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 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. 

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!


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. 


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!

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 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!


FJCC Webinar Series for New-to-Civics Teachers in Florida

The Florida Joint Center for Citizenship is excited to announce the first in a series of webinars targeting those who may be new to be teaching Civics here in Florida. In this ongoing series, we will be addressing issues of concern around content, pedagogy, assessment, and related areas as requested by our teachers.

Webinar One: What to Expect When You Are Expecting the Civics EOCA
Did you know that this assessment counts as 30% of a student’s grade, as well as being included in school grade? The webinar will address what exactly you need to know going into the assessment, and we really encourage participants to bring questions they may have about the Civics EOCA!

Date: March 7, 2017
Time: 4:30 PM

Participants are asked to register in advance. You can register for the webinar here.

Questions may be directed to Dr. Steve Masyada. We look forward to your joining us!

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: http://civilrights.flagler.edu), 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!

NBC Piece on Teaching Civics in a Tough Time

Good morning, friends of Civics and Social Studies! This was shared with me recently, and I thought you might appreciate it.

Tonight, on NBC Nightly News, a veteran of the Florida Joint Center for Citizenship‘s past Civics Mentor Teacher Program will be featured in a piece looking at teaching Civics during a contentious election season.  David Hamilton teaches at Pinellas Park Middle School, and the piece will look at the struggles and unique opportunities of teaching Civics during this overly contentious presidential election season. It should air tomorrow (Wed. 10/19) during the regular nightly news broadcast. The interview stems from a St. Pete Times article last year.

We are looking forward to the piece. David Hamilton is an excellent Civics teacher, and we are grateful to have worked with him in the past!

Upcoming FCSS Conference Highlights

Don’t forget that the FCSS Conference comes soon! I just want to take a few minutes and highlight some interesting conference sessions that may be of interest to a wide variety of audiences.

Saturday morning, Concurrent Session 1:

If this is a Woman: FKL Ravensbruck Tom Glaser, Mater Academy Charter High School

Ravensbruck was the only main concentration camp for women, and it held an astonishing variety of nationalities and reasons for incarceration. It was the last place where gassings took place. Learn about this often neglected aspect of the Holocaust.

Key People and Places: Focus on Famous Floridians Lesley Mace, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta – Jacksonville Branch Gloria Guzman, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta – Miami Branch

Join this interactive session featuring new ways to teach about Florida’s famous entrepreneurs. Participate in a hands-on lesson and discover a free tool for creating fun cellphone/tablet quiz games to reinforce and assess student learning. 


Saturday, Concurrent Session 2:

Students Investigating Primary Sources: A FJCC & National Archives Partnership Val McVey, Florida Joint Center for Citizenship Dr. Charles Flanagan, Center for Legislative Archives at the National Archives

Come learn about S.I.P.S.! Learn how to access and implement a new series of primary source activities and experience new distance learning services from the National Archives to make S.I.P.S. come to life in your classroom!



Engaging Social Studies in the Early Childhood Classroom (K-3) Kassie Erenstoft, Brevard Public Schools

Bring social studies to life for your youngest learners. Join us to discuss engaging, document analysis strategies to enrich social studies discussions in kindergarten through third grade classrooms. 



And of course please don’t forget the fantastic keynote we have lined up! Please be sure to register now! We look forward to seeing you in Orlando.


Florida Council for the Social Studies Conference Sessions

Have we mentioned that the Florida Council for the Social Studies Conference is coming soon (and that you should register)? No? Well, it is and you should! And we are happy to share with you information on sessions that will be taking place at the conference! Take a look at the matrices below for Saturday and Sunday, and then click here to get a description of each session: 2016-fcss-session-descriptions!



Through out the next few weeks leading up to the conference, we will be highlighting sessions of interest, and just why you may enjoy them. Please be sure to take a look at the session descriptions (2016-fcss-session-descriptions) and of course register and join us for a great weekend in Orlando! 

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!