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 PAEC.org.
PAEC 1

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:

EPDC2

Click on ‘Course Offerings’, and you will see something like this:
PAEC3

 

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

FJCC PAEC EPDC

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.


An Important Update on FJCC’s Civics360 Resource

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The benchmark pages on the Escambia Civics Review Site will be redirected to Civics360.  This changeover will occur around the Thanksgiving break. This will impact your favorites and bookmarks if you have saved Escambia Civics Review Site benchmark pages in your browser. 

Good afternoon, friends. As you are likely aware, the Florida Joint Center for Citizenship at the Lou Frey Institute launched Civics360 around summer of this year. Civics360 is intended to build on the resources that were provided by the Escambia County Civics Review site, and the response has been tremendous. More than 35,000 student accounts, and thousands of teacher accounts, have been made in Florida and beyond, and we continue to add resources. The following topic areas have been completed in their entirety, meaning that all video, reading, and vocabulary tools are done:

  • Citizen You
  • Florida State and Local Government
  • The Legal System
  • The US and the World

Other topic areas are partially complete, and we have about 13 benchmarks left to complete (for example, I am working on the video(s) for Benchmark SS.7.C.3.3 now!). We have also started compiling the scripts for hard of hearing students and are uploading them as we finish them. Once that all is complete, we will go back and tweak and modify and improve the resources we have. Thank you for all of your input and feedback on Civics360, and remember that you can direct questions to Dr. Steve Masyada, FJCC director.

It is also important that everyone is aware that the benchmark pages on the Escambia Civics Review Site will be redirected to Civics360.  This changeover will occur around the Thanksgiving break. This will impact your favorites and bookmarks if you have saved Escambia Civics Review Site benchmark pages in your browser. 

If you have not yet done so, I encourage you to make sure you register yourself, and have your students register, at Civics360. It is always free and it is easy. 

Thank you for your help and support for the Florida Joint Center for Citizenship! 


American Founders’ Month in Florida: John Adams

Sept 12 J Adams

John Adams remains one of the most fascinating of the Founders. A passionate patriot and one of the earliest supporters of American independence from Great Britain, he nevertheless felt it important to provide legal defense to those British soldiers accused of crimes as a result of the Boston Massacre.

“The Part I took in Defence of Cptn. Preston and the Soldiers, procured me Anxiety, and Obloquy enough. It was, however, one of the most gallant, generous, manly and disinterested Actions of my whole Life, and one of the best Pieces of Service I ever rendered my Country. Judgment of Death against those Soldiers would have been as foul a Stain upon this Country as the Executions of the Quakers or Witches, anciently. As the Evidence was, the Verdict of the Jury was exactly right.” 

His rivalry with his colleague and once-and-future-friend Thomas Jefferson is also a fascinating aspect of the ‘strange bedfellows’ relationships that were necessary in the pursuit of America independence.

Check out the National Humanities Center’s activity on Adams and leadership here to get a sense of who this Founder was and how he influenced our nation.

Grab the PowerPoint slide featured in this post: John Adams AFM

And if you are so inclined, check out this humorous but realistic and passionate take on the patriot John Adams, from 1776.

 

Additional entries in the American Founders’ Month series:
Introduction to the Founding Fathers
Who Was George Washington?
Abigail Adams: Founding Mother and so much more
James Madison: Father of the Constitution


Take the #CivXNow Pledge!

CivX
Next week, the Lou Frey Institute, in collaboration with our friends at iCivics, the Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools, and the Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts, is excited to host the upcoming ‘Democracy at a Crossroads’ Civic Education Summit in Washington, DC. With generous support from the Carnegie Corporation, the Hewlett Foundation, and the McCormick Foundation, civic education leaders from across the country will get together with influential individuals in politics, government, business, and society to discuss why civics matters, and why it demands attention.

What is really exciting is that the success that Florida has had in civic education, thanks to the work of its teachers and growing out of the Sandra Day O’Connor Civic Education Act, will be highlighted on center stage!

