Florida Civics EOCA Review Resources

It’s that time of year again, where we start preparing our kids for the upcoming Civics End of Course Assessment here in Florida. So here are some decent resources from across the internet that you might find useful. Of course, we must always keep in mind that any review should begin with making sure your kids are familiar with the Civics Test Item Specifications, because it tells you, and them, exactly what they need to know.

specs

 

 

But let’s start our review resource tour with the Florida Joint Center for Citizenship at the Lou Frey Institute‘s own pride and joy.

Civics360

Civics360 is a free, interactive civics review tool to help Florida students improve their understanding of civics. It provides a flexible approach to instruction and review, and features:

  • Narrated Students Friendly Videos review the important content for most benchmarks
  • Viewing guides for each video
  • Student Friendly Readings for each Benchmark Clarification, available in English, Haitian-Creole, and Spanish
  • Vocabulary activities
  • End-of-Course Assessment-style guided review questions for each benchmark
  • End-of-Course Assessment practice tests
  • Additional Civics Resources to Facilitate Learning and Review

You can sign up for Civics360 here. It’s always free, but registration IS required!

The Florida Practice Tests (ePATS)

TestNav

Here you will find a practice version of the Civics EOCA. This will give you some sense of what the assessment is like and how to use the different tools for an online version of the test, as well as what the questions are like. This is provided by the Florida Department of Public Instruction.

Florida Students Civics Tutorials

tutorial

We have written about these tutorials before, and they are the first resource I recommend for both instruction and review. They are excellent for a flipped classroom model as well. If you are planning on using them as a review resource, I recommend assigning students only the parts of the tutorials they need, and it would be more effective to perhaps set these up in learning stations across the classroom. You could require that students screen-capture or write down responses to the assessment elements in order to ensure completion and comprehension.

Florida Virtual School Resources

RRSFLVSThe recorded review sessions, available for free at the bottom of the FLVS page, do a good job covering elements of each of the four reporting categories that will be assessed on the EOC. Because they are about 2 hours long, you will want to preview each one and determine where you might want students to focus their attention. They may also provide you with a model for your own approach to classroom-based reviews. I especially appreciate how an effort is made to integrate assessment elements. Please be aware that you will need to download Blackboard Collaborate to run the videos. 

You will also want to check out the FLVS Civics EOC Practice test, which may be of use to you, though as with anything, you should decided how effective or appropriate it will be for your kids. Again, however, this shouldn’t be the first time that students are being exposed to these types and styles of items. Answers to the practice test items are available here. Note that answers are actually explained as well, which is an excellent element of review. I would suggest actually having students explain WRONG answers. If they can tell you why an answer is wrong, they should have a much easier time of figuring out why an answer might be right!

Civics EOC Boot Camp Model

We wrote about this review model before, and it may be one that you find useful as well. It worked well for Randall Middle School, and it is a positive way to mix things up a little for both you and your students. We explored this model in great detail in this post, and I encourage you to take a look and see if it is something you might like to do.

 

TEACHER WEBSITES

Civics With Mr. Kula

Kula

Mr. Kula, social studies teacher at Westpine Middle School in Broward County, has compiled a number of quality content rich and illustrated study guides for the Civics EOC that could be useful for you. While they don’t cover every benchmark, what IS there is effective, and broken down by topic. These would be appropriate for students to use in conjunction with a written review or in small groups using an ‘expert group’ teaching model.

Mrs. Hirsch’s Civics Page

hirsch

Mrs. Hirsch, a teacher at Fruit Cove Middle School in St. John’s County, has gathered a number of excellent tools for EOC review. The EOC Content Review sheets that she has provided are well done and engaging, and definitely worth sharing with your own students:
Q1 Civics What You Need to Know

Q2 Civics What You Need to Know

Legislative Branch Content Review

Executive Branch Content Review

Judicial Branch Content Review

Civics Assessment Strategy Guide

Kotkin Strategies

Here is an EXCELLENT and short powerpoint covering strategies for the EOC.

Ruckel Middle School Civics Flashcards

ruckel

Ruckel Middle School, in Okaloosa County, has developed a tool using Quizlet that provides students with flashcards for review. These might be useful as a bellringer or exit slip activity as you wrap up content this year and start to transition to in depth review.

 

These are just a few of the quality review resources that you might find beneficial. If you have any additional resources to share, please shoot me an email or leave it in the comments!

The Florida Joint Center for Citizenship at the Lou Frey Institute has joined the Civics Renewal Network!

CRN2

You may have noticed a new logo, similiar to what is above this post, appearing on the FJCC homepage. That is a sign of some exciting news! The Florida Joint Center for Citizenship is excited to announce that our parent organization, the Lou Frey Institute, was recently welcomed as a member of the Civics Renewal Network! 

CRN1

The Civics Renewal Network is a resource-sharing network made up of civics education organizations from across the country. The Florida Joint Center for Citizenship at the Lou Frey Institute is currently in the process of curating some of our quality resources to share on the CRN website, and we look forward to sharing and posting the resources of other civics education folks across all of our platforms! We are excited to be a member of this consortium, and look forward to sharing with you some of the quality work being done across the country!

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

360

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!