Students identify an issue and lead actions to create change.
Students choose issues that are relevant to their own lives and experiences in community.
Students engage in the political process, advocating for policies that address systemic root causes.
During and after the project is complete, students spend time considering their efforts and impact.
“Overall, Action Civics brought issues to the forefront in my class. I was surprised to see the general apathy turn around in several of my students.” (pictured with students Jahbari Jenkins and Delanoe Kessee)
“My students really felt like their opinions did not matter. But [Action Civics] raised an awareness and provoked a new thought inside of them.‘Yes, I do matter, and I can help make a change.’”
“Before, my students were so used to dividing and conquering that they realized true group work needs to be done in a group, not divided up. Also their ability to see that civics is not just studied or even researched, but an action of doing civic skills and doing activities that lead to positive change.”
"Working together in op-ed drafts, pouring over survey data to determine how to present a powerful story, practicing a presentation for the 8th time, so it's just right: these are the types of 21st century skills that we need. Our students need to know how to collaborate effectively, problem solve on their feet, think innovatively, and communicate their ideas clearly and powerfully." (pictured with student Carla Duran Capellan)
"Students were able to reevaluate their issues to manageable, important, and workable issues. They pulled together, even when they didn't agree or when they couldn't find common ground, but they came together for the greater good. The way they came together towards the end, in both classes, was truly remarkable."
Do you want your civics coursework to come alive and connect with your students, preparing them for a lifetime of participation in our democracy and their community?
Do you want to see your students do more than simply vote, bringing real change in their community?
Do you want to connect your classroom with your community?
By the end of this module, participants will have identified the core tenets and steps of Action Civics and compared stories of youth civic engagement to their own goals for student learning.
By the end of this module, you will have analyzed your own local government structures and determined how to get in touch with people your students might identify as key experts or influencers on their issue.
By the end of this module, you will have explored strategies to help your students examine and select issues to focus on in their communities.
By the end of this module, you will have explored the process of student-led research and constructing an Action Plan and analyzed multiple templates to help organize that planning.
By the end of this module, you will have reviewed various examples of students.
By the end of this module, you will have considered how to build upon your or your school’s existing civic learning practices.
Action Civics is nonpartisan. The essence of the educational model is in learning about the political system, the process of identifying problems, assessing their causes, and developing the skills to address them. The issues that students can, and do, address span a very wide spectrum and the students’ strategies often are practical, rather than ideological. The local focus of Action Civics results in issues transcending party lines. The key is that regardless of chosen issue or goal, students are leading these projects!
The course should take approximately 3 hours to complete. There are six modules and teachers can stop and save as they go. After you kick start your own Action Civics practice with these modules, it’s up to you to bring your learning to life for your students!
It varies! We find that teachers go into various levels of depth with the project. For example, some teachers facilitate Action Civics as a stand-alone several-week unit. Others integrate Action Civics a few days a week as a “lab” component of their course/content and others have even built an entire course around an Action Civics project.
Skills and resources to implement Action Civics! Additionally, Generation Citizen partnered with Donors Choose to provide early participants of KSAC with monetary-based Donors Choose credits ($300 per teacher) which teachers can use to purchase supplies and/or experiences for their students during their Action Civics project. While the funds have currently all been allocated, Generation Citizen is working to secure additional funding and all participants will be notified if and when Donors Choose credits are available again.
Absolutely! In addition to the obvious overlap with Social Studies content, students are also building ELA skills like persuasive writing, speech making, research, analyzing arguments, and others. Students often conduct surveys and analyze data requiring them to apply skills from their Math classes. Depending on the projects, students may also need to apply Science content - perhaps they’re working on a project addressing the environment, for example. They also just may want to apply tenets like the Scientific method to their research. Some students have also used art in their advocacy projects. Indeed, there are a number of ways to make Action Civics cross curricular!
Educators, districts, and organizations across the country are joining the Action Civics movement! Check out the National Action Civics Collaborative for direct links to information about some of the leading practitioners in the field. Additionally, throughout the modules you’ll see references and even resources from other organizations engaged in this pedagogy.