David & Lorraine Cheng Library

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Civics and Government Resources



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://cms.wpunj.edu/dotAsset/268746.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/
eLections
eLECTIONS is a free, election campaign simulation that uses video, animated graphics and other interactive tools, enabling participants to make a virtual run for the Presidency. Developed by Cable in the Classroom, in partnership with CNN Student News, C-SPAN and HistoryTM. Requires ShockWave player.
Grades: 6 - 12
http://www.ciconline.org/
Resource/elections-your-adventure-in-politics
Growing Voters
A civics curriculum developed and maintained by graduate students of Lesley University, this site contains lesson plans for debates, civic lemonade stand, campaign advertising and other learning activities. Many activities encourage the use of primary sources and technology. Choose between elementary, middle school and high school levels.
Grades: 3 - 12
http://growingvoters.org/
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
Law for Kids
Created by the Arizona Foundation for Legal Services and Education to teach students about the law and how it affects them. Students can submit questions and get answers from real attorneys. Video clips and other resources are available to start discussions. Some lesson plans are also available in the Teachers' section.
Grades: 9 - 12
http://www.lawforkids.org/
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/
My Voice National Student Mock Election
Started in 1980 the National Student Mock Election is the nation’s largest civic education project, teaching millions of students about U.S. elections. Combined with My Voice which measures student engagement this website encourages student participation in their school, community, state and nation. Sponsored by Pearson Learning Foundation.
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
Teachable Moment
From the Morningside Center for Teaching Social Responsibility, the Teachable Moment was created after 9/11 to assist teachers in helping students cope with the tragedy. Lesson plans are available for a wide range of natural disasters, manmade tragedies and to support children's social and emotional learning. Teachers are free to reproduce TeachableMoment lessons for use in their classrooms.
Grades: K - 12
http://www.morningsidecenter.org/teachable-moment
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
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

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
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/
KIDS Consortium
KIDS (Kids Involved Doing Service-Learning) Consortium is a non-profit organization that supports service-learning by preparing and connecting students, educators, and community partners. This website provides a model for service learning, and gives examples of successful projects broken down by grade levels.
Grades: K - 12
http://www.kidsconsortium.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/
POTUS: Presidents of the United States
Developed by ipl2 (a merger of Internet Public Library and the Librarian's Index to the Internet), POTUS gives brief facts about all U.S. Presidents, with links to additional sources of information
Grades: 6 - 12
http://www.ipl.org/div/potus/
Rock the Vote: Building political power for young people
Rock the Vote is a non-partison organization that uses music and technology to motivate young people to register to vote and to participate in the political process. Rock the Vote sponsors "Electionland.com" which 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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