Everything—including the workshop, curriculum, and supporting resources—is provided entirely free of charge. The opportunity includes:
  • An afternoon of Zoom-based training with Professor David Moss of Harvard Business School on Saturday, May 21, including an interactive case discussion.
  • Complete access to more than 20 cases exploring key decision-points in the history of American democracy ranging from the Constitutional Convention to the Civil Rights Movement.
  • An asynchronous virtual training program, completed before the Zoom-based session with Professor Moss, where participants will become familiar with case method teaching.
  • Ongoing support and continued collaboration with Institute staff, prioritizing a two-way exchange of ideas around best practices for teaching by the case method in high schools.
  • Illinois educators can register through the Illinois Civics Hub at the DuPage Regional Office of Education for 12 PD hours for no additional fee. REGISTER HERE.
Untold: What Stories Aren't You Hearing?
Perhaps now, more than ever, our history is a vital and very present part of the world around us. So it’s hugely important that young people feel a part of that conversation and can see themselves reflected in our shared past.

Untold is a free collection of short, compelling, history videos and animations designed to engage new audiences in a new conversation and:
  • shine a light on the stories that don’t always make it into the classroom.
  • question what we think we know about those that do.

New videos are released every week. Untold is developed in partnership with The New York Historical Society, Smithsonian National Museum of American History, iCivics, White House Historical Association, and American Battlefield Trust

Not everything worth knowing exists inside the cover of our history textbooks. Untold is here to fill in the gaps and bring new stories to life.

Teaching in Real-Time: Ukraine
As events unfold in Ukraine, teachers will be asked questions to help students understand current events in real-time. For some students, these events may seem disconnected from their everyday lives; for others, these events may be very close to home.

Teachers will not have all of the answers to student questions, but we can be present, listen, respond with accurate information, and provide support to help students process these events. Here are some resources that can help.

For a more comprehensive list of resources, visit our recent blog post on Teaching about the War in Ukraine.
National Board Subsidy Available for Illinois Teachers
The National Board Resource Center (NBRC) at Illinois State University (ISU) is excited to announce that the Spring 2022 window for the Illinois National Board First Time Candidate Fee Subsidy will be open from March 1, 2022, until May 10, 2022.  

Law Day 2022 Youth Civics Video Contest
The United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois and the Chicago Chapter of the Federal Bar Association is sponsoring the second annual Law Day Youth Civics Contest. Law Day is on May 1 each year and celebrates the role of law in our society and aims to foster a greater understanding of the legal profession.
To celebrate Law Day, students enrolled in grades 6-12 are invited to submit a video recording that answers the question, “Why is judicial diversity important?” Videos may not exceed two and a half minutes and must be the original work of the student/students.
Group entries are permitted, but if selected as a winning entry, only one prize will be awarded to the group. All members of the group must be in the same grade level cohort, and each member must submit an entry form. The first completed form submitted by a group will be sent any award-winnings.
Submissions will be accepted from March 21, 2022 through April 21, 2022. Entries will be judged on how they demonstrate understanding of constitutional principles, clarity, effectiveness in expressing the theme, and originality/creativity.

The Northern District of Illinois includes the following counties: Cook, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kendall, Lake, La Salle, Will, Boone, Carroll, DeKalb, Jo Daviess, Lee, McHenry, Ogle, Stephenson, Whiteside, and Winnebago.
Contest entries may be posted on court websites and materials, in the court history museum, and shared with outside organizations.
For questions, please contact education@ilnd.uscourts.gov.
We the People: An Annual Leadership Summit on Civic Education
You are invited to join the Center for Civic Education and leaders from other national civics organizations for "We the People: An Annual Leadership Summit on Civic Education," a conversation on the current state of civic education on Friday, April 22, at 6:30 p.m. CT. Led by Center President Christopher R. Riano, participants will include David Bobb, president, Bill of Rights Institute; Amanda Susskind, president, Constitutional Rights Foundation; Elizabeth Clay Roy, chief executive officer, Generation Citizen; Louise Dubé, executive director, iCivics; Dimitry Anselme, executive program director for Professional Learning & Support, Facing History and Ourselves; and Jill Bass, chief education officer, Mikva Challenge. This event will kick off the We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution National Finals.
Beta Testers Needed for Roper Center America's Voice Project
With nearly 800,000 public opinion questions on virtually every topic from 1935 to today, America's Voice Project (AVP) puts the nation's opinions at your fingertips. Search by keyword or explore the most popular topics.

