December 2021
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.
'Tis the Season for Service Learning
The month of December marks the season of giving. It's filled with toy drives and warm-clothing collections for those in need. These school traditions are the perfect opportunity for classrooms across disciplines to engage in the proven practice of service learning.

The knowledge, skills, and dispositions of civic engagement are not things with which a person is born. As Justice Sandra Day O’Connor once explained, "The practice of democracy is not passed down through the gene pool. It must be taught and learned anew by each generation of citizens.” Service learning allows students to develop and practice civic responsibility in a safe environment through inquiry that leads to authentic social impact. 

Service learning differs from community service in that student actions are informed by the curriculum that is designed around essential questions addressing responsibility, empathy, and power. Imagine how much more effective the annual food drive could be if students engaged in an investigation about the root causes of hunger in their community to deeply understand why their food drive is needed and advocate for practices and policies that promote sustainable change. A project to collect items for the local Veterans' home could be informed by research and interviews of individuals and organizations, resulting in a more robust donation of goods and a deeper understanding of government institutions that impact veterans and their families.

When students’ actions or “what” is informed by a clear understanding of their “why,” students develop agency and the ability to be important partners in addressing the essential question, “How shall we live together?”

As we embark on this season of reflection and giving, think about how you can enhance the holiday traditions of your school to embrace the proven practice of service learning. Keep in mind that the most effective service-learning projects have the following characteristics in common:
  • There is student ownership and voice in the selection of the issue(s).
  • The informed action meets actual community needs.
  • The initiative is coordinated in collaboration with the school and community.
  • Service learning is a natural extension of the curriculum.
  • The initiative is an opportunity to apply academic skills and knowledge in an authentic context.
  • The activity provides time for a young person to think and reflect on the service learning experience.
  • The service-learning fosters Social Emotional Learning dispositions.

For more information and tools to support service learning, visit the Illinois Civics Hub Service Learning Toolkit. and peruse the remainder of the newsletter for and a funding opportunity through Youth Service America and free professional development to enhance your practice of service learning through CERG and the Guardians of Democracy Microcredential Program.
Reapportionment, Redistricting, and Gerrymandering

Reapportionment as a result of the 2020 Census has resulted in the loss of one Congressional seat for Illinois. How will congressional districts be redrawn by the Illinois General Assembly? How will state and local districts shift as well?

Redistricting is a teachable moment for civics classrooms and an opportunity for students to engage in current and societal issue discussionssimulations of democratic processes, and informed action through service learning per the middle and high school civics course requirements in Illinois.

The Illinois Civics Hub Redistricting Toolkit provides Illinois classrooms with free resources to address essential questions related to federalism, power, representation, justice, and equality. The Toolkit has resources to help understand:
  • How the Census Works
  • Redistricting, Reapportionment, and Gerrymandering
  • Redistricting through Games and Simulations (See the image of middle school students in West Chicago playing a modified M&M Redistricting Game.)

Check it out TODAY!
Teach About the U.S. Legal System with iCivics
The United States legal system might appear complex to your students, but iCivics games are designed to break it down and help them make connections. Students will have fun with what they’re learning about courts, laws, and the U.S. Constitution with these two games.  
  • Court Quest: Students navigate the differences between the state and federal court systems and identify the types and levels of courts within each system.
  • Do I Have a Right? Students go deep into the legal system to identify rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights and later amendments. 

iCivics also provides extension packs and related resource suggestions that are full of easy-to-use, standards-aligned lessons, and activities, giving lots of options and guidance on how to teach through games.
History-Social Sciences Teacher Symposium

Join ROE 17 in Bloomington, the Department of History at Illinois State University and the McClean County Museum on February 18, 2022 at Illinois State University for a timely conference on "Conflict/Resolution: Civics and Culture in the Social Studies Classroom."

