May 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.
Join Asian Americans Advancing Justice for Free PD to Support the T.E.A.A.C.H. Act

With its historic passage in April 2021, the Teaching Equitable Asian American Community History (T.E.A.A.C.H.) Act amended Illinois School Code, ensuring every public elementary and high school student in Illinois learns about the contributions of Asian Americans to the economic, cultural, social, and political development of the United States.

Beginning with the 2022-23 school year, every public elementary school and high school shall include in its curriculum a unit of instruction studying the events of Asian American history, including the history of Asian Americans in Illinois and the Midwest, as well as the contributions of Asian Americans toward advancing civil rights from the 19th century onward.

The Illinois Civics Hub is partnering with Asian Americans Advancing Justice to offer FREE PD hours to K-12 educators looking to deepen their own understanding of Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) history as well as classroom resources to support cross-cultural education for all students in Illinois aligned with the revised social science standards.

Educators can click the links below to choose from the following webinar opportunities:

Be sure to visit the Asian Americans Advancing Justice site for more resources to implement the T.E.A.A.C.H. Act and celebrate AAPI Heritage Month this May and beyond.
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. Lunch will be provided.

SCOTUS Update with Dr. Steven D. Schwinn
Join Dr. Steven D. Schwinn, Professor of Law at UIC School of Law, for an examination of some of the key decisions being made this term by the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS). Deepen your understanding of the essential questions concerning justice, power, and equity being addressed by SCOTUS and how they might reverberate in our constitutional democracy for years to come. Aligned to Theme 5 of the Educating for American Democracy Roadmap.

This webinar will take place on Wednesday, May 11 from 3:30-4:45 p.m. CT. Registration is free, and this webinar is applicable to educators across the disciplines.
Civic Literacy: More Important than Ever in a Digital World

We are flooded with conflicting messages every time we turn on our laptops. How do we prepare our students to cope with this complexity? Join Sam Wineburg, founder and executive director of the Stanford History Education Group, on May 12 at 1:30 p.m. CT to explore conflicting narratives about historical events, and how we can use them to teach our students to think clearly and critically. Visit the inquirED website to register.
FREE Media LIteracy PD with KQED
KQED has launched a brand-new KQED Teach website! This website provides redesigned, hands-on courses full of resources, activities, and actionable tips for teachers to implement in their classrooms right away.

KQED offers a number of media literacy courses designed to build confidence to create digital media and teach media literacy skills—from producing videos to identifying misinformation to understanding copyright. Educators can take the courses at their own pace, whenever it fits their schedule. Visit the new KQED Teach Website to find out more.
Learning to Advocate: Media Literacy with Miss Illinois
Interested in empowering your learners? Let us plan an hour of your day for you! Sign up for Illinois Digital Educators Alliance's (IDEA) free webinar, Learning to Advocate: Media Literacy with Miss Illinois

One teacher sign-up affords you an entire class’s registration. IDEA will send you the link to join in an email. Then, on May 10, all you’ll need to do is secure a projector. Your class can then watch and interact with 2019 Miss Illinois, Isabelle Hanson. 

They will learn what it means to be an advocate, the tools that are available to support their passions, and the importance of accessing and analyzing media messages as well as creating, reflecting, and taking action! Using the power of information and communication can make a difference in the world.
Connect Current Events to Civic Learning with iCivics
With global tensions a major focus of news headlines, Convene the Council, developed in partnership with the Council on Foreign Relations, is a tool to help students learn about our interconnected world and how policy decisions made in the United States affect other countries. But the game doesn't just develop student knowledge, it also builds their civics skills and dispositions. 

Convene the Council not only teaches students the basics of foreign policymaking in the U.S. but also opens their eyes to the challenges and complexities facing the president and the National Security Council.

Explore Convene the Council, and leverage iCivics' game guide and Extension Pack resources, including a customizable slide deck, to facilitate in-depth conversations with your students.
Opportunity for Students Interested in Investigative Journalism

Are you a language art or journalism high school teacher working at a school that primarily serves underrepresented students? The Ida B. Wells Society is now receiving applications for its High School Investigative Partnership Program, which provides hands-on investigative journalism training to high school students.

Teachers receive a stipend and a program framework that will help them integrate students’ investigative projects into their course curriculum. Throughout the academic year 2022-23, students will participate in coaching sessions with local journalists and monthly seminars conducted by experts at award-winning news organizations like ProPublica, the Associated Press, and Reveal. Teachers must apply on behalf of students.
Deadline: May 6 at 11:59 p.m. ET. Apply here.
The American Civic Education Teacher Award
In partnership with the Center on Representative Government at Indiana University and the National Education Association, the Center is excited to once again offer our network an opportunity to honor our outstanding civic educators.

