February 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.
Resources to Explore the SCOTUS Nomination Process

Last week, Justice Stephen Breyer announced his departure from the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS). While the announcement was not unexpected given the political realities of the midterm elections, some court watchers were surprised by the announcement's timing.

This SCOTUS resignation is a teachable moment to meet the pedagogical requirements of the middle and high school civics course requirements
  • Educators can provide classroom instruction on democratic institutions to help students understand the importance of SCOTUS and its role in the separation of powers in the federal government and its oversight of state and local governments in our system of federalism.
  • Students can engage in a current and societal issue discussion on the qualities they would look for in the next justice or other proposed SCOTUS reforms such as term limits and changing the size of the court.
  • Students can participate in a simulation of a democratic process and hold a mock confirmation hearing to understand the process.
  • Students can take informed action through service learning by contacting their senators to advocate their position on the new nominee or other policy proposals related to the courts. Students can also interact with candidates to the U.S. Senate to seek out their stand on issues pertaining to SCOTUS.

To facilitate the activities listed above, visit our recent blog for resources from Street Law, iCivics, the American Bar Association Division of Public Education, and more to enhance your classroom practice.
Illinois Inclusive American History Commission
As we embark on Black History Month and elevate the contributions of African- Americans to the United States, it is important that this work goes well beyond the month of February. The Illinois Civics Hub recently shared resources to commemorate the legacy of Dr. Martin Lughter King Jr. and other black leaders who have shaped United States history. At the end of this newsletter, our regional civic instructional coaches share some of their favorite resources to teach inclusive history.

To amplify the voices, narratives, and contributions of Black Americans and other historically marginalized groups, the Illinois Inclusive American History Commission {105 ILCS 5/22-3.187​​} was created to provide assistance to the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) in revising its social science learning standards. The State Board of Education has charged the Inclusive American History Commission to:
  1. Review available resources for use in school districts that reflect the racial and ethnic diversity of this state and country. The resources identified by the commission may be posted on the State Board of Education's website.
  2. Provide guidance for each learning standard developed for educators on how to ensure that instruction and content are not biased to value specific cultures, time periods, and experiences over other cultures, time periods, and experiences.
  3. Develop guidance, tools, and support for professional learning on how to locate and utilize resources for non-dominant cultural narratives and sources of historical information.

More information about the work of the Commission is available on the ISBE website. Meetings are open to the public and past agendas, and minutes are open to review. A legislative report from the Inclusive American History Commission is due February 28, 2022. The state board is slated to publish additional resources this April to support mandated units of study, such as African-American History.
The Midterms as a Pathway for Civic Learning and Media Literacy

Join the Illinois Civics Hub this spring for a series of online webinars centered on using the midterm elections as a teachable moment for media literacy and civic learning. Each session is aligned to the Educating for American Democracy Roadmap and features academic experts and civic learning partners to explore: 
  • Strategies and tools that enrich your curriculum and provide students with the knowledge, skills, and dispositions for effective civic engagement. 
  • Media literacy strategies to help your students become wise consumers and producers of information. 

Our series continues on Wednesday, February 23, from 3:30-4:45 p.m. CT. with a webinar titled, A Midterm Update on Voting Rights and Election Laws with Dr. Steven D. Schwinn. Dr. Schwinn, Professor of Law at the University of Illinois Chicago School of Law, will provide an update on policies related to voting rights and election laws as we approach the midterm elections. This workshop is aligned to Theme 5 of the Educating for Democracy Roadmap, Social and Institutional Transformation.

Each webinar is free, and participants can earn professional development hours through the DuPage Regional Office of Education.

For a full schedule of offerings and to register, visit the Illinois Civics Hub Professional Development calendar.
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.
Get Ready for Mock Election Season with the Illinois Civics Hub

Dr. Jane Lo, assistant professor of teacher education at Michigan State University, joins the Illinois Civics Hub on Wednesday, February 9 from 3:30-4:45 p.m. CT to share her research around the use of simulations for civic learning in the classroom. Get your questions answered about how to create equitable opportunities for rigorous and relevant civic learning through simulations like mock elections, moot courts, and legislative hearings. Register here!

According to the Guardians of Democracy report, young people can practice citizenship by playing roles in simulations. Games and simulations can be constructed so as to be highly engaging and motivating while also requiring advanced academic skills and constructive interaction with other students under challenging circumstances.

For deeper learning about the use of simulations of democratic processes in the classroom, register for our free Guardians of Democracy microcredential course. Registration is open for both the winter and spring cohorts. For more resources, review our Simulation Toolkit.
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, February 8, 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 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.
Tackling Misinformation with the News Literacy Project

The News Literacy Prject recently published a new infographic“In brief: Misinformation to provide a foundational understanding of this ever-changing and urgent problem and help classrooms be more mindful about their information habits.

The News Literacy Project just wrapped up a highly successful webinar series for older adults, Understanding Misinformation and How to Talk to People Who Believe It, with a session on media bias. If you missed any of the four sessions, no worries; you can watch recordings of all of them here.