America's Voice Project is an initiative of the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research, the world's largest and oldest archive of public opinion data. The Roper Center is a nonprofit organization housed at Cornell University.

AVP is looking for library and government teachers willing to beta test a publicly-available, web-hosted quiz game that will put polling in context with a presidential campaign. If interested in learning more about this endeavor, contact Brett Michael Powell at brett.powell@cornell.edu

Art Project Promoting Unity Through Diversity

The vision of the Mural Mosaic is to “(Re)Connect the World” through the joy of art—one painted tile, one tree, one community, one country at a time. Through its Global Roots project, Mural Mosaic aims to reach out and create as many murals as possible around the world to reconnect individuals to their roots—the roots of their communities, homes, and families, as well as the roots of sharing, giving and connecting. A mosaic of individual strengths and differences together becomes one united work of art.

Every Global Roots Mosaic Mural engages participants in the process of painting a tile representing their connection to community, country, colleague, team, family, and even the world. Each tile is painted to represent an important and iconic image that holds meaning to its participant. Individuals of every age and skill level are welcome to paint in these collaborative mosaic murals.
The Mural Mosaic team has orchestrated an interactive process to provide workshops online so that participants can paint from the comfort and safety of their own spaces. Mural Mosaic will collect the completed tiles digitally or by mail, and the artist and design teams will create each mosaic mural. As all the completed tiles are connected, a united image of a tree emerges, representing both the contributions of individual participants and the collective group artwork.

Tiles are now available for the America Connects Regional Mural Mosaics. Register to receive a Mural Mosaic tile kit. Painted tiles are due by August 31, 2022.

Projects That Inspire Students to Become Changemakers
The nonprofit Makers for Change (M4C) serves students and teachers by increasing equitable access to advanced technologies, supporting community engagement in makerspaces, and inspiring makers to become changemakers. Students are empowered to start chapters at their schools and learn about making through a social impact lens.

The Makers for Change library enables students to learn how to build solutions to problems in their communities. Teachers are supported in developing 3D-printing labs and long-lasting maker culture in their schools. Makerspaces are provided resources to connect with their communities and bring in youth. Makers for Change projects include animal prosthetics, 3D-printed toys, braille/tactile models, and laser-cut items. Applications to start a chapter are processed once a month.
Games for a More Peaceful World
Minecraft has released an immersive educational game called Active Citizen, in partnership with the Nobel Peace Center and Games for Change. The goal of the game is to help educate youth worldwide about Nobel Peace Prize laureates, past and present, and foster an understanding of the skills needed to drive positive change in the world.

The game includes accompanying resources on the web for classroom use, including lesson plans and teacher discussion guides designed for students aged 8–16.

When they enter the Active Citizen Minecraft world, players are transported to the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo, where they will meet Alfred Nobel, who left most of his fortune to establish the Nobel Prize. Players will then meet four Nobel Peace Prize laureates—Malala Yousafzai, Wangari Maathai, Fridtjof Nansen, and the 14th Dalai Lama—to learn about their stories and help them overcome challenges as they build peace in their local communities.

The game experience concludes by calling on players to identify a local cause meaningful to them and create a unique Minecraft build that represents their vision of peace. The Nobel Peace Center will curate a museum exhibition of Active Citizen designs featuring contributions from players around the world.

Active Citizen is available for play to all users with Minecraft: Education Edition, both in-game and on the Minecraft website. A free demo will soon be available. Further learning materials can be found on the Nobel Peace Center education portal.
The Media, the Messages, and the Impact
The Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago supports teachers in developing critical thinking and news literacy in students—two abilities that will serve students throughout their lives and help them be part of our democracy. Toward that goal, the museum brings an innovative, real-time online exhibit and curriculum to schools across the country.

