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Civics and Government Resources



Associations/Organizations

Civics Education Initiative
This non-profit initiative wants to require high school students to pass the United States Citizenship Civics Test as a requirement for graduation (the same test that is required for citizenship). This organization believes that learning this information will result in better informed, and more highly engaged citizens.
Grades: 9 - 12
http://civicseducationinitiative.org/
The Supreme Court Historical Society
The Supreme Court Historical Society is a private non-profit organization which collects and preserves the history of the Supreme Court of the United States. It supports educational programs and includes several lesson plans on the website (under Learning Center). The History of the Court and How the Court Works pages also contain valuable teaching resources and quizzes.
Grades: 6 - 12
http://supremecourthistory.org/index.html

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Bibliographies and Research Guides

Citizenship
A selected list of print and online materials to support the teaching of civics in the PreK to Grade 12 classroom. Print materials are available in the Curriculum Materials Center.
Grades: PreK - 12
http://www.wpunj.edu/library/cmc/PDF/CitizenshipBib14e2010.pdf

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Lesson Plans and Teaching Activities

American Presidency: A Glorious Burden
This online exhibit from the Smithsonian Institute's National Museum of American History includes artifacts and images from the personal and political lives of U.S. Presidents through President George W. Bush. The section, "Teacher Materials" includes sample lesson plans and activities.
Grades: 4 - 12
http://www.americanhistory.si.edu/presidency/home.html
American President: A Reference Resource
Developed by The Miller Center, "a nonpartisan institute that seeks to expand understanding of the presidency, policy, and political history," this website provides information about all U.S. presidents, including who served in their cabinet, highlights of their presidency, transcripts (and when available audio or video recordings) of important speeches. The "Presidential Classroom" provides lesson plans and online teachable exhibits.
Grades: 6 - 12
http://millercenter.org/president
C-SPAN Classroom
Offering primary source videos and other resources, C-SPAN Classroom was developed to enhance the teaching of social studies. The service is free, but registration is necessary to obtain full access to lesson plans and other resources. Video clips available of debates, speeches, etc. on a large variety of government related topics, both current and historical.
Grades: 6 - 12
http://www.c-spanclassroom.org/
Constitution Center: Constitution Day
The Constitution Center provides many resources to help educators plan Constitution Day lesson and celebrations for their students. These include lesson plans, videos, and other activities for all grade levels.
Grades: K - 12
http://constitutioncenter.org/constitution-day/
constitution-day-resources/
Election 2016 Resources
Teaching Tolerance, a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, compiled this list of resources for Countering Bias, Civic Activities, Getting Along, How To (handle the Presidential Election) and Election Sites.
Grades: K - 12
http://www.tolerance.org/election2016
Glossary of Legal terms: SCOTUSblog
This blog produced by the Supreme Court of the United States provides a comprehensive glossary of legal terms. This blog also has other resources such as cases, statistics, and videos.
Grades: 6 - 12
http://www.scotusblog.com/reference/educational-resources/
glossary-of-legal-terms/
History Channel: Brown v. Board of Education Ruling
The History Channel's website features a section on Speeches and Audio, where you can listen to the radio news broadcast of the Brown v. Board of Education ruling. The news report demonstrates the segregation of the 1950's, as seen through the media.
Grades: 6 - 12
http://www.history.com/speeches/brown-v-board-of-education-ruling
iCivics
Founded by U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Sandra Day O'Connor, iCivics consists of interactive games, webquests, video clips, etc. to teach students about the Constitution, the branches of government and the court system. The Teachers section includes lesson plans. All resources are free, though registration is recommended.
Grades: 4 - 12
http://www.icivics.org/
Kids and Community
Developed by the American Planning Association this website suggests a variety of activities to help students learn about their community. Activities include: Crazy City Stories, City Gallery, Word Town, and a Scavenger Hunt Scrapbook.
Grades: 2 - 6
http://www.planning.org/kidsandcommunity
Kids.gov
Kids.gov links kids, parents and teachers to information and services from government agencies, and other organizations. Organized for Grades K-5, Grades 6-8, and Teachers and Parents. Each tab is divided into subjects like Arts, Math, and History, that link you to a variety of websites, for both governmental agencies, as well as other public and private organizations.
Grades: K - 8
