October 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.
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What to Look For in the Midterm Elections

The midterm elections are just around the corner, providing #CivicsInTheMiddle classrooms a teachable moment to engage students in the proven practices of civic education outlined in the 6-12th grade civics course requirements.

Join the Illinois Civics Hub as we welcome back Dr. Shawn P. Healy, Senior Director of Policy and Advocacy at iCivics and Adjunct Professor of Public Policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Dr. Healy will provide an overview of what to look for in the midterm elections as a teachable moment to address essential questions that impact our constitutional democracy. This is aligned to Theme 7 of the Educating for American Democracy Roadmap: Contemporary Debates and Possibilities.

This free webinar will be hosted on Zoom Wednesday, October 19th, from 3:30-4:45 p.m. CT. PD hours from ISBE are available.


Visit the Illinois Civics Hub for more information on professional development to support rigorous and relevant civic learning.

Retro Report Midterm Elections Collection

Do you need resources to teach the midterms? Retro Report's NEW Midterm Elections Collection, presented with their partners at New Hampshire Public Radio’s Civics 101 podcast, features two new films and lessons focusing on historical and contemporary midterm elections. Retro Report has free resources for you if your students have ever wondered why political parties seem to have traded places or what makes a midterm election different. Check it out TODAY.

The Constitution Explained from iCivics and the Center for Civic Education

Have you heard about "The Constitution EXPLAINED"? This series of 35 videos were created by the Center for Civic Education in partnership with iCivics and constitutional scholar Linda R. Monk, JD, to explain key aspects of the U.S. Constitution in everyday language and make our nation's founding document accessible to everyone. Select a topic from the dropdown menu below or simply scroll down and explore!

You can also view this virtual launch event featuring constitutional scholar Linda R. Monk, Julie Silverbrook of iCivics, Christopher R. Riano of the Center for Civic Education, and moderator and award-winning civics teacher Shelina Warren.

Resources to Implement the Revised IL Social Science Standards and Course Mandates 

The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) is hosting a webinar on Wednesday, September 28th, at 3:30 p.m. to support educators in implementing the revised social science standards and course mandates.

In Charting a Path for Teaching the Revised IL Learning Standards for Social Science, the Standards and Instruction Department at the Illinois State Board of Education will explore how K-12 teachers, district leaders, and state officials can engage with Illinois' inquiry-based learning framework and revised learning standards. This session reviews the updates to the standards and the inquiry framework and considered how the new standards could be layered with the inquiry standards to promote student-centered learning. 

A recording of the webinar will be posted on the ISBE Standards and Instruction website.

AA #3931-Teaching Inclusive American History

This past July, the revised Illinois Social Science standards and new course mandates went into effect for the 2022-23 school year.

Our work to support the implementation of the revised standards and course mandates continues this fall with a series of Administrator Academies, offered virtually to give school-based teams equitable opportunities to enhance their practice.


These Academies are open to administrators and teachers for either academy credit or PD hours. School-based teams are encouraged to participate and will have an opportunity to collaborate and reflect on learning through each session. Individual participants will have the opportunity to work with affinity groups in breakout rooms.

Visit the Illinois Civics Hub for more information on professional development to support rigorous and relevant civic learning.

ICSS Fall Conference Returns

Join your colleagues at the Fall Illinois Council for the Social Studies Conference on October 14th at Harpers College in Palatine, Illinois. This year's conference is full of engaging sessions that explore the present and future directions of professional social studies education.

Session topics include:

  • Approaches to Controversial Social Studies Topics 
  • Making the Case for Instructional Time in Elementary Social Studies 
  • School/Museum Partnerships 
  • Asian-American History and the Teaching Equitable Asian American Community History (TEAACH) Act 
  • Disciplinary Literacy in the Social Studies Classroom 
  • Teaching Content in the Standards-Based Classroom

Visit the NEW ICSS Website for more information.

Tell Your Story on The Moth

Everyone has a memorable school story - a time you felt seen for who you are, when something you did made an impact, a moment when you realized what was possible and what school could be like ... not just for ourselves but for the way we teach and learn. It’s the momentum of many individual stories of people like you that builds a future of learning that is liberatory, just, and human-centered. What’s your story?

Apply now to participate in a Personal Storytelling Workshop hosted by KnowledgeWorks and The Moth— a Peabody Award-winning nonprofit dedicated to the art and craft of storytelling. Selected participants will share their stories and receive coaching from the experts at The Moth in a small-group environment.

How to Apply

To apply, share a rough sketch of your story in written format. Written stories should be 300 words or less and be in .doc or .pdf format. Your story should be true, about you, and told in the first person. Don’t worry about submitting a polished story. That’s what the coaching is for! 

