—2016 Workshops—Elementary Educators Explore Methods to Integrate Civics in the Classroom
Elementary teachers gathered in June at the colorful and inspiring venue of the Children's Museum of NH to learn about how to integrate civics concepts at the elementary level. The workshop was entitled "Empowering Our Youngest Citizens: Civic Engagement in Elementary School."
The 44 educators explored such questions as: "How can we make sure our children grow to have civics attitudes, skills, and knowledge when faced with pressure to focus on reading, math, and STEM?," and "How to translate sometimes complicated and abstract concepts into classroom practice and materials young children can understand?"
Constitutionally Speaking and UNH School of Law are pleased to present a free public symposium on Crime and the Constitution on Saturday, October 22 from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at UNH School of Law, 2 White Street in Concord.
The symposium will cover current legal issues of great topical significance including Sexual Assault and the Constitution and Race, Crime and the Constitution. Participating teachers will receive valuable information and tools for effectively teaching and discussing these issues with your students.
Teachers will have access to an expert panel including:
There is no cost to attend, and teachers will receive a $100 stipend and professional development hours. Lunch is included. Participating teachers will be asked to develop curriculum based on the topics covered in the symposium.
For more information or to apply, please contact Martha Madsen at email@example.com.
—2016 Workshops—Middle School Teachers Tackle Lack of Civility in Public and Private Discourse
Middle school New Hampshire educators spent two days in June aimed at expanding their repertoire for teaching civics to their students. "Empowering Connected Citizens: Making Civics Count in Middle School" was the NH Institute for Civics Education's first gathering tailored specifically for middle school teachers. Saint Anselm's NH Institute of Politics hosted these days focused on integrating civics understanding with technology, music, cartooning, and literature.
The 38 teachers talked about the lack of civility in our public and private discourse, and how it is troubling as educators and as citizens. They explored how they can work to change this, given new technology and a polarization of politics, starting with their students.
Middle and high school social studies educators received an overview of current approaches to civics education in the United States at NHICE's inaugural event, held in February and March of 2015, at Dartmouth. The group explored the pressure points in education as teachers wrestle with questions of values, pluralism, and participatory democracy. Speakers included Peter Levine of CIRCLE at Tufts and Akhil Amar of Yale Law School.
Attendees also examined techniques for analyzing and teaching public issues in a balanced and civil manner, as well as methods for formative and summative assessment. Case studies of contemporary issues (e.g. the electoral college) were examined to develop and refine instructional techniques and assessment methods. The workshops also addressed broader issues of civic engagement and the importance of inspiring students to become engaged voters before they leave high school.
All educators who completed the course, which was presented without charge, received 40 clock hours of credit and a $100 stipend.
The New Hampshire Institute for Civics Education has been established to dramatically improve civics education in New Hampshire's schools. NHICE has set an ambitious goal of making the state first in the nation in citizenship preparation.
"Civics education must become a fundamental priority of our schools, and it must involve more than helping students gain an understanding of a substantial body of civic knowledge," says the organization's planning document. "To ensure active participation in our democracy, educators must help students engage with their communities and learn a variety of skills associated with political and community life. They also must help students cultivate attitudes and beliefs that might best be described as 'civic virtues.' "
NHICE plans a number of workshops and other events devoted to fulfilling its mission. The first event was a successful Institute that focused on "Cultivating Participatory Citizens: Civics Education and Controversial Conversations." Read more about that event in the article on this page. Thanks to the Treat Foundation and the NH Supreme Court Society, the NHICE is planning three institutes in 2016: one for elementary teachers, one for middle school teachers featuring training in iCivics (see articles, above), and one for high school teachers focusing on authentic student government.
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