http://www.kids.gov
Landmark Cases of the Supreme Court
Landmark cases of the Supreme Court is a joint effort between Street Law, Inc., a nonprofit organization, and the Supreme Court Historical Society. each landmark case on the website provides an overview of the case, teaching materials, and the case decision.
Grades: 6 - 12
http://landmarkcases.org/en/landmark/home
Landmark Cases: Dred Scott
This page describes the 1857 case of Dred Scott v. Sandford. Landmark Cases of the Supreme Court is a joint effort between Street Law, Inc., a nonprofit organization, and the Supreme Court Historical Society. Each landmark case on the website provides an overview of the case, teaching materials, and the case decision.
Grades: 6 - 12
http://landmarkcases.org/en/landmark/cases/dred_scott_v_sandford
Let Freedom Swing: Conversations on Jazz and Democracy
A collaboration of Jazz at Lincoln Center, The Documentary Group, Teachers College at Columbia University, and The Rockefeller Foundation, this project grew out of a conversation between Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and jazz musician Wynton Marsalis. The curriculum provides streaming video, discussion questions and classroom activities to explore and compare these two American traditions--jazz and democracy.
Grades: 6 - 12
http://letfreedomswing.org/
Library of Congress: Plessy v. Ferguson
This webpage, produced by the American Memory project from the Library of Congress, features information about Plessy v. Ferguson, the 1896 Supreme Court ruling that upheld the practice of separate but equal facilities. The webpage includes facts, photographs and links to other resources related to segregation and civil rights.
Grades: 6 - 12
http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/today/may18.html
National Student/Parent Mock Election
Students can join millions of other students and participate in a mock election and view the results. Curriculum guides are available for elections in specific years.
Grades: 3 - 12
http://www.nationalmockelection.org
New Heroes
First aired in 2005, The New Heroes relates the stories of 14 people who made changes in the lives of others. This website defines, "social entrepreneurship," givees examples of social entrepreneurs from the present as well as the past. Lesson plans and curriculum units are available from the "For teachers" tab.
Grades: 6 - 12
http://www.pbs.org/opb/thenewheroes/
New Jersey Legislature's Kids' Page
"How does a bill become a law?" and "What is the legislature?" are two of the questions answered here. Includes state symbols and puzzle pages.
Grades: 4 - 12
http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/kids/index.asp
Separate is not equal: Brown v. Board of Education
In 2004 the Smithsonian National Museum of American History mounted an exhibit commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision. This website tells the story of the history of the fight for equal rights through text, images, quotes and other primary sources. Resources include an annotated bibliography, timeline and teacher's guide.
Grades: 4 - 12
http://americanhistory.si.edu/brown/
Supreme Court, United States
This encyclopedia entry from Infoplease.com provides a good overview of the history of the Supreme Court, as well as the current court.
Grades: 6 - 12
http://www.infoplease.com/encyclopedia/history/
supreme-court-united-states-history.html
Teachable Moment
Developed by the Morningside Center for Teaching Social Responsibility this website gives sample lessons for teaching students about social issues. Lessons are divided by elementary, middle school and high school. Ideas and essays provide additional insight on many topics.
Grades: K - 12
http://www.teachablemoment.org
The Living Room Candidate
A project of the Museum of Moving Images this website has television ads for presidential candidates since 1952. The section, For Teachers has sample lesson plans for media literacy. Some lessons incorporate the site's "Ad Maker" to edit or create their own ads.
Grades: 6 - 12
http://www.livingroomcandidate.org
The Supreme Court
This website from PBS includes information from their documentary series on the Supreme Court. The website has a timeline of the Supreme Court, videos from the series, interactive games, history by topic, and lesson plans.
Grades: 9 - 12
http://www.pbs.org/wnet/supremecourt/index.html
The Supreme Court Historical Society
The Supreme Court Historical Society is a private non-profit organization which collects and preserves the history of the Supreme Court of the United States. It supports educational programs and includes several lesson plans on the website (under Learning Center). The History of the Court and How the Court Works pages also contain valuable teaching resources and quizzes.
Grades: 6 - 12
http://supremecourthistory.org/index.html
Youth Leadership Initiative
Developed by Larry J. Sabato of the University of Virginia, the Youth Leadership Initiative provides civics education resources. Includes lesson plans about civics and government, as well as a yearly Mock Election, E-Congress, and Democracy Corps, Each program is designed to connect students with the political process.
Grades: 4 - 12
http://www.youthleadership.net/

