Announcing a New Free Online Course Series from FJCC for New and Beginning Civics Teachers!

Friends in Civics, we have some exciting news. The Florida Joint Center for Citizenship at the Lou Frey Institute is now offering a free online Canvas course targeting primarily new and beginning civics teachers, though it is open to any and all civics educators who are interested.

This program will provide educators new to civics with a supported professional
learning experience while teaching middle school civics. They will learn,
implement and reflect on educational best practices, engage with a cohort of
other educators and network with experienced civic education professionals.

For those teachers in Florida seeking points towards certificate renewal, this course series offers that opportunity through the ePDC (electronic Professional Development Connections) system. In the infographic below, you can see the scope and sequence of the course series.

Canvas Course JPG

Beginning in February, we will be launching the first course in the series, A Prepared Classroom. This course was piloted in early fall of 2017, and it was a successful first effort, so we are eager to share it with other teachers!

A Prepared Classroom will focus on understanding the role of course descriptions and the Civics End-of-Course Test Item Specifications, utilizing curriculum and pacing guide resources, strategically planning and preparing for instruction, as well as providing data informed instruction based on formative and summative data. You can view the syllabus for the first course here: FJCC A Prepared Classroom Syllabus (Feb 2018)

Are you more interested in the second, third , or later courses because you feel pretty good about the content in the first one? That is fine! You DO NOT have to take every course; Florida teachers may earn renewal points for EACH course in the series. We will be piloting the second course, A Cognitively Complex Classroom, in early 2018 with a small group of teachers, and will let you know when we launch it after what we hope will be a successful pilot!

Each course in the series will be offered through the free version of the Canvas platform. Canvas Free for Teacher accounts are always free, but they do not contain all features available to institutional users of Canvas. For example, no client support beyond access to the Canvas Guides is offered to you as a Free for Teachers user. With a Canvas Free for Teachers account users can access and participate in courses as well as create (and host) their own online courses. Please note that you WILL have to create a new account to use this version of the platform; it is not compatible with the institutional version you may use in your school or district. You can learn more about this version of the platform here.

In order to enroll in the course, you will need to be sure that you register through the ePDC system. Let’s walk through the process together. First, go to the PAEC website at

Once there, click on ePDC and if this is your first time, click on ePDC and then ‘Create an Account.’ Once you confirm your account registration, sign in and then click again on ePDC and select ‘Course Offerings’. You should see a screen like this:


Click on ‘Course Offerings’, and you will see something like this:


In the ‘Search Text’ bar, you can type ‘FJCC’, and the course should appear!


Click on ‘Register’ and you should be in. The ePDC course is setup to automatically direct the person that registers for the course to the Canvas Course page.  You will have to create an account if you do not already have one but the link to the February course is embedded in the ePDC PAEC course.

You can expect a follow up email or two from your course instructor in late December and in January, prior to the start of the course. At this time, registration is limited to the first 25 participants, but it may be possible to make exceptions!

How are in-service points handled?
PAEC extracts in-service records from the ePDC and submits in-service data for member and participating districts to the Florida Department of Education as a service to districts. Teachers from outside of PAEC member or participating districts should print the Certificate of Completion for each course and submit the certificate to the appropriate district professional development office.

We do hope to see you in this online space for learning and the development of a virtual professional learning community. Please share this with anyone you believe might benefit from this course series! 

Questions about this entire course series, or the first course in the series (‘A Prepared Classroom‘), can be directed to Dr. Steve Masyada or Ms. Peggy Renihan.

Civics360: A New Resource for Civic Education

Good morning, friends in Civics. Over the past few years, teachers here in Florida and elsewhere in the United States have made heavy use of the Escambia Civics Review Site. We do believe that the partnership with Escambia County and the willingness of that district to host and share resources for teaching and learning has been beneficial for everyone. Over time, however, requests have been made and ideas contemplated about improvements that could be made to make that site even better. These requests and ideas include more student friendly videos, more helpful assessment tools, and resources for ESOL students and struggling readers. With that in mind, the Florida Joint Center for Citizenship, in partnership with Escambia County Schools,  is excited to announce the launching of a new Civics review site that will, later this summer, replace the currect Escambia Civics Review Site: Civics360. Civics360 is free to all registered users, much like our current Florida Citizen website. This site is now live and available for your use.

civics360 cover

So what are the new features you will find in Civics360? Take a look at the orientation video below, which walks you through the registration process, and read the rest of the post to learn about what we hope will be a useful resource for you and your students.

