November 2021
Illinois Civics Hub Newsletter
A newsletter for Illinois teachers to support the implementation of the Illinois middle and high school civics course requirements and K-12 social science standards.
Revisions to the Illinois Social Science Standards- Update
The Illinois State Board of Education recently published a draft of the revised Illinois Social Science Standards to be implemented in the 2022-23 school year. These revisions were informed by a 2020 report by the Illinois Social Science review committee.

A final copy of the revised standards is slated to be published in April of 2022, along with a report from the Inclusive American History Commission with guidance on how to unpack and implement the standards.

Illinois Civics Hub will continue to share updates on the revised standards and professional development opportunities this spring and summer to help educators navigate these revisions.

Feedback Needed from Middle School Educators

Calling all middle school teachers, administrators, and instructional coaches- we NEED your feedback to design programming around supporting implementations of the revised middle school social science standards in Illinois, new course requirements around inclusive history, and the middle school civics course requirements.

We are currently in the process of developing our programming for 2022 and our next microcredential course around the proven practice of direct instruction on democratic institutions. Please take this survey created by our evaluation partners at the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) from Tufts University to inform how we might better serve you and your students in 2022 and beyond.

Participants will be entered into a drawing to win one of ten $50 gift cards just in time for the holiday season. We value your expertise and lived experiences. Please consider taking the survey and share it with a colleague!
Veterans Day
November 11 is Veterans Day. Many schools use this day to connect students with veterans in their community and honor those who served our nation. There are several resources to engage students in a meaningful observation of Veterans Day.
Designing Discussion as Inquiry With Dr. Paula McAvoy

Great classroom discussion rarely "just happens." Much like a great lesson plan, they take time and intention. Join the Illinois Democracy School Network on Tuesday, November 9 from 4-5:00 p.m. CT as they welcome Dr. Paula McAvoy, assistant professor of Social Studies education at North Carolina State University and co-author of the award-winning The Political Classroom, for a timely webinar exploring best practices in using current and controversial issue discussions in the classroom.

Dr. McAvoy will share attributes of a good discussion, using discussion as inquiry, model a tug of war activity, and answer participants' questions.

Walk away with a deeper understanding of practices aligned to the Pedagogy Companion of the Educating for American Democracy Roadmap that embraces a commitment to learn about and teach full and multifaceted historical and civic narratives with a focus on inclusion and equity in both content and approach.

Register TODAY. FREE PD hours are available.
You are invited! Chicago Metro History Day

Are you interested in providing inquiry and project-based history learning experiences to your students? Chicago Metro History Day (CMHD), formerly known as the Chicago Metro History Fair, invites teachers and administrators in Cook, DuPage, and Lake County schools to a free webinar on Wednesday, November 10, from 4-5 p.m. Register HERE. This virtual event will introduce participants to the “nuts and bolts” of History Day, describe why the program benefits students, and explain how CMHD fits state social science standards and the civics mandate.
CMHD is a research program for students in grades 6-12. Students select and research a topic of personal interest and relevance related to an annual theme. The 2022 theme is “Debate and Diplomacy in History: Successes, Failures, Consequences.” History Day researchers develop their conclusions into a historical argument based on evidence drawn from primary and secondary sources. Students’ final projects—exhibits, documentaries, websites, papers, and performances—are shared with the public through a series of local, state, and national competitions. Junior Division History Day will showcase grade 6-8 students’ work on Saturday, March 12, 2022, at the Chicago History Museum. Senior Division History Day will recognize grade 9-12 students’ work on Wednesday, March 16, 2022, at the University of Illinois at Chicago. All schools are invited to participate. Questions? Email Crystal Johnson at
Teaching Civics Through Conversationsin THREE Easy Steps!
Join the Illinois Civics Hub as we welcome Dan and Steve Fouts from Teach Different on November 17 from 3:30-4:45 p.m. to learn a conversation protocol that teaches students how to think better, listen better, and appreciate different perspectives in our politically polarized society.