Visit the American Civic Education Teacher Award website for the application details. Applications will close on May 16 and winners will be announced by June 1.
Scaffolded Lessons to Help English Learners Explore the Meaning of Citizenship

Being an American, one of the Bill of Rights Institute’s most popular resources for teaching middle school civics, is getting a significant update, which will include scaffolded support for ESL students.

The modified lessons in the curriculum will take students through the founding documents, including the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, and provide tools for primary source analysis, individual writing assignments, and classroom discussion.

Lesson plan features will include warm-ups, classroom activities, background essays, homework assignments, extensions, handouts, suggested modifications, vocabulary glossaries, and Founding principle connections.

How to Fact Check History from the Retro Report

Retro Report's seven-minute video, How to Fact Check History, introduces students, to a professional fact-checker, who describes the methods and processes he employs to verify information that appears in news stories.

The video explains how claims can be fact-checked and why some sources are more reliable than others. How do fact-checkers engage in the analysis of contemporary and historical claims? How do we distinguish between “bad facts” and “bad narratives” when critiquing media sources? Examine the tools that fact-checkers use to identify and interrogate claims and put those skills into practice with a lesson plan and student activity.
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.
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

Conspiratorial Thinking & Combatting Misinformation in the Classroom
The Constitutional Democracy Project along with the News Literacy Project will host a professional development opportunity for middle and high school teachers on May 16 from 5-7:30 p.m. at the Conviser Law Center at 565 W. Adams Street in Chicago. 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.
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.
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 with any questions or comments, or to add programs to this list.
Resources to Teach About State and Local Government
While civics textbooks and curricular resources primarily focus on the institutions of our federal government, the issues students care about and where they can have the most agency and impact are often closer to home at the state and local levels.

Whether it be the local school board, city council, county board member, or state legislator, young people often know the neighbors who fill these important positions and their proximity makes them more accessible to our youngest citizens.

The Educating for American Democracy Roadmap Theme 1, Civic Participation, offers several questions to frame student inquiry about local and state government.
  • What matters to me and why? How can I make what matters to me be about more than myself?
  • How can I engage as a member of my local, state, national, and global community? What opportunities for participation do I already have, and how can I engage with them?
  • What are "citizenship" and "civic agency" in general? In America's constitutional democracy? How does voting relate to other forms of civic agency?

We asked some of our Illinois Civics Instructional Coaches to share their favorite resources and strategies to teach about state and local government. Here are their recommendations.

Candance Fikis (South Cook, Will, Kendal, Grundy, Kankakee, and Iroquois Counties) Our school has paired up with the League of Women Voters in the past to learn about local and state governments, run local voter registration drives, and to help conduct candidate forums for local elections, including having students ask the questions of the candidates. Check out their website for your regional office. Also to help prepare students for these local elections and what local governments do, we have used the iCivics lesson on local governments. There are middle and high school level lessons and activities.

Tracy Freeman (Livingston, McClean, Ford, Champaign, Vermilion, Piatt, Macon, Dewitt, and Logan Counties): I start the study of government by looking at state and local government. This TED Talk, Local Government: Where Democracy Goes to Live, mentions the cynicism around national politics and celebrates state and local institutions. It is a great way to show the power of elected leaders and the power of citizens in impacting their politicians. An AP or civics class it is a wonderful way to show them that the glass is half full around our system.

Heather Monson (Jo Daviess, Stephenson, Carroll, Ogle, Lee, Whiteside, Bureau, Henry, Stark, and Rock Island Counties): Scavenger HUNT! I have my kids do a scavenger hunt about our local town government. They have to find their own alderman, ward, and try to see if they can find the various zoning regions. I also have them try to explore the city website and look over meeting agendas and minutes

Matt Wood (West Cook, DuPage, Kane, and DeKalb Counties)- When identifying community needs at a local level, reviewing census data can be helpful. Starting with the government’s official census site, students can gain an understanding of their community’s profile and compare it with other regions. The Hard to Count website highlights regions that struggled to complete the census or were perhaps undercounted. This resource is great for generating authentic questions regarding how important it is to know your community’s needs and how this data is used to generate legislation at the State and Federal levels.

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.