  • Multiple Student Friendly Readings for each assessed benchmark, available in English, Spanish, and Haitian Creole


  • English language reading guides for each Student Friendly Reading, developed with all levels of readers in mind

reading guide

  • Vocabulary Practice Worksheets that use Concept Circles to assist students with understanding key words from the benchmark

concept circles

  • A Quizlet tool for vocabulary practice and remediation


  • Continually adding more new narrated student-oriented videos for each benchmark; please note that not every module currently has videos.


  • Video Viewing Guides for each new video to facilitate engagement

video guide

  • Online quiz practice within each module that reflect best practice in learning and assessment tools that facilitate engagement and retention. We have added clearer explanations and suggestions for reflection for every distractor in each question.


  • Additional civic resources to facilitate learning and review


  • Organized into 9 Civics Focus Areas that reflect district pacing guides

topic areas

The new site also includes a 60 question practice assessment that reflects the actual EOC in structure and format. We also in the process of developing a version of that practice assessment that breaks the test into the 4 Reporting Categories so that teachers, and students, can use the assessment and their time more effectively.

practiceassessment sample

Be sure to check out the overview video, and if you have questions, comments, problems, or suggestions about Civics360 or the FJCC, please feel free to email me

FJCC Webinar 2: Review, Remediation, and Reteaching for the Civics EOCA Now Available

Good morning, friends. Our recent webinar is now available! It discussed some resources and tools that you can use for reteaching, remediation, and review. You can view it below.

All resources and tools discussed in the webinar are available at Our next webinar will occur in June, and address understanding the the data you receive about the Civics EOCA.

FJCC New Civics Teacher Webinar: What to Expect When You Are Expecting the Civics EOCA now available!

Good morning, friends of FJCC and civics. Our recent webinar, What to Expect When You are Expecting the Civics EOCA, is now available. In it, you will find an overview and discussion of Florida’s Civics EOCA, hosted by our own Peggy Renihan. Materials and resources relevant to the webinar are available here. 

You can access the annotated PowerPoint PDF below. The transcription is available on each slide as notes.
Annotated What to Expect When you are Expecting the EOCA

Should you have issues, please contact me.  Our next webinar will occur on March 29th, 2017 at 4:30 EST. It will cover review and remediation for the Civics EOCA. Registration will be open soon!


New Assessment Items for Florida Civics Teachers!


The Florida Joint Center for Citizenship is pleased to announce that we have completed another round of item development and review! Thanks to our own Dr. Terri Fine for her hard work on getting these done, and our Mike Barnhardt for getting them up on the main site. You can find these new items on our main site at Florida Citizen. Simply hover over the ‘Resources’ link, visit the 7th Grade Applied Civics page, and scroll down to the benchmark you want to play with! Once there, scroll to ‘Civics Assessment Items’ and you will see the new ones! Note that we have a new format for upload. To make it easier for you, we have identified the type of stimulus or content, the complexity, and the benchmark clarification. A list of all new items is below. If you have questions, please feel free to email me!

Standard 1 Items
1-1_BC3_L Montesquieu Government Characteristics
1-2_BC1_H Bhutan English Bill of Rights Quote
1-3_BC2_L Declaration of Independence Colonists
1-3_BC2_H Taxation Modern Political System Quote
1-4_BC2_L Prince Tyrant Quote
1-4_BC2_H Prince Tyrant Modern System Quote
1-4_BC2_M Locke Declaration of Independence Quote
1-5_BC1_L Articles of Confederation Structure
1-5_BC1_H Constitutional Amendment Quote
1-6_BC1_M Including Preamble Constitution Quote
1-6_BC1_H Government and the People Quote
1-6_BC1_L Constitutional Goals and Purposes
1-7_BC1_BC4_H Federalist 51 and Constitutional Government Quote
1-7_ BC4_M Checks and Balances Scenario
1-7_BC2_L Describe Checks and Balances
1-8_BC3_M Anti-Federalist Paper Brutus Quote
1-8_BC1_L Documents about Proposed Bill of Rights
1-8_BC1_H Federalist 47 and Supreme Court Quote
1-9_BC1_L Political System Characteristics
1-9_BC2_BC 3_M Nixon Constitution Quote