The museum’s main exhibit covers the history of radio, from the pioneering first days of radio kits and amateur operators to today’s satellite-enhanced multi-billion-dollar industry. Students can preview the exhibit 100 Years of Radio: From 1835 to Today on the museum’s website. They can learn about the Titanic’s impact on radio, for example, or listen to the first sports broadcasts. They can also view a newsreel in which Dr. Jonas Salk announces the polio vaccine over the radio.

From talk radio to television to podcasts to Twitter, the museum helps middle and high school students understand how today’s debates are shaped by 60 years of broadcast history. The Great Debates curriculum develops critical thinking and media literacy by linking performance highlights, commentary, and debate analyses. The museum wants students to understand not just the debates but also the critiques, the spins, and the patterns.
Preserve Nature with Civic Science
Project Budburst, which is managed by the National Ecological Observatory and Chicago Botanic Garden, collects data on the timing of leafing, flowering, and fruiting of plants throughout the year to help scientists investigate the impact of climate change on different species. Users create lists of plants to track and then enter data and images to document the phenological stage of those plants on a regular basis.

The app provides support to citizen scientists by offering recommendations for plants to track, information on local species, and lists developed by conservation organizations and other entities of interesting plants. The app also provides background information on each species and images of the different phenological stages of each plant. For fun, the app includes a flora-caching game that challenges users to find different types of plants using a variety of clues. The app is available free of charge for iOS and Android devices. The project’s mobile site will work on any smartphone.

The Civics ELA Connection with iCivics
There is so much overlap between civics and ELA! For starters, civics is a subject area that offers an unlimited supply of complex, engaging primary and secondary source texts for students to read and build understanding from. And iCivics provides ready-to-go lessons, activities, and games that leverage these texts and help you seamlessly integrate them into ELA lessons. 

From close reading, vocabulary building, and textual analysis to providing context and background for fiction and nonfiction readings, iCivics is an enriching addition to ELA lessons. Here’s a preview of the resources of the resources we recommend:  
  • DBQuests: Our interactive DBQuest modules offer historical topically-aligned primary source documents, as well as guiding questions to help students dig into the text. This scaffolded approach helps students build evidence-based reading skills aligned with Common Core.  
  • Newsfeed Defenders game: Reading news and social media take critical thinking and analytical skills. Newsfeed Defenders challenges students to use both skills as they maintain a fictional social media site. Writing activities are included in the game Extension Pack.  
  • Media literacy & journalism lessons: Our media literacy curriculum offers a wide variety of lessons to dig into skill-building around journalism, such as understanding satire and bias and evaluating opinion.
Conspiratorial Thinking & Combatting Misinformation in the Classroom
The Constitutional Democracy Project along with the News Literacy Project will host a professional development opportunity on May 16 from 5-7:30 p.m. at the
Conviser Law Center at 565 W. Adams Street, Chicago, for middle and high school teachers. This event will provide educators with resources that help make connections between news literacy and the other topics examined in the classroom this year.

This session is open to middle and high school teachers. This year's program is a FREE EVENT and will be in person. All attendees should be fully vaccinated. Come join your colleagues and mingle during a cocktail reception.

Register for the event here. Please contact Dee Runaas if you wish to participate remotely or if you need additional information.
Participate in the Kids Vote Illinois Mock Election
The Illinois Civics course requirements at both middle and high school require the use of simulations of democratic processes in the classroom. Simulations like mock elections can demystify democratic institutions that gird our republic by providing an opportunity for students to apply civic knowledge, skills, and dispositions in a safe and supportive context to prepare for civic life as an adult.

The Illinois Civics Hub and the Illinois Democracy School Network are joining Kids Voting USA to provide classrooms throughout Illinois with the opportunity to participate in the Kids Voting Illinois Statewide Mock Election this year.

Schools that participate in this simulation of a democratic process will be connected to:
  • A ballot tailored to their region with candidates for U.S. House and Senate, IL House and Senate, and statewide office like the governor.
  • Cross-curricular resources to facilitate school-wide mock elections
  • A secure voting platform through Double Click Democracy that is SOPPA compliant to protect student privacy. Students can vote via electronic or paper ballot.
  • Post-election results to analyze your school’s participation.

