Create a List

List Name

Rename this List
Save to
Back to the Top Teaching Blog
February 6, 2018

We the People: Teaching Civics Across the Content

By Meghan Everette
Grades 3–5, 6–8, 9–12

    Civics, the government, and the Constitution are not only essential knowledge for any student, they are also an especially hot topic in the news with ongoing debates about policies and laws. From local government to the White House, students need to learn the ins and outs of how our country works. That said, social studies frequently hits the cutting room floor in favor of math, English, and science. To fit civics studies in the day without creating extra stress, use ELA standards and ready-to-go resources to bring learning to life.

    We the People

    Scholastic’s We the People site is a civics and media literacy resource from Scholastic Magazines. Two versions feature digitally rich content for grades 4–6 and grades 7–10. Each article is clickable, containing supporting videos and ways for students to place sticky notes and highlights on each page. Great for close reading and summarizing information text, students can also click through to related topics. Each article listed below can be clicked on from the Table of Contents in either the grades 4–6 or the grades 7–10 versions.

    Standards listed with each activity below are suggestions from English Language Arts Reading Informational Text. They are represented throughout the grades with varying levels of complexity, so just because your grade isn’t listed, don’t assume the activity isn’t perfect for your students. Even better, both of the We the People sites have similar resources with varied reading complexity, so you can differentiate for students needing more or less support.

         

     

    "Don’t Be Fooled by Fake News!"

    RI.4.8: Explain how an author uses reasons and evidence to support particular points in a text.

    RI.5.7: Draw on information from multiple print or digital sources, demonstrating the ability to locate an answer to a question quickly or to solve a problem efficiently.

    The Resource:
    A great starting place for any conversation on civics and modern news is to educate students about spotting false stories and unreliable sources. Even older students can benefit from being able to differentiate what sources are reliable and feature solid information. The “Don’t Be Fooled By Fake News!” article (grades 4–6) gives background and tips on how to spot news stories. Watch a video about U.S. media or jump to a follow-up story on journalism (grades 4–6). This resource is a great place to start for all budding citizens. Older students can investigate the same topic using "The Real Deal on Fake News" grades 7–10, with a more complex reading level for better readers.

    American Citizenship and Classroom Compassion

    RI5.9: Integrate information from several texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgably.

    RI.6.7: Integrate information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words to develop a coherent understanding of a topic or issue.

    The Resource:
    "Becoming an American" (grades 4–6) features a short text from an immigrant-turned-citizen, a video about citizenship, and sample questions from the American citizenship test. Students can try their hand at the questions and research answers. To extend the learning, have students use multiple sources to craft questions they believe should be on a citizenship test, along with the acceptable answers. If you have families that have immigrated to the United States, or a local organization supporting immigrants, you might have them speak to the class about their experiences.

    A follow-up read is "Making a Difference," (grades 4–6) highlighting different kids working to better their communities. To truly go the extra mile, find out what donated supplies your local organizations working with immigrants need. Often simple socks and toiletries are all it takes to support those in your community. My son’s class decided to take on this service project in place of exchanging Valentine’s last year, as a different way to show their love for those around them.

     

    Our Government

    R.I.7.4: Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze the impact of a specific word choice on meaning and tone.

    RI.7.10: By the end of the year, read and comprehend literary nonfiction in the grades 6–8 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.

    The Resources:
    Start by having students quiz (grades 7–10) themselves on their government knowledge. Then allow time to read through the supporting resources teaching about "The Three Branches of Government" (grades 7–10), "Supreme Court 101" (grades 7–10), and "Five Things to Know About the Constitution" (grades 7–10). Have students complete the "See What You’ve Learned" quiz after they research and read. That’s not the end of the learning. Challenge students to create their own pre- and post-quiz on any civic-related topic and provide an article or set of resources that would allow support for anyone taking the quizzes. When students become teachers, other students are more engaged and students themselves have ownership in their learning.

       

    Try Your Case

    RI.9-10.8: Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is valid and the evidence is relevant and sufficient; identify false statements and fallacious reasoning.

    The Resources:
    Have students read about "Supreme Court Cases Every Teen Should Know"  (grades 7–10) along with a video about free speech and its limits. Choosing one of the cases presented, or any other Supreme Court case that is of interest, have students break into two groups and research supporting evidence for and against the existing or proposed law. Using a debate format, allow students to “try” the case in class, debating both sides. Other students, or another class, can serve as the judges in the case and write their support or dissent after voting. Use Scholastic Scope magazine’s resources for setting up and conducting debates two ways.

    No matter what resources you draw on, support your English Language Arts objectives through content-rich social studies content. Civics knowledge is foundational to everyday life in our country and to being a productive citizen — something we hope for all our students.

    Civics, the government, and the Constitution are not only essential knowledge for any student, they are also an especially hot topic in the news with ongoing debates about policies and laws. From local government to the White House, students need to learn the ins and outs of how our country works. That said, social studies frequently hits the cutting room floor in favor of math, English, and science. To fit civics studies in the day without creating extra stress, use ELA standards and ready-to-go resources to bring learning to life.