Standard 2 Items
2-1_BC3_H Employment Long Term Impact Graph
2-2_BC 1_L Citizen Obligation Scenario
2-2 BC2 M_Civic Responsibility Common Good
2-2 BC2_M Pay Taxes
2-2_BC2_M Ballot Box Image
2-2_BC3_L_Citizens State Government
2-2_BC3_L_Citizens Local Government
2-2_BC3_L_Citizens Federal Government
2-2_BC3_M Armed Forces Image
2-2_BC4_H Running for President Headline
2-2_BC_6 Jury Duty
2-2_BC7_M Selective Service Image
2-4_BC4_M Rights of Accused Scenario
2-5_BC2_M Socialist Party Constitutional Principle Quote
2-5_BC2_BC3_H Socialist Party Supreme Court Decision Scenario
2-8_BC1_L Party Platform Individual Rights Quote
2-9_BC2_M Florida Two Term Governor
2-10_BC1 BC4_H Lobbyists Cartoon
2-10_BC3_BC4_H Lobbyists Impact on Government Quote
2-11_BC1_H Presidential Candidate Issue Support Image
2-11_BC1_L Symbols
2-12_BC1_L_SP2 Trash Collection
2-12_BC1_L_SP1 Trash Collection Level of Government
2-12_BC1_M Relationships Between Counties Scenario
2-12_BC2_M State Agency Student Testing Scenario
2-13_BC 1_M Public Perspectives Immigration
2-13_BC1_M Perspectives on Minimum Wage
2-13_BC3_H Immigration Graphic

Standard 3 Items

3-1_BC3_H Corrupt National Leaders Scenario
3-2_BC4_H1 Parliamentary Elections Headline
3-2_BC4_H2 President and Congress Quote
3-3_BC2 President and Supreme Court Quote
3-3_BC3_M House of Representatives Quote
3-4_BC4_H Constitutional Relationships Map
3-5_BC4_H Proposed Constitutional Amendment Headline
3-5_BC4_M Constitutional Amendment Process
3-6_BC1_M Civil Rights Movement
3-6_BC3_L Violation of Constitution Scenario
3-7_BC2_BC3_M 26th Amendment
3-7_BC3_H Poll Tax Image
3-7_ BC3_ M Political Participation Graph
3-7_BC3_L Ratification of Voting Rights Amendments
3-7_BC3_M Amendments Right to Vote
3-8_H Cabinet Nominations Headline
3-11_BC1_L Court Jurisdiction
3-11_BC1_H US Supreme Court Citizen Rights Quote
3-12_BC 1_M Gideon v Wainwright Quotes
3-12_BC 1_M DC v Heller Quotes
3-12_BC3_L United States v Nixon
3-12_BC 1_M Bush v Gore Quotes
3-12_BC 1_M Tinker v Des Moines Quotes
3-13_BC1_L US Constitution-Rights
3-13_BC4_H Federal Constitution Powers Quote
3-13_BC4_M State-Federal Relationship Quote
3-14_BC1_L Government Services
3-14_BC2_H Government Services Quote

Standard 4 Items
4-1_BC1_L Domestic Policy Action
4-1_BC3_H Domestic Foreign Cartoon
4-1_BC4_M Secretary of State Quote
4-1_BC4_H US Domestic and Foreign Affairs Quote
4-1_BC 4_M Employment Cartoon
4-1_BC5_L Secretary of State
4-2_BC2_M1 UN Headquarters Quote
4-2_BC2_M2 International Organization Headquarters Scenario
4-3_BC1_L US Declare War on Japan
4-3_BC1_H President-Congress Relationship Quote

Even MORE Upcoming FCSS Sessions!

So this weekend is the start of the Florida Council for the Social Studies Annual Conference. Have you registered yet? Are you coming? We hope you are coming, because we have some awesome sessions lined up. You can learn more about the keynote speaker here, and you can go here and here to get get an overview of some of the sessions we have planned. So with that out of the way, let’s take another look at some of the quality sessions we have lined up for you this weekend.

