Be the Leaders You Want to See: A Civic Learning Week Webinar with Congressman Dennis Ross

Good afternoon, friends! For Civic Learning Week, we were grateful to be joined by former Florida Congressman, Dennis Ross. Congressman Ross talked with us about civil discourse and student civic engagement. It’s one of my favorite webinars that we have done, and we hope that you enjoy it as well. And thank you Congressman Ross for joining us!

It’s The End of Civic Learning Week!

But civic learning never ends, does it? We all know and recognize that civic learning is a key part of life and the work that we do, and we have shared posts on our twitter accounts (@Loufreyinst and @FL_Citizen) that highlight some interesting research, events, and resources that we saw during the week. We want to make sure too though that we share some excellent support materials from our coalition partners in the CivXNow network!

The CivXNow Coalition, a project of iCivics, is a nonpartisan, ideologically diverse coalition of over 325 organizations who believe in you and this important work you do. In the spirit of Civic Learning Week, the coalition came together to share their  classroom resources (lessons, curricula, and professional development) that embody the best of their work. 

As a proud member of the CivXNow coalition, the Lou Frey Institute/Florida Joint Center for Citizenship is happy to collaborate across the coalition to share these resources with you! We’ve partnered with organizations who, like us, want to champion civic education. Here you’ll find lessons and activities from Earth Force, Inquiring Minds, Emerging America – Reform to Equal Rights,  KQED, the Lincoln Presidential Foundation, the Lou Frey institute, New American History, and Periodic Presidents. 

Save these links, and use them! We are proud of the work our fellow members of the coalition have done, and we look forward to continue collaboration on civic learning throughout the year!

Civics Learning Week Webinar with Congressman Dennis Ross

Good afternoon, friends! We are excited to invite you to join us on March 11th at 5pm for a Civic Learning Week conversation with former Florida Congressman Dennis Ross. Congressman Ross will talk with us about moving from critic to collaborator, the importance of civil discourse, and why we must ensure that the next generation engages in civic life.

You can download the flyer below to learn more information and to share, and you can register here!

Civics in Real Life: Women’s History Month

Good afternoon friends! As we approach Women’s History Month, be sure to check out the many different Civics in Real Life resources and grade level lesson plans we have that cover the impact that many different women have had on our civic life and history! Download the flier below to learn more, or visit Florida Citizen to explore the resources!

Highlighting Some Civics in Real Life Resources for Current Events

So, some folks may be aware that we have been providing mostly weekly resources around civics concepts and current events the past couple of years. This post is an opportunity to highlight some older and some newer CRL’s that you might find useful in thinking about how to touch on current events with your students. Please also keep in mind that you can easily search the database to see if there is a concept or event you are looking for. You can always email us if you want one created and see if it’s on our drawing board!

Presidential Power and Executive Authority

Are executive branches accountable to the rule of law?

What are vetoes and how do they work?

What does the president have the right to keep private?

What is the symbolic and constitutional purpose of the State of the Union address?

What are executive orders and how can they impact us?

Congressional Power and Actions

What is the purpose of impeachment and how does it work?

How do congressional expulsions work and how often do they occur?

What is a “motion to vacate” and what happens after a House speaker is removed?

How does the Speaker election work and who runs it?

What is the role of the committee system in Congress?

Constitutional and Civic Concepts

What is the line between peaceful protest and the threat of sedition?

How does the First Amendment apply during a time of crisis?

What does the U.S. Constitution require in terms of qualifications to hold national office?

What is a caucus and how is it similar to and different from a primary election?

What is actually in the US Constitution?

Let’s take a look at how Florida and other southern states suppressed Black voters even after passage of the 15th Amendment.

Interesting and Important Supreme Court Cases

So we also have something we are calling The Docket Series, which covers both past, pending, and present cases. A couple of examples are below.

What is an application to vacate?

When state legislatures draw congressional districts how do they disentangle race from politics?

What is the ‘shadow docket’, and how does it impact the justice system?

Free Virtual Professional Development for Florida Civics and Government Teachers

If you missed our summer workshops, join us for a condensed version next week! We will have separate sessions for K-5, 6-8, and 9-12! Of course it’s free, and we will go over the new benchmarks, resources, and answer any questions that you may have! Click the links below to sign up, and PLEASE SHARE!

Elementary Sign Up

Middle School Sign Up

High School Sign Up

Florida Civics Summit With SPHERE and Jack Miller Center a Success!

Good afternoon friends! Just wanted to share some pictures and info from this past weekend’s Civics Summit, a collaboration between SPHERE, the Jack Miller Center, and the Lou Frey Institute.

The agenda was content rich and focused on the four competencies of the Florida Civic Literacy Examination. You can check out the agenda below!