Consider subscribing to the News Literacy Project's weekly newsletter, The Sift, which explores current examples of misinformation, addresses media and press freedom topics and discusses social media trends and issues. 
You Are Invited To Attend an EYPC Training

Interested in implementing a youth-focused civic engagement program within your community? Through Educating Youth for Positive Change (EYPC), youth will work on real social and community change projects such as smoke-free public spaces, healthier school foods, greenways and parks, safer public events, and others. EYPC aims to give young people the skills, confidence, and experience they need to become effective advocates for positive social change.

EYPC combines two, often separate but important endeavors: youth civic engagement and changing or improving public policy for a whole community. As such, the EYPC framework is based on strategic elements of community organizing and policy development work.

Ultimately, youth involved in EYPC will bring about positive change in their community by exploring an issue and the change they want to make, engaging in data collection and analysis to develop their message, spreading their work and engaging the community in support, and working with decision-makers to enact real change.

Be a judge for Chicago Metro History Day!

Formerly known as Chicago Metro History Fair, CMHD empowers students to become historians who conduct, research, and share their findings. Guided by their teachers, students in grades 6-12 research topics connected to the annual theme (“Debate and Diplomacy in History” for 2022), analyze sources and present their arguments in papers, websites, exhibitions, performances, and documentaries.
This March, CMHD will be hosting three contests:
  • Junior Division (grades 6-8) at the Chicago History Museum on March 12
  • Senior Division (grades 9-12) at the University of Illinois Chicago on March 16
  • Virtual Contest for both divisions from March 18 to 25

Judge registration for these contests (in person or virtual) is now open! Volunteering as a judge is a fun and easy way to help students develop their critical thinking skills and engage with history. You do not have to be a professional educator or a historian to be a judge, although both are welcome! CMHD is looking for anyone with an interest in history and a desire to support Chicagoland students. Judging is also a great way for teachers to learn more about History Day and to see if History Day would be a good fit for their own students next year. Teachers will be awarded four CPDU credit hours for judging.

Visit the Fair's contest page, and begin the process of judge registration by clicking “create account,” then selecting “judge.”

All students, teachers, judges, and visitors ages 5+ at the in-person contests must show proof of vaccination against COVID-19. Masks are required. See safety guidelines here.

Questions? Contact Crystal Johnson, Chicago Metro History Day manager
Civic Learning Across Disciplines with the Democracy Schools Network

Join the Illinois Democracy Schools Network at the DuPage Regional Office of Education this school year for a series of FREE webinars to enhance civic learning across the disciplines to prepare ALL students for college, career, and civic life.

Each 60-minute webinar will include free tools and strategies aligned to the Pedagogy Companion to the Educating for American Democracy Roadmap. Registrants may join each webinar live or view a recording of the session. 

On February 10, 2022, from 4-5:00 p.m CT, the Democracy School Network will host a webinar, Understanding the Proven Practice of Service Learning with Dr. Joe Kahne.

We live in a time of heightened political and civic activity among young people, especially young people of color. Digital technology and social media provide near-universal and constant access to varied forms of engagement. Join the Illinois Democracy School Network for a conversation with Dr. Joseph Kahne, the Ted and Jo Dutton Presidential Professor for Education Policy and Politics and Co-Director of the Civic Engagement Research Group (CERG) at the University of California, Riverside. Professor Kahne's research focuses on the influence of school practices and digital media on youth civic and political development. Get your questions answered about the proven practice of service learning and how to engage young people with inquiry that leads to informed action.

To register for this and future webinars, visit the Illinois Civis Hub Profesional Development calendar.
O'Connor National Civics Challenge for Middle Schoolers

The third annual O’Connor Civics Challenge, an online civics competition for middle school students, is expanding its program in 2022.

Open to all students currently in 6-8th grade, participants are challenged to choose one civics topic from a list of options and express their knowledge of civics through various art forms. Categories include a short video, song, audio or video storytelling, poetry, written essay, or mixed media art, including a poster, painting, or sculpture via a photograph submission of the artwork. For those wishing to create a video, brief tutorial videos provide instruction to produce a civics video up to three minutes in length.

Finalists in each grade will be awarded Apple products, including a MacBook Pro for first-place winners. Registration is now open, and entries may be submitted through March 26, 2022, the birthday of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.

Learn more or register at www.OConnorInstitute.org.
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 between 500-800 words and should 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 are 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.

Renewing Trust in Democracy: The Role of the News Media

Our colleagues at the New Hampshire Institute for Civics Education have shared an exciting opportunity with the William W. Treat Lecture Series with an exciting program, "Renewing Trust in Democracy: The Role of the News Media" on February 10, 2022, from 6:30-8:00 pm ET.

This session will focus on the questions: What is the role of the news media in a democracy? In light of new technologies, how can it continue to evolve to serve its essential function of informing “we the people.” thereby restoring trust among voters? Is the traditional news media something we need to preserve, or do we need a completely new model? What role do media literacy and civics education have to play? Participants will join Cecilia Kang of The New York Times, Joe McQuaid of New Hampshire Union Leader, and Melanie Plenda of Granite State News Collaborative in this nonpartisan conversation.  