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Standards

College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies State Standards
The C3 Framework was the result of a collaborative effort of many social studies teaching organizations to help states and local districts to update their standards. Its objectives were to increase the rigor of social studies education, build critical thinking skills and align programs to the Common Core Standards.
Grades: K - 12
http://www.socialstudies.org/system/files/c3/
C3-Framework-for-Social-Studies.pdf
National Standards for Civics and Government
Full text of the National Standards for Civics and Government developed by the Center for Civic Education. The standards are divided by broad grade levels: K-4, 5-8 and 9-12.
Grades: K - 12
http://www.civiced.org/index.php?page=stds

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Other Resources

270 to Win
This website features an interactive map of the Electoral College and information about how the Electoral College determines the Presidential election. In addition to recent poll data, the website also includes results from all previous Presidential elections.
Grades: 4 - 12
http://www.270towin.com
Ben's Guide to U.S. Government
Divided by grade levels (K-2, 3-5, 6-8 & 9-12) this website provides information, and learning activities about U.S. government. Using a cartoon image of Ben Franklin as a guide the information and activities vary by grade level. Includes links to U.S. government websites for kids. Developed by the U.S. Government Printing Office.
Grades: K - 12
http://bensguide.gpo.gov
Civics Education Initiative
This non-profit initiative wants to require high school students to pass the United States Citizenship Civics Test as a requirement for graduation (the same test that is required for citizenship). This organization believes that learning this information will result in better informed, and more highly engaged citizens.
Grades: 9 - 12
http://civicseducationinitiative.org/
CNN Student News
CNN Student News is a ten-minute, commercial-free, daily news program for middle and high school students. Produced by CNN it is available free of charge and includes daily transcripts, discussion questions, downloadable maps and other support materials.
Grades: 6 - 12
http://www.cnn.com/studentnews/
Community Club
Part of Scholastic's Listen and Read collection of short stories that young readers can read and/or listen to. The Community Club section includes eight community helpers. There is a quiz at the end of each story. Other subject areas covered are: American History, Animals, Civics and Government, Environmental Studies, Plants and Flowers, Science, and Social Studies
Grades: PreK - 2
http://teacher.scholastic.com/commclub
Do Something
This website promotes teen activisim on causes teens care about (e.g. animals, bullying, discrimination, etc.) New campaigns are launched regularly and have real impact, do not require money, or a car, or an adult.
Grades: 9 - 12
http://www.dosomething.org/
New Jersey Legislature
Find information about bills, statutes, districts, legislators and the New Jersey legislature. View or listen to live proceedings. The Kids Page answers questions about the law-making process and includes state symbols and puzzle pages.
Grades: 9 - 12
http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/
Rock the Vote: Building political power for young people
Rock the Vote is a non-partison organization that uses technology to motivate young people to register to vote and to participate in the political process. Rock the Vote provides questions and answers about voting in each state, and "DemocracyClass.com" which uses video, class discussion and a mock election to teach young people how to vote and be active citizens. Rock the Vote also provides analysis of voting laws and research about young voters.
Grades: 11 - 12
http://www.rockthevote.org/

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