March 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.
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 students to process these events. Here are some resources that can help.

  • Why the Russia-Ukraine Crisis is Relevant to Teachers from EdWeek provides insights from educational thought leaders about what classrooms can do to help students process events.
  • Resources to Respond to Tragedy and Violence is an Illinois Civics blog with SEL-aligned practices.
  • The Educating for American Democracy Roadmap has resources for K-12 around the theme of "People in The World." with driving questions for both civics and history classrooms.
  • iCivics has curriculum units for both middle and high school students: Foreign Policy: War and Peace and Everything In-Between.
  • iCivics has just launched a new game, Convene the Council, where students will take on the role of President of the United States and respond to world events with the support of their National Security Council. There are supports for ELL students.
  • The News Literacy Project has developed an infographic called Is It Legit?. It has + five steps to help students in grades 4-12 vet news sources.
  • The Choices Program at Brown University has developed this lesson delving into the background of Unrest in Ukraine and a current lesson plan on The Ukraine Crisis.
  • PBS Classroom publishes daily lesson plans around current events. Here are some recent links to news stories about the Ukraine Crisis.
Resources for the State of the Union
Tuesday will be marked by a Presidential address to the nation on the State of the Union. If you are looking for resources to help students understand the history and significance of the State of the Union address, here are a few resources to start with.
ISBE Seeking Professional Development Pilot Participants
The ISBE Standards and Instruction Department, in partnership with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, is seeking K-12 social studies teachers to participate in a pilot of professional development on the implementation of the newly revised Social Studies Learning Standards. A diverse pool of 100 teachers from across the state will be selected to receive a stipend of $450 in addition to being able to earn PD credits to participate in the program. The PD will occur from April through June, pending participant availability to finalize the schedule. Names must be submitted by 5 p.m. on March 2, 2022 for consideration. Please complete the Social Studies PD Pilot Interest Form for yourself or to nominate a participant. For more information, please contact
Using the Midterms as Teachable Moment 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, March 15, from 3:30-4:45 p.m. CT. with a webinar on Informed and Equitable Voting with the Civic Engagement Research Group and the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement. Participants will join faculty from the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) at Tufts University and the Civic Engagement Research Group (CERG) at the University of California Riverside in an interactive session that will focus on the critical role that school leaders and teachers across grade levels and content areas can play in promoting informed and equitable voting, as well as preparing youth to participate in democracy.

This summer, the Illinois Civics Hub is joining CIRCLE and CERG for a four-day Summer Institute on Educating for Informed and Equitable Voting. Participants will virtually join colleagues throughout the country for three hours per day to prepare educators to teach about the upcoming election and to support their colleagues' efforts to foster informed and equitable voting among students and their community.

These professional development opportunities are 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.
How are you marking SEL Day?
March 11 marks the third annual Social-Emotional Learning Day. SEL4US and The Urban Assembly have identified this year's theme as Finding Common Ground, Pursuing Common Good,” which embodies the importance of building strong coalitions. Let’s celebrate by recommitting to listening intently to one another and deepening our connections across our communities. Learn more here.

To support SEL throughout the year, CASEL recently shared these differentiated resources for various stakeholders.

Law Day Launch
Join the ABA on March 8, 3-4 p.m. CT, virtually, for the 2022 Law Day Launch, including an introduction to the Law Day theme “Toward a More Perfect Union: The Constitution in Times of Change” and new Law Day resources and activities. Visit for more information or click here to register.
Apply to Participate in Street Law's "Legal Timelines" Pilot Cohort

Street Law is excited to unveil a new curriculum development and piloting project that seeks to provide students with a deeper understanding of legal issues and how legal history has led to where we are today. These resources will use a combination of the Library of Congress’s primary sources and resources generated by Street Law.

Become one of 25 teachers to pilot Street Law’s new resources for middle and high school social studies classes. Materials include ten sets of inquiry-based resources to promote deeper thinking around issues related to federalism and the rights of the accused. All inquiry sets will include an introductory reading, at least three primary sources, an inquiry question, and an extension inquiry question. For more information about participation and compensation, use this link.
Can We Find Common Ground on Civic Education in Turbulent Times?
The Center for Educational Equity at Teachers College, Columbia University, is hosting a virtual mini-conference on March 24 from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. CT to explore how to build a cross-partisan national movement for all students' right to an education that prepares them to participate effectively in civic and political life.