Saturday Morning, Concurrent Session 1

Factors Relating to U.S. History End of Course Exam for African American Students Irenea Walker, University of Central Florida

If social studies teachers properly alter their pedagogical approaches, African American students can learn to appreciate learning about historical facts. This paper focuses upon creative lessons that focus on interactive activities to peak interest.


Engaging the 21st Century Learner Amanda Mudlock and Rich Sayers, Pearson

Build academic skills for 21st century students through inquiry-based learning by facilitating easy projects, civic discussions, and document-based questions. Teach students to take ownership of their ideas, work together, and communicate clearly. 


Curating Your Collection: Promoting Content Area Literacy by Giving Student Tools
to Explore Social Studies Texts  Heather Cerra, Northwest Elementary School, Hillsborough County Public Schools

How can teachers spark student interest in informational and historical fiction texts related to social studies content? Using a unique framework, teachers can build student engagement and realize student growth in the areas of vocabulary and comprehension. (Elementary Session!)


Saturday Afternoon, Concurrent Session 2

The Great Travel Fair: A Cross-Curricular Unit of Study Amy Trujillo, Orange / Orlando Science Elementary School

Now in it’s fourth year, The Great Travel Fair combines ELA, Science, Social Studies, and Math in order for students to understand the regions of the United States through a balance of 21st century skills. 

Public History, Memory, and Survival: Producing History Through Student
Centered Technology  Joshua Stern, St. Johns Country Day School

Attendees will learn how to use iMovie to allow students to bring stories of Holocaust survival to life. Students become active public historians and create meaningful results by preserving and transmitting these vital personal histories.


Saturday Afternoon, Concurrent Session 3

St. Augustine Civil Rights Movement: Seamless Integration into your Classroom Blake Pridgen & Benjamin Rome, Flagler College

Utilizing the primary sources in Flagler College’s Civil Rights Library of St. Augustine (CRLSA:, teachers will learn to effectively teach Florida’s involvement in the civil rights movement, grades 4-12.


Sunday Morning, Concurrent Session 7

The State of the Assessment: Civics End-of-Course Assessment Stacy Skinner, Ed. D., Social Studies Coordinator, Test Development Center; Elise Beachy, Annette Boyd Pitts, Robert Brazofsky, Maureen Carter, Erin Conklin, Christy Disinger, George Masek, Stephen Masyada, Ph.D., Peggy Renihan, Chris Spinale, Jackie Viana

This annual conference message about the middle school Civics EOCA will provide an overview of implementation, a review of student performance data, and a discussion about test development with Florida educators involved in the process. (Note: A similiar session around the US History EOCA will be offered earlier in the morning.)

Demographic Breakdown

Achievement Level by Demographic Background

Context and Comparison: At the heart of AP World History Robert Strayer and Patrick Whelan, Bedford, Freeman & Worth Publishers

This session provides resources—both content and pedagogical—for effectively teaching contextualization and its companion skill of comparison. It addresses the much increased role of contextual thinking in the new exam format. 



This has been just taste of the possibilities. Please be sure to check out additional session descriptions at 2016-fcss-session-descriptions, and earlier posts on what is shaping up to be a great conference session here, here, here, and here on why you should attend! Hey, it will be worth it for the trick or treating alone!

You can register for FCSS online. It’s a great and affordable conference, and a chance to meet folks you can work with and learn from. Hope to see you here in Orlando. The hashtag for the conference, by the way, will be #FLCSS16. Join us!

The FJCC Is Looking For Script Writers!

So, as you may or may not know, our popular Escambia Civics Review site is going to be undergoing a significant transformation over the next few months as we develop new and more effective resources for both review and instruction. One of these resources will be a set of brand new student friendly videos, one for each of the assessed benchmarks, that are between 5 and 7 minutes long. They will draw on our Student Friendly Readings as a foundation, and include reflection questions throughout the video.

So, here is the thing. We do not have the ability to knock out 35 scripts in two weeks. So we need your help. If you are a current or past quality civics teacher here in Florida, we would love to hire you to write some scripts for us. We are looking for a small group of high quality teachers for this, perhaps ten or so. You would earn 100 dollars per script, and the turn around time for each would be no longer than 3 or 4 days, at most. You will be assigned benchmarks to write for following a brief and required webinar around the process, and we would of course recognize your contribution at the end of the video. We are really looking for some good, student friendly, engaging scripts that can cover the content well while also making viewing enjoyable.

