Thursday, August 2, 2007

WtP: Introduction to Project Citizen

Marcia Ellis introduced the Institute attendees to Project Citizen. She requested that we inform her if we use Project Citizen or other civic education programs in our classrooms so they can track use of the program. Pam Bledsoe also presented on aspects of her students' experiences.

Project Citizen is a program for youth, young adults that teaches them the process of public policy.

Public Policy: A law, regulation, or procedure enacted by a governing body that impacts the community.

Steps in Project Citizen:
  1. Students identify public policy issues within their community they would like to address. As a class, they need to determine which problems are of the greatest interest to the entire class. They may wish to do research on their questions over a period of time. Ideally, the class will come to consensus on their chosen topic.
  2. Select a problem for the class.
  3. Students research the issue learning the history related to the issue and perspectives of other communities and their "constituents" on the issue.
  4. The class develops a "portfolio" that takes the form of a poster. The poster must explain their problem, provide alternative policies, the student-selected proposed solution, and suggestions for implementation.
  5. Students deliver a presentation to a "public" audience.
  6. Students reflect on their experience.
It is critical that this process is student-led, even if the teacher does not agree with the public policy issue or solutions they choose.

Marcia also introduced us to the They Had a Dream, Too video (available online) and curriculum, inTime Classroom's All But My Life, and two books:
I also recommended the Teaching Tolerance resources and Julia and Dan recommended Holocaust resources available in Las Vegas, Nevada. Marcia said she would share websites of civic education organizations with the group. These are available at: In addition, I recommend my social studies Delicious site.

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