Featured Speakers Include:
  • Pedro Noguera, Emery Stoops, and Joyce King Stoops, Dean of the University of Southern California's Rossier School of Education
  • Fredrick Hess, senior fellow and the director of Education Policy Studies at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI)
  • Diana Hess, Dean of the University of Wisconsin-Madison's School of Education
  • Joseph Kahne, Ted and Jo Dutton, Presidential Professor for Education Policy and Politics and Co-Director of the Civic Engagement Research Group (CERG)
  • David Davenport, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution and a senior fellow at the Ashbrook Center.
  • DeNora Getachew, Chief Executive Officer at

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.
iCivics Resources to Prepare for the AP Exam
Preparation for the AP exams is a year-long process, but in these final months leading up to the tests in May, students need extra practice analyzing sources for both the multiple-choice and writing portions of the exam. iCivics is here to help!

  • DBQuests: Students are presented with three primary resources and guided through the process of source analysis and summary. No planning time is needed, and enrichment and scaffolding activities are included with each DBQuest.   
  • Exploring Primary Sources mini-site: This collection of resources from iCivics and our partners is an excellent place to find more tools and activities to help students practice working with sources, as well as professional development for educators. 
  • In partnership with Study Edge, iCivics has developed an online course that includes videos and study guides that cover the essential content of the exam. You can use the videos and other materials to support your lessons, but the course is also a great resource for students as they prepare for the exam outside of the school day. Learn more and start a free trial.
Taking White Supremacy to Court: Lessons from Charlottesville and Beyond

Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center is continuing its Donald and Sue Pritzker Voices of Conscience Series with a
Online Panel Discussion: Taking White Supremacy to Court: Lessons from Charlottesville and Beyond on March 6 at 6:30 pm (CST).

The landmark trial and verdict in Sines v. Kessler dealt a devastating blow against the white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and hate groups who conspired to orchestrate violence in Charlottesville, VA in August of 2017.

Hear from two members of the remarkable team behind the suit, Karen Dunn, Co-Lead Counsel and Partner at Paul Weiss, and Amy Spitalnick, Executive Director of Integrity First America, as they discuss this groundbreaking case and their continued fight to hold violent extremists accountable. The discussion will be moderated by Richard Salomon, Vice President, Illinois Holocaust Museum Board of Directors.

There will be special remarks by Governor JB Pritzker.

This program is free to the public. Find out more and register at this link.
Social Media Test Drive

Help tween students practice digital literacy skills in a social media simulation. Social Media TestDrive simulates realistic digital dilemmas and scenarios that young people may encounter as they enter the social media world.

Each module teaches essential digital citizenship concepts, covering topics such as privacy, online identities, cyberbullying, and more.

Educators can use Social Media TestDrive to engage with students and spark conversations around what it means to practice digital citizenship on social media.

Visit the site to find out more.
6th Annual Illinois Map Competition

The Illinois Geographic Alliance, LLC (IGA) encourages students to get involved in a statewide contest for using maps to study social science or science topics.
What is an overview of the contest? Illinois middle school and high school students are invited to tell their hometown stories in the 6th Annual Illinois Map Competition. Create an original "presentation." "web app," or "story map" using ArcGIS Online to tell an interesting story about "Hometown, Illinois."
What are some ideas you might consider? Environmental issues, social justice, business in your community, immigration, historical changes, criminal justice, infrastructure, politics, recreational, and/or impacts of weather.
Who is eligible to participate? Entrants must be high school or middle school students registered in Illinois' public or nonpublic schools, including home schools. Students working independently, or in clubs, submit through their schools.
What are the contest requirements? Create an original "story map," using ArcGIS Online to tell an interesting story about your hometown. Students explore their hometown or neighborhood to discover unique characteristics and/or to study a local problem or issue they would like to solve.
What if educators do not know how to use or teach ArcGIS Online? Enjoy learning a new technology skill – ArcGIS Online. This unique, easy-to-learn GIS application helps students visualize all types of data, display maps, analyze data, and tell “stories” of their research. Competition organizers, Dean Butzow and Rey de Castro can help you get started. Email Dean Butzow ( Mentors and training videos are available.
Is there a fee to enter the contest? No! There is no contest entry fee.
Are there prizes for contest winners? Yes! State winners receive Amazon gift cards.
When is the deadline to register? The registration deadline is April 9, 2022.
Where can I find more information and register? Visit the Think Geospatial website. Please email Dean Butzow ( with questions.

