June 2021
Civics In The Middle Newsletter
A newsletter for Illinois teachers to support the implementation of the state’s middle and high school civics course requirements and K-12 social science standards.
Bringing Closure to the School Year

In our last newsletter, our civics instructional coaches shared their ideas to bring closure to a remarkable year. Our friends at Facing History and Ourselves recommend making time for your students to reflect on what they experienced and its impact on their lives, celebrate successes and look ahead to their hopes and apprehensions for the summer. Below are some resources to help your classroom find closure.

Have students express appreciation for those who were their champions this school year.
  • This could include teachers, staff, friends, and family. These can be written expressions of gratitude, or allow students to be creative through art, song, memes, or other forms of expression.
  • If you have the digital resources, leverage technology for celebration. Create a word cloud using Word Art Cloud, Answer Garden, or Mentimeter to graphically display what was accomplished.
  • You could also use FlipGrid, Padlet, or Google Docs to support student expression.

Look Ahead
Give students an opportunity to share what they look forward to in the summer, and a chance to share apprehensions they have about employment, travel, and recreation moving forward. 

Before you engage students in reflection, celebration, and looking ahead, take time to do this yourself independently or with a trusted friend. Process the school year and then be present for your students. You will NOT have all of the answers or solutions for what is shared by your students, but you can listen, empathize, and create a safe environment for students to do the same.
Professional Development Opportunities
Civics In The Middle Online Summer PD Series

It is not too late to register for the Illinois Civics Hub summer PD series to support the implementation of the 6-12 civics mandates. Join the Illinois Civics Instructional Coaches for a series of webinars designed to enhance teacher practice with resources to support disciplinary content knowledge and the proven practices of civic education.

There will be two strands of professional development. On Tuesday morning, powerful pedagogy will be the focus to help with summer curriculum projects. June topics include:

Wednesday morning webinars will put the spotlight on some of the leading civic learning providers in the nation. Each will address a thematic question from the Educating for American Democracy Roadmap. June topics include:

Each session will begin at 9:30 a.m. CT. Educators can join live to interact with participants, or watch a recording of each session. Each webinar is free, and Illinois educators can elect to earn PD credits for attending the webinar and completing a brief, post-webinar application activity.

A description for each webinar and information to register for professional development credits through the DuPage Regional Office of Education is available on the Illinois Civics Hub Professional Development calendar.

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 on 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 meeting, legislative hearing, and moot court.
  • 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.

The summer cohorts will begin July 12 and run through August 13. Registration information is available on the Illinois Civics Hub Professional Development calendar. Those who successfully complete the 5-week, asynchronous 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.

Each course is the first in a three-course series. 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.

ABA Virtual Summer Institute for Teachers

The ABA Division for Public Education is excited to announce the first Judge Grady Summer Teachers Institutevirtual this year! This year's institute, featuring Erwin Chemerinsky from Berkeley Law and Mary Ellen Daneels from the Illinois Civics Hub, will explore the First Amendment rights to assembly and association. Learn more and register at: https://bddy.me/3fMiEbw

Something Old, Something New, and Poolside PD Just for YOU!

The Illinois Civics Hub is always evolving and updating resources to meet educator needs. Summer might be the perfect time to revisit the site to review materials, find new resources, and personalize learning with one of our archived webinars.
Summer Reading Recommendations
Summer is a time for many of us to relax, reflect and recalibrate after a demanding school year. Reading for pleasure or for your own personal professional development is a welcome respite for many educators. We asked some of our regional civics instructional coaches for their reading recommendations, including both civics and non-civics-related themes. Here are their picks.

Alia Bluemlein: Boone, Northern Cook, Lake, McHenry, and Winnebago Counties
  • Civics Pick: How do you explain our government in a way that engages readers and explains the lofty ideals of the founders? Hannah McCarthy and Nick Capodice have done just that in A User’s Guide to Democracy: How America Works. This work includes great examples that middle school and high schoolers alike will find engaging, humorous illustrations, and it's presented in a way that you can pick it up and it read cover to cover in a weekend. 
  • Non-Civics Pick: Joel Richard Paul, Unlikely Allies: How a Merchant, a Playwright, and a Spy Saved the American Revolution. This book recounts the secret diplomatic efforts to gain support and supplies from the French (under the nose of the British) to aid the Americans during the Revolution. The lives of lesser-known figures like Silas Deane, Caron de Beaumarchais, and Chevalier d’Eon are detailed and followed through this phenomenally intriguing book. 

Tracy Freeman: Champaign, DeWitt, Ford, Livingston, Logan, Macon, McLean, Piatt & Vermillion Counties

Bonnie Laughlin-Schultz: Clark, Clay, Coles, Crawford, Cumberland, Douglas, Edgar, Edwards, Gallatin, Hamilton, Hardin, Jasper, Lawrence, Massac, Moultrie, Pope, Richland, Saline, Shelby, Wabash, Wayne & White Counties
  • Civics Pick: Heather McGhee, The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together. This work is full of personal interviews and exploration of discussions of race, racism, and economics in the contemporary US, and would be helpful to teachers in its exploration of polarization and division in the US as well as an integration of economic policies and ideas of Americans. 
  • Non-Civics Pick: Kate Masur, Until Justice Be Done: America's First Civil Rights Movement, from the Revolution to Reconstruction. This new book looks at the history of civil rights before the Civil War, a time when we often don’t think of a “civil rights movement.” Masur centers Black abolitionists and activists who named, defined, and fought for equal rightsand who she argues created the foundation for the 1850s and post-Civil War discussion of the meaning of equality. 

Heather Monson: Carroll, Jo Daviess, Lee, Ogle, Rock Island, Stephenson & Whiteside Counties
  • Civics Pick: Looking for something a bit more visual? Need a quick reference guide for yourself for your students? The Infographic Guide to American Government: A Visual Reference for Everything You Need to Know is a great resource. This is a quick guide with appealing visuals that helps you and your students organize various aspects of our government. It includes a detailed index that makes it a quick use reference. 
  • Non-Civics Pick: Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey. This is an excellent book and an even better audiobook read by the author. Download the audiobook for a road trip, your go-to listen-to while walking the dogs, or to listen while enjoying a cup of coffee in the morning. McConaughey’s narration and examinations of his life and experiences are charming, clever, and surprisingly heartfelt. It is reflective and resonates with readers of various ages and backgrounds. 
Student Voice Opportunites

Equity in Civics Youth Fellowship

Applications are open for the 2021-22 Equity in Civics Youth Fellowship!
  • Meet students from across the country!
  • Learn digital media and leadership skills!
  • Contribute to the national conversation on civic education!

Who Should Apply?
Eligible students must have an interest in politics, civics, history, government, equity, or justice and identify as one or more of the following:
  • Low-income student
  • Student of color
  • Student from a rural community
To be considered, eligible applicants must complete the student application and a teacher/mentor nomination form by July 1, 2021. For more information, visit the website.

Student Feedback Needed for Youth Agency Survey

The Robert R. McCormick Foundation, the supporter of the Illinois Civics Hub, has supported Dr. Tonya Bibbs from the Erikson Institute to develop a survey for students that will help them understand how youth feel about their ability to make political change. She is at a point in survey development where she would like feedback from students and would like to know whether the questions make sense and if they are relevant to young people’s lives. Each item on the survey is followed by a brief question. The total time for the survey is approximately 17 minutes. Dr. Bibbs would very much appreciate any assistance in having students take this survey and provide feedback as she is in the early development phase of the project. If you have students that would like to take the survey, they can do so here.

This monthly newsletter from the Illinois Civics Hub 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.