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Civics and Government Resources

Bibliographies and Research Guides

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

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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
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
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
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
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
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 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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

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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
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

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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
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
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
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
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
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
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 "" 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

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