If this is something that interests you, please shoot me an email and let me know of your interest! Please include your name (obviously), your district and school, and how long you have been or taught civics in Florida. We hope to hear from you soon!

UPDATE: If you have experience with Powtoon, we are also looking for video developers!

First Annual Florida Civics Teacher Survey

In our efforts to improve our work and help teachers in their efforts to build the next generation of citizens, the Florida Joint Center for Citizenship is looking for feedback from teachers. To facilitate this, we have created a survey, which should take about 15 minutes.

The survey asks teachers about Classroom Climate, Coverage of Instructional Benchmarks, School Climate, Professional Development, Classroom Instructional Practices & Resources Used, Availability & Use of Classroom technology, Demographics & Background

Ultimately, we are seeking to understand how you, the great civics teacher that you are, approach classroom instruction and work with your future citizens. Completing this survey will be a huge help for us, and we are grateful for your assistance and support. You can complete the survey here. Thank you in advance for your collaboration and cooperation!

Florida: Alternative Civics and US History EOC Assessments

Today’s post comes to us from the new Florida DOE Social Studies specialist, Mike DiPierro, by way of our own Peggy Renihan. Thank you, Peggy, for sharing this. 

Please consider participating in an opportunity to collaborate with the exceptional student education community. The task pertains to students taking ALTERNATIVE assessments for civics or U.S. history because they are on access points, regardless of their classroom placement. Therefore the standard civics or U.S. history end-of-course assessment does not apply to those students.

In order to build a more valid and reliable assessment tool for these students, the Florida Department of Education is looking for active teachers in these subjects, civics and U.S. history, to volunteer to participate.

The Bureau of K-12 Assessment is looking to add social studies teachers (middle school and high school) to the following meetings: June 14-15th and June 27-30th. For teachers not on contract, a stipend is paid to them as well as reimbursement for travel. Both trainings will take place in Orlando. Interested parties should reply to no later than May 13, 2016.

Access Points

FJCC Has New Assessment Items for Florida Civics Teachers

One of our ongoing projects here in Florida is to meet the demand of our stakeholders for assessment items that are aligned to the Florida 7th grade Civics benchmarks. In pursuit of this, we have spent a great deal of time creating new items of varying complexity levels in order to fill holes in the Escambia and FJCC teacher item (free registration required) banks. Well, we finally have finished the first round of item development, and we have just posted 65 new items spread across the 35 assessed benchmarks.

new items

Please note that while we would like the organization to look prettier, we wanted to at least get them up for you quickly. You will find just the item itself to use as an assessment tool:
item 1.1 no ans

As well as the rationales for correct and incorrect answers for further discussion between you and your students:

1.1 rationale

We will continue to develop new items and refine old ones. We hope you find these useful, and thank you to Dr. Terri Fine  for the work she and her folks did in getting these items completed. To access the items, please visit our 7th grade resources page. Registration IS required, but all of our materials are always 100% free!

The 65 new items are spread across the benchmarks and are low, moderate and high complexity items. Not all benchmarks have new items, and some benchmarks may only have one new item, depending on what was needed between the main FJCC site and the Escambia Civics review site. The new item breakdown is below, with item cognitive complexity in parenthesis.

Reporting Category One
1.1 (L,H)
1.2 (H)
1.3 (L,H)
1.4 (L,M,H)
1.5 (L,H)
1.6 (L,M,H)
1.7 (L,H)
1.8 (L,M,H)
1.9 (L)
3.10 (L,H)

Reporting Category Two
2.1 (H)
2.2 (3 L, H)
2.5 (M, H)
3.6 (L,M)
3.7 (L, 2M)

Reporting Category Three
2.8 (L)
2.9 (M)
2.10 (H)
2.11 (L, H)
2.12 (2L, 2M)
2.13 (M)
4.1 (L,H)
4.2 (2M, H)
4.3 (L,H)

Reporting Category Four
3.1 (H)
3.2 (2H)
3.3 (H)
3.4 (H)
3.5 (M,H)
3.8 (H)
3.11 (L,H)
3.13 (L,M,H)
3.14 (L,H)