Your application will be reviewed, and you will be informed you’re a finalist for the workshop by October 24.

Apply from September 6, 2022 – October 3, 2022

PBS Learning Media: The U.S. and the Holocaust

PBS Learning Media Illinois has created websites for both teachers and students to provide classroom materials to complement the recently released series by Ken Burns, "The U.S. and the Holocaust." Resources include video clips, a media gallery, and corresponding lesson plans. These resources align with the revised social science standards and Holocaust and Genocide education course mandates.

Conference for Teachers in Civics, Law and Government

The Constitutional Democracy Project’s Professional Development Conference for Teachers in Civics, Law, and Government is a one-of-a-kind working conference that brings together teachers, professors, lawyers, judges, civic leaders, cultural institution scholars, civic education specialists, and others to highlight best practices for teaching young people awareness of the law, the legal system, and their rights and responsibilities as engaged citizens. 

This year’s Annual Conference will focus on “Law, Elections, and Civics: Exploring the Cornerstones of Democracy.” Educators are at the forefront of a nation divided over debates centering on individual liberties, the legal system, the electoral system, and our fundamental democratic institutions. By offering the opportunity to discuss and unpack our democratic system through the lenses of courts, elections, and civic participation, the Conference will help teachers meet this critical moment in our nation’s history.

There is a $25 registration. A link for payment will be sent upon registration. Invoices can be issued upon request. Click here for more information.

When: Friday, October 28, 2022, 8:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m.

Where: Conviser Law Center, Chicago-Kent College of Law, 565 W. Adams Street, Chicago (1 block west of Union Station)

Who: Middle, High School & Pre-service Teachers

CPDU Credit is Available

Exploring Constitutional Reasoning with BRI

Rulings made by the Supreme Court are interpretations of existing law. However, sometimes interpreting the law in a particular way has unpopular consequences. How should we think about this tension?

Explore the case of Morse v Frederick (2007) using the Bill of Rights Institute Constitution Reasoning and Its Outcomes lesson.  Students will learn about the different constitutional arguments that Justices used in their opinions in the case as well as the real-life outcomes of these interpretations. They will also analyze the case to form their own opinions. In doing so, they will develop a fuller understanding of the importance and challenges of the rule of law.

NEW Bill of Rights in Action from CRF

The latest edition of Bill of Rights in Action is available from the Constitutional Right Foundation.  This quarterly newsletter has been published since 1967 to support classroom instruction on constitutional democracy. The latest edition features:

  • World History/Current Events: The Global Refugee Crisis
  • U.S. Government/New Feature: Supreme Court Highlights
  • U.S. Government: Federal Agencies and Public Policy
  • World History: Indonesia's Struggle for Democracy

Articles are reproducible for the classroom and feature:

  • Writing and Discussion Questions
  • Small-Group Activities
  • National, California, and Common Core State Standards Addressed
  • Complete Sources Listed

Access your copy today

Bill of Rights Student Contest and Event

The United States Courts of Appeals and the United States District Courts in the Seventh and Eighth Circuits are hosting the third annual Bill of Rights Day contest, and they want YOU to be a part of it!


Students in grades 5-12 from Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin are encouraged to submit art and essays on the importance of the Bill of Rights. Be as creative as you like!  

A grand prize winner from each of two age groups (grades 5-8 and 9-12) will be awarded a $500 cash prize, be able to take part in a virtual event on Wednesday, December 7 with Federal Judges and other legal experts on the enduring rights afforded to Americans by the Bill of Rights, and have their name and submission shared on the websites of the participating United States District Courts. Semi-finalists from each District Court will receive a $50 prize.


Submissions will be accepted during the fall semester, through 5:00pm on Sunday, October 30, 2022.


District Semi-finalists will be notified before Thanksgiving, and grand prize winners will be announced at the virtual event on December 7. Winners must be present to win the grand prize.


Detailed contest prompts, guidelines, and online submission forms can be found here.

Even if you don’t choose to enter the contest, all are welcome for the virtual event on December 7 at 6 pm Central/7 pm Eastern. There will be chances to win additional prizes!  Event registration is required. Register here for the virtual event.


Teachers - Be sure to tell your students to list you on their submission forms! All teacher names submitted will be entered into a raffle for valuable gift cards. The more students you have enter, the more chances you have to win. NOTE: There is a bulk-submit option for teachers this year. Contact us through the website for instructions on how to submit for your entire class.  Please forward and share this announcement with other teachers and students who may be interested.

