Safe and Reflective Classrooms
Curriculum Design Toolkit: Creating a Safe and Reflective Classroom
All teachers are civics teachers. We send messages to students about power, equity, justice, and representation by our classroom routines, relationships, and curricular choices. While the following resources have explicit connections to the civic learning practices in both the middle and high school civics course requirements, they are also best practices for all teachers.
Engaging Students’ Lived Experiences In Curriculum Design
Please review the entire Let’s Go There: Making a Case for for Race, Ethnicity and a Lived Civics Approach to Civic Education report by Cathy Cohen, Joseph Kahne, & Jessica Marshall for a more thorough understanding of the lived civics approach.
Cathy Cohen, Joseph Kahne, & Jessica Marshall
Engaging Students’ Lived Experiences To Inform Instruction
Your students will come to you with lived experiences that can inform and enhance your classroom practice. Take time to have them reflect on their experiences from the past, have a voice in recalibrating classroom practices to create routines for success, and engage in a collective renewal of goals throughout the school year.
Engaging Student Voice In Creating Norms
One of the essential questions addressed in any classroom is “How Should We Live Together?” Address this prompt at the start of school in the context of the classroom, whether in person or online. Students must feel safe and secure in the learning environment. Student voices should be included in establishing and maintaining expectations.
Tools for Building Community in Traditional, Remote and Hybrid Classrooms
Many of your students belong to one or more communities. Why? They feel a connection, they are curious, the community adds value to their life. Successful communities are built with intention. You will have to build your classroom community with intention too.
Leveraging Technology to Build Rapport and Collaboration
Twenty-first-century workplaces require skills like communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity. Start with what you know and then slowly add new tools to your toolbox. Don’t forget families and students! Here is a Comprehensive Student/Parent Tutorial Guide to help these educational partners navigate online spaces.
Have Students Examine Their Own Implicit Biases to Promote Understanding and Empathy Across Differences
- Confirmation and Other Biases from Facing History and Ourselves helps students understand how bias affects all of us.
- Teaching Tolerance What’s your F.R.A.M.E? To encourage students to reflect on their own backgrounds and enlarge their perspectives.
- Project Implicit from Harvard provides online tests to discern biases.
- Peel the Fruit from Project Zero’s Visible Thinking allows students explore a topic that calls for a broad and rich understanding. Students can use this to look at the issue in different ways — anything from a single long lesson to several lessons or a unit.
Tools For Formative Assessment And Reflection
How do we know students are learning? How can we use assessment not merely as an “autopsy” of learning, but as a tool for reflection that enhances the learning process?
Professional Development Resources From Illinois Civics
- Professional Development Calendar
- Webinar Archive of online professional development offerings for teacher use on demand.
- If you would like deeper learning and training in this proven practice, register for the free Guardians of Democracy Microcredential Course on Simulations of Democratic Processes.
- Illinois Civics Instructional Coaches are available to work with teachers in their region to plan and implement classroom climate strategies.