Symposium themes include engaging in controversial conversations, promoting and assessing student inquiry, fostering multiple voices and deliberative discussions, & constructing an inclusive curriculum in an age of political polarization. 

For more information, including how to register, visit the ROE 17 site.
2022 Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation Youth Grant Application

In the United States, 1 in 6 children lives in households experiencing food insecurity in 2021. This is a problem that can be solved, and kids are a part of the solution! YSA and Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation are looking for the best ideas from young people about how they can provide immediate food aid to help end hunger today, while also going beyond food aid to help ensure people are not hungry tomorrow.
Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation Youth Grants of up to $500 will support youth leaders ages 5-25 across the U.S. to turn their ideas into action and make an impact on the issue of childhood hunger in 2022. There is also an option to apply for a fundraising match grant, which includes $100 for fundraising-related costs and a $400 matching grant to a local hunger-relief organization.

Free Webinar to Educate 4 Democracy with CERG
Join Dr. Erica Hodgin, co-Director of the Civic Engagement Research Group (CERG) based out of the University of California Riverside, and Dr. Leah Bueso, a postdoctoral scholar with CERG, to learn about their new website offering educators the tools they need to prepare youth to participate in a democratic society. The website Educating 4 Democracy offers a collection of videos and learning modules to help guide educators to provide high-quality civic learning opportunities to their students. With dedicated topic pages such as “Civic Discussion & Deliberation” and “Civic Action,” beginning and veteran teachers, leaders, and administrators alike will be able to take the civic development of their students to the next level.

This is part of a series of webinars the ICH is hosting this school year to support civics across the curriculum. A description for each webinar and information to register for the free professional development is available on the Illinois Civics Hub Professional Development calendar.
Liberty: an Inclusive Story of the American Revolution taught through Art and Drama

Liberty, a new exhibit in the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia, seeks to tell a more inclusive story of the American Revolution by introducing visitors to people critical to building the nation—yet whose names they’ve likely never heard.

The museum’s new special exhibition immerses visitors in the dramatic and research-based works of nationally renowned historical artist Don Troiani to bring compelling stories about the diverse people and complex events of the American Revolution to life.

In early 2022, Liberty will be permanently available to virtual visitors from around the world through an online experience of 360-degree, high-resolution panoramic images and much more. Virtual distance learning programs and teacher professional development opportunities focusing on the exhibit will also be available. A full teachers resource guide will debut in 2022, in conjunction with the virtual tour. Teachers can get a jumpstart with Unit 1: Researching the Revolution.

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.

If you have already earned your Bronze Certified Educator Badge, Silver and Gold cohorts will run this winter and spring. Visit the Illinois Civics Hub Professional Development calendar for more information.

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.

Understanding News Media Bias with the News Literacy Project
On Wednesday, Jan. 19 from 3-4 p.m., the News Literacy Project will host the fourth in their series of webinars titled, Understanding misinformation and how to talk to people who believe it.

The fourth and final session focuses on the topic of Understanding News Media Bias to help participants think more clearly about what causes bias in reporting, what it looks like in coverage, and what you can do when you encounter it in your news diet. 

If you missed the previous webinars, you can catch up by viewing the recordings below.

The News Literacy Project is an important civic learning partner to the Illinois Civics Hub. To find out more about their resources to support media literacy, visit the Illinois Civics Hub Media Literacy Toolkit.
Host a News Literacy Boot Camp
The News Literacy Project is seeking proposals from school districts to host a NewsLitCamp, a day-long professional development experience based in a local newsroom. NewsLitCamps bring educators and practicing journalists together to discuss news literacy and journalism. Designed primarily for middle and high school teachers, librarians, and media specialists, these participatory workshops include topical sessions (planned with input from participants) and educator-driven planning and development time to empower educators to embed news literacy across subject areas and grade levels.