Democracy is NOT a spectator sport! Register your school TODAY for the Kids Voting Illinois Statewide mock election and share it with your colleagues.
Above the Noise with KQED Education
Above the Noise, a YouTube series from KQED for teens cuts through the hype and dives deep into the research behind the issues affecting their daily lives. The series investigates controversial subject matter to help young viewers draw their own informed conclusions while inspiring media literacy and civic engagement. The latest installment aligns with the Illinois media literacy and civics requirements.

When, If Ever, Is It OK to Call Someone Out Online? Seems like every week there’s another celebrity getting “canceled” on social media. But what happens when students start canceling each other? Above the Noise investigates the difference between “calling out” and “calling in,” and Myles talks with high schoolers about the pros and cons of taking personal grievances public on social media. This video was co-produced with Common Sense EducationWatch and discuss on KQED Learn.
IMEDIA Wants Teacher Feedback
Do you teach in a public high school in Illinois? Do you teach anything related to media or media literacy in your course? If so, IMEDIA love to talk with you in a 30-45-minutes Zoom interview. 

IMEDIA is a group of media and education professors and graduate students at the University of Illinois and Northwestern University. In 2021, the Illinois state legislature passed Public Act 102-0055 mandating a unit of instruction in media literacy in public high schools, beginning with the 2022-2023 school year. 

There is not much knowledge about how media literacy is currently being taught in Illinois schools. We’re interviewing teachers on Zoom to find out where and how teachers are integrating media or media literacy in their classes. Interviews will be held between 4-6 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. on weekdays. As a thank you, you will receive a $25 Amazon gift e-card.  

If you have any questions, please contact IMEDIA at imedia@illinois.edu
Tools for Teaching About Immigration and Migration

Our friends at the Retro Report are co-hosting a webinar on Wednesday, April 13 from 6-7 p.m. (CT) on Tools for Teaching about Immigration and Migration. Retro Report will be joined by New American History and Re-Imagining Migration, with the common goal of providing teachers with context, ideas, and resources for teaching about immigration and migration across the curriculum. Whether you are teaching U.S. or World History, Geography or Civics, the topic of immigration has a home in the curriculum.

Have you heard of SB825?
SB825 requires high schools to provide voter registration information to students. The bill also requires high schools to allow nonpartisan voter registration activities on site.

The League of Women Voters in Illinois has created these step-by-step informational flyers to help students navigate the process of registering to vote: 

Need resources and lessons to help with elections and voting? Take a look at the Election and Voting Toolkit on the Illinois Civic Hub Website. 
Understanding the Revisions to the Illinois Social Science Standards

The Illinois Civics Hub (ICH) is hosting a series of professional development opportunities to help stakeholders understand the revisions to the Illinois Social Science standards scheduled to go into effect in the 2022-23 school year.

On Tuesday, May 10, the ICH, in partnership with the DuPage Regional Office of Education, will host an online Administrator Academy, Exploring the New Illinois Social Studies and Civic Requirements K-12, open to district leadership and teachers to provide an overview of the framework of the new social studies standards for K-12. Participants will explore how the revised standards incorporate both disciplinary concepts and inquiry skills that empower students with the knowledge, skills, and dispositions for success in college, career, and civic life. Explicit connections will be made between the revised standards, Common Core State Standards in ELA Literacy, SEL, and the Danielson Framework for Effective Teaching. There is a fee for this academy, and participants can earn either academy credit or professional hours.

For more information and registration links, visit the ICH Professional Development calendar.
We the Students Essay Content with the Bill of Rights Institute

From Wednesday, December 15, 2021, through Friday, April 15, 2022, the Bill of Rights Institute will conduct an essay contest, "We the Students." This year's prompt is How does an understanding of natural rights and respect build a free society?