We had more than 50 participants from across the state of Florida, who had the opportunity to talk with renowed professors and educators sponsored by SPHERE, the Jack Miller Center, and the Lou Frey Institute. And thanks too to LFI staff members and curriculum developers Kimberly Garton and Elizabeth Wood for helping support the effort and FJCC Associate Director Chris Spinale for being the lead LFI contact!

This included Dr. Scott Waring of UCF, who gave the Friday evening keynote address and signed his excellent book, Integrating Primary and Secondary Sources into Teaching. He went over his SOURCES framework (and be sure to sign up for the free SOURCES conference), and teachers greately enjoyed the activity and discussion.

The morning keynote on Saturday focused on Founding Principles, and was led by Dr. Alberto Coll of DePaul College of Law.

Additional sessions across the remaining three competencies were led by Dr. Lee Trepanier of Samford University; Tom Kelly, J.D., of Jack Miller Center; Allan Carey of SPHERE; Dr. Danton Kostandarithes of JMC; Dr. Steve Masyada of the Lou Frey Institute; and Joshua Katz, J.D. of the Cato Institute’s Levy Center for Constitutional Studies. Following each pair of competencies, participants had the opportunity to collaborate and discuss challenges, strategies, and implementation for each of the competencies.

The day finished up with provider sessions, where SPHERE, the Jack Miller Center, and LFI had the opportunity to discuss their resources and supports.

It was an excellent couple of days, all told. If you are interested in more information on what these organizations have to offer, feel free to contact our friends at JMC, SPHERE, and of course here at LFI.

Upcoming Florida Civics Summit!!!!

On September 8th and 9th, the Lou Frey Institute will be hosting our friends from SPHERE and the Jack Miller Center for a summit relating to civic education, with a particular emphasis on the 4 competencies of the Florida Civic Literacy Examination.

The Jack Miller Center, Lou Frey Institute, and Sphere Education Initiatives will feature constitutional and pedagogy scholars who will discuss the core content of the competencies and methods of addressing it with students.
This two day program is for social studies supervisors and one of their teachers. The program will be held at the University of Central Florida’s College of Community Innovation and Education’s Morgridge Reading Center and Teaching Academy.
Invitees will receive free books and materials, as well as a $200.00 stipend. The program will begin at 5:00pm, Friday, September 8, with a reception and sit
down dinner, followed by a keynote address by:

Saturday, September 9, will be in the Teaching Academy from 7:15am-4:30pm, and feature the scholars and speakers as they engage the audience through panels and small group discussions. Breakfast and
lunch will be provided. Registration is limited to the first 100 participants, and registration is open until filled.


To register, click here!

NEW Florida Citizen Resources for 2023 Civics and Government Benchmarks

Good afternoon, friends! It has been awhile, for sure. Today’s post is to update you on resources for Florida’s new civics and government benchmarks. Good news! We have started the process of uploading all the 7th grade middle school civics lessons to Florida Citizen and expect that most if not all will be up by mid-week next week. As a reminder, you do need to register for Florida Citizen to access the lesson plans! Please email me if you have issues with registration or logging in.

Once you log in, click on ‘Resources’, then select ‘School Resources’.

Once on that page, scroll down.

You will see three relevant lesson plan links. ‘2023-2024 Grade 7 Benchmark Resources’ will take you to the newest lesson plans. ‘2023-2024 Grade 6 and 8 Benchmark Resources’ will take you to lessons for the civics and government benchmarks in middle school US history and world history. (PRE-2023) will obviously take you to what we have done previously.

Click on the ‘Grade 7 Benchmark Resources’ link. Below is what you will see. The first important link is to the new benchmarks and their clarifications. IF the Test Item Specifications are released, we will add them as well. Keep scrolling down.

You will notice a list of the new benchmarks. Click on the one you want. Please note that right now, lessons plans for every benchmark between SS.7.CG.1.1 through SS.7.CG.3.14, and then 4.1 and 4.2, are up, though that could change by the time you read this!

When you click on the one you want, you should see the following.

This is obviously far less than what we have on our old pages. Please note that we will be adding additional materials as we can. We are currently revising practice items and have new Dr. Fine related teacher content materials as well.

You have three options for these materials. As always, we have them in Word (so you can edit and modify!), PDF, and the new option of GoogleDocs. Let’s assume that you want the word version. Click on it. It will download a zip file.

Unzip the file, and you will see ALL lesson materials for that benchmark.

The procedure is the same for middle school US history and world history materials. Please note at this time ONLY THE WORLD HISTORY LESSONS ARE AVAILABLE!!!

For the K-5 Benchmarks, lesson plans for every civics and government benchmark through Grade 4, and Grade 5 2.1 through 2.6 are now available.

Please also be aware that we have not yet updated Civics360, though current materials on that site should be adaptable or useable until we can. We are targeting a mid-October relaunch, and REGISTRATION IS NO LONGER REQUIRED.