For more information and to register, visit the New Hampshire Institute for Civics Education.
New from iCivics: Representation

Knowing who represents you and what they represent are different things. In this new lesson from iCivics titled Representation, students look at ways to examine their representatives. Students explore the various models of representation and factors their representatives consider when casting votes in Congress. Then students explore their legislators’ congressional voting records and determine how their representatives measure up. Check out this great new lesson just in time for midterm election season!
SEL in Action Awards
The NoVo Foundation, in partnership with Education First and Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, aims to seed projects that foster social and emotional competencies in students in grades PK-12. Whether you have an idea for a new initiative or want to expand or continue an existing project, they want to hear from you.

For the 2022–23 school year, they are inviting applications for the SEL in Action Awards from two applicant pools:
  1. School-based educators (including teachers, counselors, administrators, and other school staff) seeking to implement SEL initiatives in classrooms or schools in the 2022–2023 school year, and
  2. District-level applicants seeking to implement SEL initiatives district-wide and/or across multiple schools within one district (including a charter network).

Grant awards for educator-led projects will be a maximum of $8,000 each. District-level grant awards will be a maximum of $30,000 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.
NCSC's Civics Education Essay Contest

National Center for State Courts (NCSC) Civics Education Essay Contest gives 3rd-12th grade students the opportunity to understand and explain the importance and the role of the United States government. Winners receive a total of $3,000 in scholarship money.

The contest question is based on the American Bar Association's annual Law Day theme, which in 2022 is "Toward a More Perfect Union: The Constitution in Times of Change."

2022's Essay Contest question:
Which Amendment to the U.S. Constitution has made the biggest difference in people’s lives? Explain how and why.

For more information about the contest, visit the NCSC Civics Education Contest Page
ABA/FJC Summer Institute

The American Bar Association and the Federal Judicial Center are excited to announce that they plan to be back in person for the 2022 Summer Institute!

The Federal Trials and Great Debates Summer Institute deepens participants’ knowledge of the federal judiciary and the role the federal courts have played in key public controversies that have defined our constitutional and other legal rights.
  • Dates: June 26-July 1
  • Location: Washington, D.C. (Reasonable travel and lodging expenses are covered by the Institute)
  • Featured Cases:
  • United States v. Smith and United States v. Odgen, Low Politics and High Diplomacy in the Early Federal Courts;
  • Olmstead v. U.S., the Prohibition Trial of a Seattle Bootlegger;
  • U.S. v. New York Times, the Pentagon Papers

Applications are due by March 4, 2022. For more information, visit the ABA Teacher Portal.
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, and constructing an inclusive curriculum in an age of political polarization. 

For more information, including how to register, visit the ROE 17 site.
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.

For those who have already earned their 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.

Help Wanted: Agents of Influence

Alterea is partnering with the Stanford Social Media Lab to conduct research into the effectiveness of their Agents of Influence online game to combat misinformation. The study is currently scheduled to run from late February to the end of April. This is a digital study that will be administered by participating teachers/educators with students in grades 7-12. For more information, visit https://bit.ly/AoIStanfordStudy.

Between Feb 13th-18th Alterea is looking for feedback from educators on their digital prototypes. You can find more details in this video and sign up at https://forms.gle/T27zT9ao6b6v8sFV6

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, comments, or to add programs to this list.
Resources for Black History Month

As we enter into Black History Month, we asked some of our Regional Civics Instructional Coaches to share their favorite resources to teach black history in February and beyond. Here are their recommendations.
  • Candi Fikis (South Cook, Will, Kendal, Grundy, Kankakee, and Iroquois Counties): PBS Online has a database filled with photos, videos, lesson plans, etc. for history, including African-American History. You can search by subject, era, type of material, age level, etc. Many have direct links to add the resource to Google Classroom as well. You can also build your lesson plan on the website.
  • Tracy Freeman (Livingston, McClean, Ford, Champaign, Vermilion, Piatt, Macon, Dewitt, and Logan Counties): Learning for Justice (formerly Teaching Tolerance) has many amazing lessons. One of my favorite articles to read (and re-read), which was published in 2019, includes strategies on how to avoid whitewashing the Civil Rights Movement. As February (or any month) approaches, this web page is a great place to start looking for great ideas. 
  • Logan Ridenour (St. Clair, Clinton, Marion, Jefferson, Perry, Randolph, Jackson, Union, Monroe, Alexander, Washington, and Pulaski Counties): The Center for Civics Education has a collection of lesson plans, videos, and podcasts from 60-second Civics that focus on Black History month and the power of nonviolence.
  • Corie Yow (Menard, Sangamon, Macoupin, Christian, Montgomery, Bond, Fayette, Effingham, Madison, Jersey, Greene, and Calhoun Counties): African American History Month website is a collaborative project of the Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. This website provides ready-to-use lesson plans, activities, and collection guides that utilize primary sources spanning the course of American History.

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.