Lou Frey Institute Civics in Real Life Website
Civics is all around us. There is a lot to know about the government and how “We the People” interact with the government and each other. Let’s help each other expand our civic literacy. Read and download weekly Civics in Real Life resources from the Florida Joint Center on Citizenship, now on a new searchable platform. Topics include legal cases and the federal government. These one-page resources contain a multitude of hyperlinks throughout to support classroom instruction on democratic institutions in grades 6-12.
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, March 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.
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 March 10, 2022, from 4-5 p.m CT, the Democracy School Network will host a webinar, Extracurriculars and Civic Learning with Dr. Kelly Siegel-Stechler

Clubs and organizations foster civic learning and engagement which are representative of student needs, interests, and identities. Join the Illinois Democracy School Network as we host Kelly Siegel-Stechler, Ph.D., Senior Researcher at CIRCLE Tisch College of Civic Life, Tufts University. We’ll explore how schools can use extracurricular activities to:
  • help students develop and utilize agency as a member of their various communities;
  • form strong social bonds;
  • support networks with adults outside of the family, peers with different lived experiences and political perspectives, and like-minded peers; and
  • cultivate student leadership in a range of meaningful ways.

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 posters, paintings, or sculptures--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, which is the birthday of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.

Learn more or register at
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 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 or call (202) 789-5229.
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.
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.

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 with any questions, comments, or to add programs to this list.
Resources for Women's History Month

In 1987, Congress declared March as National Women’s History Month in perpetuity. A special Presidential Proclamation is issued every year which honors the extraordinary achievements of American women.

The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution, and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum have curated resources commemorating and encouraging the study, observance, and celebration of the vital role of women in American history. iCivics has created Weekly Planners for the month of March with bite-sized activities that keep flexibility in mind.

We asked some of our Regional Civics Instructional Coaches to share their favorite resources to teach women's history in March and beyond. Here are their recommendations.
  • Candi Fikis (South Cook, Will, Kendal, Grundy, Kankakee, and Iroquois Counties): Dolores Huerta is an excellent Latina figure to profile for Women’s History Month. Her life’s work can be examples when teaching about many topics from immigration, the union movement, and civil rights. PBS has a variety of resources I like to use when teaching about her and other important Latinos in US History, including this episode from their series on Latino Americans.
  • Tracy Freeman (Livingston, McClean, Ford, Champaign, Vermilion, Piatt, Macon, Dewitt, and Logan Counties): Six Unsung Heroines from the Civil Rights Movement from the History Channel discusses leaders like Rev. Dr. Pauli Murray who refused to give up her seat prior to Rosa Parks. She wrote legal arguments used in Brown v Board and Frontiero v Richardson and Reed v Reed.
  • Heather Monson (Jo Daviess, Stephenson, Carroll, Ogle, Lee, Whiteside, Bureau, Henry, Stark, and Rock Island Counties): I do an entire unit of Women's efforts to gain rights. I have a google classroom for the unit. It is broken into 5 modules and the students do it as an independent study while they are taking their AP exams. Here is the final assignment which is a film analysis of feminism, Feminist Films, and Documentaries Analysis. I also focus on some women such as Kathrine Switzer who was the first woman to run the Boston Marathon. Here is a video of her being pulled off the course when men realized she was running in the race. The students also explore the National Women's Conference in Houston in 1977. Here are a few resources: Background on NWC in Houston, ERA takes 100 years? ERA has been dead but might be on the verge of a comeback, and the University and BIG10 Network does a great job with Title IX in this film. Many students are shocked to learn that women were so cut out of sports in school. It is a great way to talk about how women are marginalized in education. Also, it is always great to revisit Shirley Chisholm and her run for office.

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.