    We the People

    Scholastic’s We the People site is a civics and media literacy resource from Scholastic Magazines. Two versions feature digitally rich content for grades 4–6 and grades 7–10. Each article is clickable, containing supporting videos and ways for students to place sticky notes and highlights on each page. Great for close reading and summarizing information text, students can also click through to related topics. Each article listed below can be clicked on from the Table of Contents in either the grades 4–6 or the grades 7–10 versions.

    Standards listed with each activity below are suggestions from English Language Arts Reading Informational Text. They are represented throughout the grades with varying levels of complexity, so just because your grade isn’t listed, don’t assume the activity isn’t perfect for your students. Even better, both of the We the People sites have similar resources with varied reading complexity, so you can differentiate for students needing more or less support.

         

     

    "Don’t Be Fooled by Fake News!"

    RI.4.8: Explain how an author uses reasons and evidence to support particular points in a text.

    RI.5.7: Draw on information from multiple print or digital sources, demonstrating the ability to locate an answer to a question quickly or to solve a problem efficiently.

    The Resource:
    A great starting place for any conversation on civics and modern news is to educate students about spotting false stories and unreliable sources. Even older students can benefit from being able to differentiate what sources are reliable and feature solid information. The “Don’t Be Fooled By Fake News!” article (grades 4–6) gives background and tips on how to spot news stories. Watch a video about U.S. media or jump to a follow-up story on journalism (grades 4–6). This resource is a great place to start for all budding citizens. Older students can investigate the same topic using "The Real Deal on Fake News" grades 7–10, with a more complex reading level for better readers.

    American Citizenship and Classroom Compassion

    RI5.9: Integrate information from several texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgably.

    RI.6.7: Integrate information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words to develop a coherent understanding of a topic or issue.

    The Resource:
    "Becoming an American" (grades 4–6) features a short text from an immigrant-turned-citizen, a video about citizenship, and sample questions from the American citizenship test. Students can try their hand at the questions and research answers. To extend the learning, have students use multiple sources to craft questions they believe should be on a citizenship test, along with the acceptable answers. If you have families that have immigrated to the United States, or a local organization supporting immigrants, you might have them speak to the class about their experiences.

    A follow-up read is "Making a Difference," (grades 4–6) highlighting different kids working to better their communities. To truly go the extra mile, find out what donated supplies your local organizations working with immigrants need. Often simple socks and toiletries are all it takes to support those in your community. My son’s class decided to take on this service project in place of exchanging Valentine’s last year, as a different way to show their love for those around them.

     

    Our Government

    R.I.7.4: Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze the impact of a specific word choice on meaning and tone.

    RI.7.10: By the end of the year, read and comprehend literary nonfiction in the grades 6–8 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.

    The Resources:
    Start by having students quiz (grades 7–10) themselves on their government knowledge. Then allow time to read through the supporting resources teaching about "The Three Branches of Government" (grades 7–10), "Supreme Court 101" (grades 7–10), and "Five Things to Know About the Constitution" (grades 7–10). Have students complete the "See What You’ve Learned" quiz after they research and read. That’s not the end of the learning. Challenge students to create their own pre- and post-quiz on any civic-related topic and provide an article or set of resources that would allow support for anyone taking the quizzes. When students become teachers, other students are more engaged and students themselves have ownership in their learning.

       

    Try Your Case

    RI.9-10.8: Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is valid and the evidence is relevant and sufficient; identify false statements and fallacious reasoning.

    The Resources:
    Have students read about "Supreme Court Cases Every Teen Should Know"  (grades 7–10) along with a video about free speech and its limits. Choosing one of the cases presented, or any other Supreme Court case that is of interest, have students break into two groups and research supporting evidence for and against the existing or proposed law. Using a debate format, allow students to “try” the case in class, debating both sides. Other students, or another class, can serve as the judges in the case and write their support or dissent after voting. Use Scholastic Scope magazine’s resources for setting up and conducting debates two ways.

    No matter what resources you draw on, support your English Language Arts objectives through content-rich social studies content. Civics knowledge is foundational to everyday life in our country and to being a productive citizen — something we hope for all our students.

Comments

Share your ideas about this article

Meghan's Most Recent Posts
Blog Post
Back-to-School Night With Clifford
To increase parent involvement, we’ve started a series of math and literacy nights. See how to host a successful parent night with a little help from Clifford!
By Meghan Everette
September 21, 2018
Blog Post
A Book for Every Reader Type
Give the gift of reading with books for every type of reader in your classroom.
By Meghan Everette
September 4, 2018
Blog Post
Leveling and Labeling Your Classroom Library
Get tips for sorting your books, leveling your classroom library, and repairing minor rips and tears. Find ways to digitally catalog your collection, and get free printable labels.
By Meghan Everette
July 20, 2018
Blog Post
40 Quick and Easy Organization Tips

Here are 40 tips from teachers on quick and easy ways to help make your classroom more manageable.

By Meghan Everette
July 3, 2018
Blog Post
One-Stop January Shop: Every Resource You Need
Get great ideas, lessons, resources, interactives, and more for January. Celebrate the new year and Lunar New Year, and embrace the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with tips, books, and a host of other materials!
By Meghan Everette
January 2, 2017

Susan Cheyney

GRADES: 1-2
About Us