If you are so inclined, consider taking the pledge to help our young people learn the civic skills and develop the civic dispositions so necessary in this 21st century America!


A New School Year with FJCC

Well, it is another school year, and we here at the Florida Joint Center for Citizenship at the Lou Frey Institute wish teachers everywhere a great start to the year. In this post, you will find a compilation of the resources that we have to offer as you start the new year. If you have any questions about these resources, please feel free to shoot me an email! 

Civics360

Civics360 is our newest resource, and we continue to add to it. Some of you may be familiar with the Escambia Civics Review Site; Civics360 replaces that site. So what does Civics360 bring to the table?

Student Friendly Readings in English, Spanish, and Haitian Creole and Reading Guides in English
We now have the Student Friendly Readings in three languages, and a reading guide in English that can help students with their understanding, crafted with the help of literacy experts from UCF. 
readings

New Student Friendly Videos
We have a collection of new videos, ranging between 5 and 10 minutes long or so, that break down the content into easy to understand visuals and text. We have also included video guides to aid in understanding. Please note that currently half of the benchmarks have videos; we are working hard to complete the remaining benchmarks!

videos1

Additional New Features
Additional new features include new vocabulary tools, digital quizzes, a brand new practice assessment that provides you with student reports, and more.

Civics360 does require registration, but it is 100% free. Be sure to check it out!

Florida Citizen

Our main website at Florida Citizen has a number of resources that you could find useful. Of course we have our traditional lesson plans for the middle school civics course. These lesson plans are all aligned to the benchmarks and benchmark clarifications, and include content elaboration for the teacher, relevant vocabulary, and a step by step walk through of instruction.
We also have Students Investigating Primary Sources. This series of lessons for grades 2-12, developed in collaboration with the National Archives, provide students an opportunity to ‘play’ with primary sources around relevant topics aligned with Florida history, civics, and government benchmarks. You can learn more about the SIPS lessons here. 

sips page 2

We have not forgotten elementary teachers. Our Civics in a Snap lessons cover each of the K-5 elementary benchmarks, and take 15-20 minutes to work through. They are also aligned with relevant LAFS benchmarks. You can learn more about the Civics in a Snap lessons here. 

3.c.2.1

We have a number of additional resources available on Florida Citizen, including the first three parts of our ongoing webinar series. Be sure to visit Florida Citizen and register for access to the free resources today!

Questions about any of our websites or resources can be directed to Dr. Steve Masyada at FJCC! Hope to hear from you soon!


A New Approach for FJCC

challenge

As folks are likely aware at this point, funding for the Lou Frey Institute was vetoed by Governor Scott. The work of the Florida Joint Center for Citizenship falls under the umbrella of LFI, so obviously the loss of funding is, for us, significant. While we continue to work on grants and other opportunities to raise funds (and still seeking some sort of university or legislative solution), this sudden turn of events means some changes in our work.

To be clear, the Florida Joint Center for Citizenship at the Lou Frey Institute will continue to support teachers, schools, and districts to the best of our ability. Our curricular resources will not go away; indeed, we continue to refine and improve and expand what we have. The Florida Citizen website will be getting new materials later this year around action civics, high school government, and, perhaps, Florida’s new legislatively mandated Founders Month. Development and improvement on Civics360 continues; we have just added four new videos around benchmark 4.3 for example. We are working on an update to the Florida’s Civic Health website as well.

As needed and as possible, we will strive to meet face to face PD requests; however, we may not longer be able to respond in the affirmative to all requests, thanks to a vastly reduced travel budget. HOWEVER, we do have some exciting news that has arisen out of that unfortunate circumstance. The Florida Joint Center for Citizenship at the Lou Frey Institute is beginning the transition towards becoming an online professional development provider!