The protocol is implemented using Google forms and works in online, hybrid, and face-to-face environments. Participants emerge with a practical tool to meet the intellectual and social-emotional needs of every student AND promote equity through safe and meaningful conversations.

This is part of a series of webinars the ICH is hosting this year to support civics across the curriculum. A description for each webinar and information to register for the free professional development is available on the Illinois Civics Hub Professional Development calendar.
NEW- PBS NewsHour Classroom

PBS NewsHour has launched a new home for the news-related classroom resources based on PBS NewsHour with a focus on civics, ELA & the Arts, STEM, and media literacy. The site also features student and educator writing and public events. Check out the new look!
Connected Learning LabSpaces of Refuge for Mental Wellness

The Connected Learning Lab launched Spaces of Refuge, which offers guiding principles and inspiring case studies for how to tap into the power of diverse youth and digital networks to tackle the mental health equity crisis.

The series is part of the Youth Connections for Wellbeing project at the Connected Learning Lab at UC Irvine. Visit the site to learn more.

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. Upcoming dates include Oct. 27, Nov. 17, and Dec. 15. For more information, a complete list of dates or to register, click here.

Anyone Can Advocate for Change.
Introduce Students to Three Women Who Did.
Do your students want to drive change? Are they passionate about protecting the environment? Do they want to one day stand in the White House press room asking tough questions? Or make a run for Congress? All of these opportunities are open to them, thanks in part to the groundbreaking actions of three women: Rachel Carson, Ethel Payne, and Patsy Mink. These names don’t often appear in history books.

With their partners at Makematic, iCivics created three new videos that showcase their contributions. Each video includes a Teacher’s Guide with conversation starters, as well connections to iCivics lessons so you can incorporate the videos into larger units of study.

Presidential Primary Sources Project
Build critical thinking skills while sharing the presidents’ stories with your students through live interactive videoconferencing and primary source documents.

Whether you are a teacher, homeschool instructor, or curriculum planner of any kind, you can enhance learning for students as they analyze primary sources to learn about presidents like Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, and John F. Kennedy directly from National Park Service rangers and presidential historians in this free, live*, interactive, web series which runs from JanuaryMarch of 2022.

*All programs are live at 11 a.m. ET and 2 p.m. ET on their scheduled day and applicable to students grades 4-12. Read more details about each event here.
Common Sense SEL in Digital Life Resources
Technology impacts students' social and emotional well-being, from how they express themselves to how they communicate with friends and family. With the right support, students can learn how to integrate technology into their lives to promote their well-being and be a positive influence in their communities.

Common Sense Media created a resource center to give you everything you need to implement SEL in Digital Life in your school or classroom. Here you'll find CASEL-aligned quick activities, family conversation starters, and professional development resources, all of which align with the core themes and lessons from our free K–12 Digital Citizenship Curriculum.
Teaching Contextualization with the Bill of Rights Institute.
The College Board defines contextualization as, "a historical thinking skill that involves the ability to connect historical events and processes to specific circumstances of time and place as well as broader regional, national, or global processes." BRI has created this lesson, John Brown DBQ from Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness to illustrate the importance of using contemporary documents in particular to contextualize significant events in history–in this case the failed raid on the federal arsenal on Harper Ferry and the subsequent trial and execution of the radical abolitionist John Brown. What do your students think? Was Brown a hero or a villain?
The GEG Student Voice Film Competition
The GEG Chicagoland Student Voice film competition is back!

The competition is a chance for K-12 students to become empowered and flex their creative muscles. The goals of the fest are building student voice, creating for authentic audiences, and empowering student agency.

Students in grades K-12 are encouraged to submit 2-minute videos around an assigned theme. Submissions are due December 10. The best part? Finalists will be invited to a film fest at IDEAcon in February! Learn More.
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 helped contribute 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 free or low cost, but some opportunities do have a cost. Please email Stefanie Wager at with any questions, comments, or to add programs to this list.

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.