JANUARY 09, 2020
The 2018 History and Social Science Curriculum Framework, and the new civics education law Chapter 296 in Massachusetts, offer new opportunities to deepen students’ civics learning. But they also pose some challenges for teachers, schools and districts that must now implement them. Local teachers, including iCivics’ Educator Network members, were recently quoted in The Boston Globe, sharing how the changes are impacting their classrooms and their students’ reactions.
Below are some resources the iCivics team has been hard at work on to help Massachusetts teachers meet, and exceed, the expectations of the new law.
Civics Projects Answer Guide
The civics projects now required by the new law provide an opportunity for educators to get the next generation of leaders inspired about the key role they play in our democracy, and to apply what they've learned about how to engage thoughtfully in civic life. But how?
The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has issued a Civics Project Guidebook that outlines:
- Six stages of the grade 8 and high school student-led civics projects
- Considerations for district implementation
- Planning and assessment resources
- Case studies for use in professional development
As you start your own planning, check out the iCivics resources that address each of the six stages of student-led civics projects described in the guidebook.
A Celebration of Civics Projects
On Thursday, May 21, 2020, we will be hosting a student project showcase at Worcester Technical High School. All Massachusetts schools implementing 8th grade civics projects may apply to participate in the showcase on a first-come/first-served basis. Students will earn awards for the most creative and impactful projects. Building on the showcase that iCivics and Boston Public Schools hosted last year, this event will be a great celebration of your students’ hard work. (And yours!)
Register now to give your students the spotlight. Applications must be received by April 3, 2020. For more details on resources and requirements, please review our FAQ.
Some New Services
In response to the expectations of the new framework and new state civics law, we have created Massachusetts-specific services and resources. We are offering implementation consulting and custom professional development. We also released a Grade 8 Student Workbook to address the State and Local Government topic for grade 8! To sample or purchase the workbook, visit: icivics.org/ma.
We’ve also teamed up with our friends at Nearpod, so that iCivics lessons — specifically for Massachusetts — are now Nearpod-ized! Check out these samples:
Last month, we co-led a webinar with the Nearpod team that provided background on the new state expectations and how both organizations can help to address them. The webinar is now available for free and on-demand with a quick registration. We highly suggest you watch the webinar to get a good background.
Are you implementing the new standards in your classroom? Share your experiences with us on Twitter tagging @iCivics.