What’s Your Back-to-School Planning Style?

August 23, 2021

When planning your lessons do you enjoy finding opportunities within a well-structured sequence of resources? Skipping along a clear path of high-quality content? If this sounds like you, here’s your “Team Dorothy” jersey.

If that doesn’t really strike your fancy, I’d guess you are more of the type that looks around for pieces and bits that can be jigsawed together into a teaching monster of your own making. You may even fancy yourself a bit of a mad scientist in the classroom. If that sounds like a better fit, you belong on “Team Frank(enstein)”.

No matter the team or approach to teaching, our Scope and Sequence (S&S) document acts as a perfect reference point for your back-to-school planning. Here at iCivics, we develop our lessons and other resources to work as complete and comprehensive units, as well as individual items that can be used to supplement your existing teaching materials. Let’s dig into how the S&S can be used in both situations.

Team Dorothy and the Yellow Brick Road

The iCivics S&S is your Yellow Brick Road. It offers up a clear and organized structure that you can use to plan your semester and beyond. We’ve curated our content in thematic units that include our lesson plans, games, webquests, DBQuests, and more. Each item is carefully placed to provide you with an instructional flow that is as intentional as it is comprehensive. You never need to worry about when or where to use a resource; it’s all laid out! And there’s no need to worry about straying a little from time to time. While our resources build and support an ongoing instructional experience, you can always mix it up and integrate other resources. You can’t break the S&S, but you can make it your own!

Tips for Team Dorothy:

  • Great for new teachers, new-to-civics teachers, and teachers looking for a new or improved way to teach a civics class.
  • Use the iCivics’ standards search tool to connect the S&S with your state’s learning standards.
  • Determine when a middle school or high school lesson plan is best. You can level up or down through the Scope and Sequence for units that have high school counterparts.
  • Try to find time to take notes on a unit as you teach it. Would you change anything up? Did anything work particularly well? It’s a huge help going into the next year. 

We’ve organized our “teach” page with the S&S as the base structure, so check it out!


Team Frank and the iCivics Laboratory

We offer up our S&S to the mad scientists to use in their laboratories (aka classrooms). Mix it, dilute it, boil it down, or blow it up! You can use the doc as more of a menu than a map, finding the tools, content, and delivery methods that fit the unique needs of your students. Each piece of content can stand on its own, so you can slip items in amongst your required textbook, along with other resources, or as great cross-curricular bridges. The S&S is also a great way to see the breadth of offerings at iCivics.

Tips for Team Frank:

  • The “teach” page on iCivics.org is a great place to search, filter, and engage with everything we have.
  • Make note of what you used, how it worked, iterate as needed, and remember... you are a mad scientist!
  • Connect to current events by highlighting the civic structures behind the news.
  • Pull civics into history, ELA, and STEM courses on an “as needed” basis.

Scope & Sequence is designed to help you save time and brain cells, as well as give access to all that iCivics has to offer, which makes it a great starting point for your back-to-school planning.



Written by Carrie Ray-Hill

Carrie Ray-Hill is the Senior Director of Digital Learning and oversees the conceptualization and development of iCivics’ educational resources, with a particular concern for teacher usability. She is responsible for maintaining a consistent focus on iCivics’ educational mission. Prior to joining the iCivics team, Carrie taught middle and high school social studies and language arts in St. Louis and Washington, DC. In addition to seeking out the finest of cheeses, Carrie spends her spare time watching British panel shows, making cookies for the office, and killing zombies.