Essays should be 500-800 words and demonstrate an understanding of natural rights, how they relate to the principle of respect, and how the flourishing of a free society is dependent upon them. Excellent essays will go beyond "dictionary definitions" to express their understanding and reasoning about the connections among these principles. Specific examples and well-researched facts should be combined with students’ own observations and experiences. A good essay will demonstrate how these principles are not just abstract ideas but a part of people's everyday actions and choices. Prizes include:
  • National Grand Prize – One at $7,500.
  • Runners Up – Five at $1,500 each.
  • Honorable Mention – Ten at $500 each.

Apply for Scholarship to Sphere Summit:
Teaching Civic Culture Together
The Cato Institute and the Sphere Education Initiative are excited to announce the return of Sphere Summit: Teaching Civic Culture Together for the Summer of 2022!

Sphere Summit is a full‐scholarship professional development program for grades 5–12 educators and administrators. The program will be held in person in Washington, DC.

There will be two Summits. The first will be held on July 10–14 for grades 5–12 educators and administrators. The second will be held on July 24–28 and will be exclusively for those teaching AP, IB, or similar advanced subjects and alumni of a previous Sphere Summit. Both Summits will have full in-person attendance.

Those who are accepted to participate in the Sphere Summit and successfully complete the program will be eligible for the following benefits:
  • Access to exclusive conversations and events for Sphere alumni
  • Early access to exclusive opportunities to bring Sphere professional development opportunities to their school
  • 20+ hours of professional development, books, materials, lesson plans, and classroom resources
Sphere Summit registrations are accepted on a rolling basis. Please visit the 2022 Sphere Summit for more information and program updates.

For more information, contact events@cato.org or call (202) 789-5229.
Earn Your Microcredentials: Become a Guardian of Democracy Educator
The Illinois Civics Hub has partnered with the Lou Frey Institute at the University of Central Florida to provide educators the opportunity to earn their microcredentials in the proven practices of civic education embedded in the middle and high school civics course requirements in Illinois. Courses include:
  • Current and Controversial Issue DiscussionsLearn from academic experts Dr. Diana Hess & Dr. Paula McAvoy as you explore the purpose, role, and function of discussion strategies as pedagogical tools to equip young people to be engaged citizens. This course will enhance the practice of educators with strategies and resources to create a classroom climate in which there are equitable opportunities for ALL students to engage in dialogue about essential questions across the curriculum.
  • Simulations of Democratic ProcessesLearn from academic experts Dr. Walter Parker & Dr. Jane Lo as you explore how democratic processes and procedures occur as part of the regular functioning of government, in each of the three branches of government, and at each level of government. This course will guide you through the purpose, planning, and implementation of three simulations: town hall meetings, legislative hearings, and moot courts.
  • Informed Action through Service LearningLearn from academic experts Dr. Joseph Kahne and Jessica Marshall as you explore the purpose, role, and function of informed action through service learning as a pedagogical tool to equip young people with the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to be active members of their community. In this course, you will interact with strategies and tools that you can use in your classroom to support student-centered informed action through service learning.

Registration information is available on the Illinois Civics Hub Professional Development calendarThose who successfully complete the 5-week online course will earn a Bronze Certified Guardian of Democracy Educator badge via Badgr and the University of Central Florida Center for Distributive Learning. Participants can earn 15 PD hours through the DuPage Regional Office of Education.

There are three strands of courses for each proven practice of civics education. Graduate credit is available through the University of St. Francis for completing all three courses. For more information, please visit the Guardians of Democracy homepage.

Monthly SEL Series for School Leaders

The past year has been emotionally and physically taxing on school leaders around the country. Now more than ever, the social and emotional health of those working in and with schools needs to be a priority. Throughout this monthly series, principals, superintendents, and school leaders will learn self-care strategies and science-based techniques to master mindset, embrace their emotions, and channel their energy while promoting their own mental, physical, and emotional health. Meetings will be facilitated by Greg Wolcott, Assistant Superintendent in Woodridge #68 and author of Significant 72: Unleashing the Power of Relationships in Today's Schools. There is a one-time registration for all meeting times. For more information, a complete list of dates, or to register, click here.
Get a Jump on Summer PD Plans
The Council for State Social Studies Supervisors has complied a list of the wealth of professional development opportunities available to social studies educators in the summer of 2022. A special thanks to all of the organizations who contributed to this work and to the many organizations who are offering high-quality social studies professional development for social studies teachers across the country. Many of the opportunities are offered for free or at a low cost. Please email Stefanie Wager at stefanie.rosenbergwager@gmail.com with any questions or comments, or to add programs to this list.
Resources to Understand SCOTUS

The historic nomination by President Joe Biden of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson for associate justice to the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has brought the highest court on the land into the spotlight. With SCOTUS currently tackling cases involving essential questions about power, justice, and rule of law, SCOTUS is certain to continue as a topic of conversation in civics classrooms for weeks to come.