NLP invites educators to submit a proposal to host a free NewsLitCamp for their district. These events aspire to develop educators’ expertise in news literacy education, share specialized teaching resources and provide a behind-the-scenes view of the news reporting process. Participants leave with new ideas, skills, and resources to help their students navigate today’s complex information landscape and counter a rising tide of misinformation. Most importantly, NewsLitCamps build a greater understanding among educators and journalists that enhances the appreciation of the vital civic role each plays in our democracy.

This NewsLitCamp is made possible through the generosity of the Google News Initiative and will take place in spring 2022.
Street Law’s 2022 Classroom Champion Award

Acknowledging and celebrating the valuable contributions of teachers is important. Since 2005, Street Law has recognized extraordinary educators through its annual awards program.

Street Law is seeking nominations of exceptional classroom teachers who:
  • Use student-centered interactive methodologies.
  • Use Street Law-developed materials in engaging ways.
  • Further Street Law’s mission of advancing justice through education.

The teacher selected as the 2022 Classroom Champion (and one guest) will receive a trip to Washington, DC, to attend the Street Law Awards Gala on May 4, 2022.

Mapping Impactful Media Literacy Practice Report Released

The National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) and the Mapping Impactful Media Literacy Practice Initiative announced the publication of the research report, “Equity and Impact in Media Literacy Practice: Mapping the Field in the United States,” as well as a “Field Guide for Equitable Media Literacy Practice.”

The report and field guide were a result of a year-long research project, "Mapping Impactful Media Literacy Practice” led by Paul Mihailidis (Emerson College), Srivi Ramasubramanian (Syracuse University), and Melissa Tully (University of Iowa). The full report and field guide can be found on the Mapping Impactful Media Literacy Practice website.
Apply to be part of the iCivics Educator Network
The iCivics Educator Network is an energetic group of educational professionals who represent iCivics with outreach and training and, just as importantly, provide the organization with invaluable insights and guidance relating to the field, the profession, and the realities of the classroom.

The group first launched in 2011 with 8 ‘Teacher Council’ members, and iCivics had 2,742 registered teachers. Now, more than 150,000 teachers have registered with iCivics, and the Educator Network now has 150 members, including classroom teachers, social studies supervisors, technology specialists, and administrators. The iCivics Educator Network has been amplifying our message by training hundreds of their colleagues, presenting at workshops, hosting social network events, participating in grant opportunities, and advising iCivics staff as they developed new instructional resources.

If you are interested in joining the iCivics Educator Network, learn more at this link. Applications are due on December 17, 2021.

Culture in Our Classrooms from IES

Culturally responsive practice recognizes the importance of including students’ cultural references in all aspects of learning. Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Midwest created this 30-minute documentary in collaboration with Twin Cities Public Television (TPT) to connect research to practice in fostering positive school climates, trust between students and staff, and support of evidence-based strategies for implementing culturally responsive practices in middle school settings.

Regional Education Laboratory Midwest also produced a documentary viewing guide that is available for download. The guide prompts viewers as they consider what they have learned in the film that can inform their own work. The viewing guide can be used by school leaders, teachers, and community-based organizations.

You can learn more about the work of the Midwest Achievement Gap Research Alliance on the Institute of Educational Services website.

Visit the REL Midwest website to learn how they are partnering with stakeholders to equip state and local education agency staff to access, use, and disseminate research results.
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 [email protected] with any questions, comments, or to add programs to this list.
Do You Know Your Regional Civics Instructional Coach?
In order to facilitate the implementation of legislation concerning the middle civics course requirement and sustain the support of the high school civics requirement, the McCormick Foundation has provided funding for the Illinois Civic Hub to work with Civics Instructional Coaches that represent ten designated areas throughout Illinois.

Civics Instructional Coaches receive in-depth training and provide support for middle and high school civics/social studies teachers in their respective regions. Civics Coaches also provide ongoing engagement with Regional Offices of Education, teachers, schools, districts, and pre-service programs in their area via newsletters, social media, workshops, and conference presentations throughout the school year.

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

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.