Author: Brian

General

What Is Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) and How Does It Relate to Civics?

A student is speaking into a microphone sharing her research, while two other students stand in the background waiting for their turn to speak.

Youth Participatory Action Research is a way to engage students in investigating an issue of concern that they see in their community. Once they’ve done their research, the students then work on a plan to tackle that issue and make their community better. I first encountered Youth Participatory Action Research – or YPAR – when […]

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General

Test Don’t Teach: This Is Not How You Fix Civics Education

Hand taking a standardized test.

Legislators take note – tests are not the right answer. They’re an easy answer. They’re a simple answer. But they don’t make education better, and they’re not the way to make civics education better. While searching for some civics related info earlier tonight, I stumbled upon this gem: Civics Education Initiative. It’s an innocuous sounding […]

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General

National Voter Registration Day: Do Your Part to Increase Participation This Year

Two pairs of hands, with the one on the left filling out a voter registration form.

Did you know that New Jersey law requires that schools help students register to vote? Well, not exactly. To be more specific, New Jersey Administrative Code 6A:32-14.1 does state … District boards of education […] shall provide to each eligible high school student prior to the school year’s graduation date a voter registration form, a […]

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General

The Civic Pledge: Moving Beyond Politics, Civics Is Also Character Education

A forum with candidates for NJ Governor and the Citizens Campaign.

The Citizens Campaign is a non-profit that empowers citizens to be civic leaders in their community. One part of their programming is the civic trust – a group of community members who regularly meet to discuss issues facing their community and craft solutions to present to the appropriate stakeholders. Prior to joining the civic trust, […]

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Workshops

Learn to Use C-SPAN in the Classroom at NJEA’s Early Career Educator Conference

Rep. John Lewis giving a floor speech on the House floor with other Representatives standing behind him.

Due to circumstances beyond my control, the NJEA Early Career Educator Conference has been canceled. Therefore, my session on C-SPAN has also unfortunately been canceled. However, I am presenting a similar session at the NJEA Convention in Atlantic City on Friday, November 10 at 1pm in Room 320. Information about the convention, including hotel accomodations […]

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Methods

Use Themes and Essential Questions to Make Social Studies More Civics Oriented

Pile of old books with one in focus and the rest blurred.

Part of the reason we’re so bad at teaching civics is curriculum – and for two reasons. When it comes to social studies, we try to teach way too much history and we almost always insist on organizing it chronologically. The two problems are self-reinforcing. When you orient the entire curriculum around time periods, you […]

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