The Educating for American Democracy Roadmap Theme 5, Institutional and Social Transformation, offers several questions to frame student inquiry about SCOTUS.
  • How and why has the United States transformed its basic political, legal, economic, and social arrangements over time?
  • How do laws and social structures change?
  • How can the Constitution be changed formally and informally? (and how can your state constitution or other charter be changed?) 

We asked some of our Regional Civics Instructional Coaches to share their favorite resources to teach about SCOTUS. Here are their recommendations.
  • Tracy Freeman (Livingston, McClean, Ford, Champaign, Vermilion, Piatt, Macon, Dewitt, and Logan Counties): There are SO many good cases, it really does go along with your content. I have enjoyed using the iCivics nomination process lessons and charts. When did it become so divisive? Why did it become such a partisan reason? They also have a variety of lessons for middle and high school on SCOTUS opinions/decisions. There are so many options, including games!
  • Chris Johnson (Mercer, Warren, Henderson, Knox, Fulton, McDonough, Schuyler, Cass, Morgan, Scott, Brown, Pike, Adams, and Hancock Counties)- Street Law SCOTUS in the Classroom provides great resources on current and past SCOTUS cases that are easy to integrate into the classroom. They make it easy for teachers to assign readings, briefs, and even run moot court simulations with their easy-to-use content.
  • Heather Monson (Jo Daviess, Stephenson, Carroll, Ogle, Lee, Whiteside, Bureau, Henry, Stark, and Rock Island Counties): The New York Times has a great database of court cases before the court with the most recent current events. SCOTUS has its own website that has a ton of great information for teachers to educate themselves. There is also a great downloadable/printable book for students to use with many great infographics. Educators 4 Social Change has some great resources along with an activity that challenges students to critically think about how they would change the Supreme Court. Bill of Rights Institute has a great collection of Landmark Cases. Each case has a lesson plan and supporting activities. This is a GREAT resource. 
  • Logan Ridenour (St. Clair, Clinton, Marion, Jefferson, Perry, Randolph, Jackson, Union, Monroe, Alexander, Washington, and Pulaski Counties)- Landmark Cases from Street Law provides teachers with resources to teach about important cases and their impact on the country.
  • Matt Wood (West Cook, DuPage, Kane, and DeKalb Counties)- Knowing what is going on can be really helpful in crafting meaningful and timely lessons. While the SCOTUS blog is not loaded with lesson plans, it does give you the advantage of knowing what is happening and can help you in creating these lessons. “The Docket” Civics in Real LIfe segments put out by the University of Central Florida are really rich resources complete with the context of current legal debates and links to relevant information. A great resource for making meaning with the kids of how relevant the court’s work is in their lives.
  • Corie Yow (Menard, Sangamon, Macoupin, Christian, Montgomery, Bond, Fayette, Effingham, Madison, Jersey, Greene, and Calhoun Counties.)- Edsitement provides a progression of lessons about SCOTUS. The first lesson focuses on the structure and purpose of the Supreme Court, then moves students into an analysis of Tinker v. Des Moines (1969), the landmark case about student free speech in schools. Resources are provided for students to have the opportunity to research other cases and participate in a Supreme Court simulation.

Connect with your Regional Coach today! Visit our website to find out more and reach out to get on their monthly regional email listserv.

This monthly newsletter from the Illinois Civics Hub, hosted at the DuPage Regional Office of Education, provides educators with timely professional development opportunities and classroom resources. For weekly updates on emerging research on civics, “teachable moments,” and related materials, follow our blog.