The Harvard Case Method Institute

The Harvard Case Method Institute invites you to join the more than 1,000 high school teachers across the U.S. who have brought the case method and “History of American Democracy” cases to their students—over 80,000 students so far. All U.S. history, government, and civics teachers with students in grades 9-12 are invited to apply here for an upcoming workshop held monthly (with limited

spots available).

Everything—including the workshop, curriculum, and supporting resources—is entirely free of charge. The opportunity includes:

  • An afternoon of Zoom-based training with Professor David Moss of Harvard Business School, including an interactive case discussion and Q&A with teachers.
  • An asynchronous PD program, completed before the session with Professor Moss, to introduce the case method and cases.
  • Complete access to 22 cases and original teaching plans exploring key episodes in the history of American democracy, from the Constitutional Convention to the Civil Rights Movement and beyond.
  • 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.

You can find out more about the Case Method Institute at their website.

Unleash the Power of Audio Story Telling with KQED

The revised Illinois social science standards and course mandates provide for teaching a more inclusive history that provides both "mirrors and windows" for students. Engaging student voice is central to this work. 

Join KQED for this webinar to Unleash the Power of Audio Storytelling on October 5 from 6-8 pm CT.

 As KQED explains: When we empower students to share their voice, we welcome their personal experiences, insight about the world, and ideas for the future. In this interactive workshop, we’ll explore a range of audio projects that support deeper learning and creative expression, unpack curriculum and tools to make audio production possible, and learn about publishing opportunities through KQED’s Youth Media Challenges. Help connect your students to each other and an audience beyond the classroom with audio storytelling.

Register here.

Should Admissions be "Colorblind"?

Tools for Teaching Supreme Court Cases

On Tuesday, October 18, from 6-7 pm CT, Retro Report is co-hosting a webinar with Street Law. The focus will be tools for teaching about Supreme Court cases, with a special focus on the upcoming Affirmative Action case, Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard/UNC, which will be argued at the end of October. 

Register here.

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

With its historic passage in April of 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:

Elementary/Grades K-5

Secondary/ Grades 6-12

Be sure to visit the Asian Americans Advancing Justice site for more resources to implement the T.E.A.A.C.H. Act.

October 24-28 is Media Literacy Week

Media Literacy Week is hosted by the National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE). The mission is to highlight the power of media literacy education and its essential role in education all across the country. U.S. Media Literacy Week calls attention to media literacy education by bringing together hundreds of partners for events and activities around the country.

The theme for U.S. Media Literacy Week celebrates one of the five components of media literacy’s definition each day of Media Literacy Week: Access, Analyze, Evaluate, Create, and Act.

Media Literacy Week is a great opportunity for high schools throughout Illinois to explore the implementation of IL House Bill 234, which amended the school code by adding a provision that says that beginning with the 2022-23 school year, every public high school must include a unit of instruction on media literacy in its curriculum. It additionally sets forth what topics the unit of instruction shall include and provides that the State Board of Education shall determine how to prepare and make available instructional resources and professional learning opportunities for educators that may be used to develop the unit of instruction.

Recently, some of our Illinois Civics Instructional coaches attended the Illinois Democracy Schools Network Convening around Civic Learning and Media Literacy Across the Disciplines. We asked a few of them to share some of their favorite resources from the event to support media literacy. Here are their suggestions.

Chris Johnson (Mercer, Warren, Henderson, Knox, Fulton, McDonough, Schuyler, Cass, Morgan, Scott, Brown, Pike, Adams, and Hancock Counties): Stanford’s Civics Online Reasoning program is the perfect tool for teachers across the disciplines to add into their curriculum. Many skills are not just for a history class but for all online work. Reading laterally is a great skill that can be integrated into all online research. On top of this, there is now a whole collection of resources to use in the science classroom.

Heather Monson (Jo Daviess, Stephenson, Carroll, Ogle, Lee, Whiteside, Bureau, Henry, Stark, and Rock Island Counties): The Chicago History Museum has several different exhibits available both in person and through virtual field trips. They have developed solid lesson plans and artifacts for students to work with. Many of these overlap in the subject areas. There are several different lesson plans from middle school through high school. 

Corie Yow (Menard, Sangamon, Macoupin, Christian, Montgomery, Bond, Fayette, Effingham, Madison, Jersey, Greene, and Calhoun Counties. Counties): Retro Report offers over 250 videos to help connect history to today. The videos cover U.S. History, Civics & Government, Media Literacy, World History, Psychology, and Environmental Studies topics. Many of the videos are accompanied by lesson plans and student activities. All of these are FREE!

For more media literacy resources, visit our Media Literacy Toolkit.

Connect with your Regional Coach today! Visit our website to learn more, and reach out to receive their monthly regional email.


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. Follow our blog for weekly updates on emerging research on civics, “teachable moments,” and related materials.