Currently, we are collaborating internally on developing a Canvas-based set of interactive modules (we hesitate to call it a course) targeting new teachers and what they need to know for teaching civics. We will be piloting this effort with a small number of districts for now; lessons learned from this will guide the next iteration and allow us to open it up to more folks. We also plan on offering additional data, content, and pedagogy oriented modules as we move forward. We have also just completed a new online narrated support PowerPoint around interpreting data that we will be posting for you within the next week!

We are incredibly excited by this new direction. Sometimes, what seems like disaster can simply be turned into a challenge. And that is true in this case. We have had to ask the question about how we can do more with even less, and we have high hopes and expectations that offering support online, with the same excellent staff you are used to, is a way to overcome that challenge. This Canvas-based approach will always involve the opportunity for questions, collaboration, and communication with the FJCC team.

Again, we will continue to support you to the best of our ability. The Florida Joint Center for Citizenship at the Lou Frey Institute is not going anywhere in the short term. We are simply going to follow a new path in supporting the work that wonderful teachers do in civic education.

We are always open to questions or suggestions, so please feel free to contact us at any time! 


Civics in Florida: Two Good Articles

Recently, two retired and significant political leaders here in Florida addressed the issues facing civic education in the state. Don Gaetz, former Florida Senate President, writes on why civic education matters:

Recently I had coffee with an impressive high school junior and her mother. The young lady doesn’t share my politics but she spilled over with excitement to attend American Legion Girls State, a practical experience in how government works. She couldn’t wait to dive into mock legislating and she already knew the issues cold. She’s not looking for a career in politics but she wants to know how to make things better. Florida needs a few million like her.

Our young people need to be able to develop the civic knowledge, skills, and dispositions of citizenship. The focus is not molding little Democrats or little Republicans, little conservatives or little liberals. It is on, as Mr. Gaetz says, helping kids learn ‘how to make things better.’

On those same lines, legendary former Florida governor and Senator Bob Graham penned a piece advocating that Florida continue its positive work around civic education.

In 2014, the first year of testing, 61 percent of Florida students enrolled in seventh-grade civics scored at or above a level of proficiency. This compared favorably to the National Assessment of Educational Progress results, also known as the nation’s report card, in which only 23 percent of American eighth-grade students were deemed to be proficient in civics. NAEP is the most comparable assessment available; 2014 was the last year the exam was given. And things were even better in 2017 when 69 percent of Florida seventh-graders tested proficient or better. Students whose teachers used Joint Center instructional materials scored almost 25 percent higher than other students.

Senator Graham argues that civic education support is worth funding, and while the focus is on the Florida Joint Center for Citizenship at the Lou Frey Institute, ultimately, Florida is a model for civic education, and to keep moving forward, we must pay attention and serve as advocates. And isn’t that the whole point of civic education? Advocate for our selves as citizens, as members of our communities, and as residents of this great and this great nation.

Please do consider reading the two articles from Gaetz and Graham, and if you are interested in supporting the work of the Lou Frey Institute and FJCC in Florida, please consider a donation or even just writing a letter. And thank you for being passionate and engaged members of the civic community!


The Florida Joint Center for Citizenship Needs Your Help!

Please Donate Now If You Can Help!

vetoed
The Governor recently vetoed all funding for the Lou Frey Institute, the parent organization for the Florida Joint Center for Citizenship, Civics360 and the Partnership for Civic Learning.

Did you Know?

  • Teachers that use FJCC curriculum resources have seen an increase in assessment scores by 25%.
  • Last year, FJCC staff delivered face-to-face professional development to over 1,000 civics teachers.
  • Since August 2016, FJCC staff supported over 5,000 teacher accounts and over 94,000 hours of online civic learning for middle school students.
  • Since March 2017, Civics360 was launched and has provided civics instruction and resources to over 20,000 civics students

Please help us so that we can continue supporting Florida’s, and the nation’s, teachers and students. Questions can be sent to me at any time! 

Please Donate Now If You Can Help!


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

languages

  • 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

quizlet

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

videosample

  • 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.

quizsample.JPG

  • Additional civic resources to facilitate learning and review

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  • 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 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!