ICH Poolside PD begins with Essential Questions and Institutional Transformation


The Illinois Civics Hub (ICH) summer programming launched this week with two webinars. The first  tackled the role of essential and supporting questions in curriculum design.  The second featured the American Bar Association (ABA) Division of Public Education as we tackled Theme 5 of the Educating for American Democracy Roadmap– Institutional and Social Transformation.

The EAD Roadmap provides a non-partisan path for vertically-aligned K-12 history and civics education. The roadmap is designed around seven content themes that provide driving questions to shape curriculum. These driving questions differ from essential questions. The EAD site explains:

Unlike essential questions, which are about larger questions of civic life and history that do not have a predetermined right answer, driving questions in the Roadmap often do. An example of an essential question might be, “Does history really repeat itself?”, but with a driving question, students may focus on specific content, such as “How have Americans resisted or reacted to the expansion of rights and citizenship claims?”

The Illinois Social Science Standards require that curricular design be guided by inquiry which is grounded in essential questions. Our first webinar in “powerful pedagogy” examined what makes a great essential question and how the right question frames the “why” of social studies for both educators and students. Participants examined how the EAD Roadmap can be used to create these questions for rigorous K-12 inquiry grounded in deep constitutional understandings. If you missed the webinar, you can view a recording for your own #PoolsidePD and enhance your learning with this blog post on Constructing Curriculum with Essential Questions

This week’s PD offerings concluded with a webinar that addressed the EAD Theme 5 Driving Question, “How has the Constitution changed formally and informally?”  The Illinois CIvics Hub hosted Cathie Hawke, Associate Director of Education Programs and Tiffany Middleton, Manager of Education Programs at the ABA Division for Public Education to lead this session. Educators experienced strategies and interacted with disciplinary content sources they could use to enhance their classroom practice in helping students understand the role of formal and informal amendments. A recording of the webinar can be accessed on the Illinois Civics Hub Webinar Archive.

For more PD with the ABA, the Northern District of Illinois District Court is joining with the  ABA to host the Judge John F. Grady Virtual Summer Teachers Institute on July 29 and August 5. The Institute features a lecture and Q&A with Prof. Erwin Chemerinsky (Dean of Berkeley Law). Collaborate with experts and colleagues as you dig into the First Amendment by focusing on the rights to assembly and association. Walk away with classroom-ready activities and resources.

It is not too late to register for the rest of our Illinois Civics Hub summer PD series! There are two strands of professional development. On Tuesday mornings, powerful pedagogy will be the focus to help with summer curriculum projects. Topics include tools for inquiry lessons, performance assessments, Visible Thinking, navigating current and controversial Issue discussions, simulations of democratic processes and service learning.

Wednesday morning webinars will put the spotlight on some of the leading civic learning providers in the nation including iCivics, The Stanford History Education Group, The National Archives Foundation, The Chicago History Museum, the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center, and the Bill of Rights Institute. Each will address a thematic question from the Educating for American Democracy Roadmap. 

Each session will begin at 9:30 a.m. CT. Educators can join live to interact with participants, or watch a recording of each session for their own #PoolsidePD. The webinars are free, and Illinois educators can elect to earn PD credits for attending the webinar and completing a brief, post-webinar application activity.

A description for each webinar and information to register for professional development credits through the DuPage Regional Office of Education is available on the Illinois Civics Hub Professional Development calendar.

What are you doing to “sharpen your saw” this summer? Please comment below. Together, we can take this summer to reflect, recalibrate and renew.