All resources in DC Charter School

StoryWorks: Beautiful Agitators

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StoryWorks develops inclusive and transformative educational theater experiences that provide students with the opportunity to examine our country’s civil rights history. Through content consistent with school curriculum standards, the program engages students in experiential learning and inspires them to ask deeper questions about the historical underpinnings behind contemporary issues. The process creates pathways to civic engagement, creates lasting memories and instills a tangible sense of social belonging. This StoryWorks educational project is built around Beautiful Agitators, a theatrical play about Vera Mae Pigee, a hair stylist and business owner in Clarksdale, Mississippi, and one of the unsung heroes of the civil rights era. Using her beauty parlor as a hub for Delta-based organizing and resistance, Pigee operated her salon by day and then transformed it into a clandestine center for civil rights organization and education in the evenings. Known for her big hats and larger than life personality, Mrs. Pigee led the direct action that registered nearly 6,000 African Americans to vote in the region. Although Pigee was largely left out of the history books, along with many women of the movement, our play Beautiful Agitators and accompanying curriculum revives her legacy, highlighting her methods and tactics. Inspired by the innovative K-12 civil rights education standards developed by the Mississippi Civil Rights Commission. Our commitment is to expand upon the standards by further developing content related to social justice, power relations, environmental justice, diversity, equity, mutual respect, and civic engagement. Beautiful Agitators combines inquiry with higher-order thinking skills of analysis, evaluation and synthesis. Set in a beauty parlor owned and operated by a Black woman in the Mississippi Delta, our curriculum is based on our investigation into primary sources and their relationship to critical moments in the national movement. This foundation of historical context allows for students and educators to find contemporary parallels which further engage learners to reflect upon the legacy of the civil rights movement and the struggles that we, as citizens, continue to grapple with today.View the complete play Beautiful Agitators on the StoryWorks Theater site.Implementation1. Beautiful Agitators Performance Classroom watches a prerecorded, staged reading of the play Beautiful Agitators, which was created and performed by artists from the Mississippi Delta, home of Vera Mae Pigee.2. Lesson Plan Activities Following the eight-lesson plan structure, students will read aloud or act out scenes from the play. This participatory interaction with the text and the historical events promotes a high level of engagement from the students and encourages experiential learning. These activities directly correspond to scenes in the play and to specific content area standards. Teacher leads guided discussions and helps to explain the historical context and theme of each scene. Students/actors have the opportunity to share their experiences having portrayed these historical figures. 

Material Type: Full Course

Engaging Students Regarding Events at U.S. Capitol

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At OSPI, part of our mission is to prepare students for civic engagement throughout their lives. We believe our schools must engage and empower students, from an early age, with opportunities to participate in civil conversations, examples of effective civic engagement, and tools to find peaceful solutions to community problems.OSPI’s Social Studies and Social-Emotional Learning teams have put together resources for educators, families, and students to help with these difficult conversations.

Material Type: Teaching/Learning Strategy

Authors: Kari Tally, Barbara Soots, Washington OSPI OER Project, Jerry Price

Know Your Rights!

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As American citizens, you are born with rights, but do you even know what those rights are? In this seminar, you will learn about the creation of the Bill of Rights and how those freedoms are still protected by the United States government today.  Standards5.1.9.D Compare and contrast the basic principles found in significant documents: Declaration of Independence, United States Constitution, Bill of Rights, PA Constitution.5.1.12.E Analyze and assess the rights of people as written in the PA Constitution and the US Constitution.CC.8.5.9-10.B Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of how key events or ideas develop over the course of the text. 

Material Type: Lesson Plan

Author: Tracy Rains

Tracing the Ratification of the 19th Amendment

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This lesson attempts to expose students to the long road traveled to achieve the right to vote by the brave women who did so. It will not only serve to increase their awareness and understanding of the many people and issues surrounding the movement for women’s suffrage—and more broadly for equality for women—but also the impact World War I finally had upon making the 19th Amendment a reality. The lesson includes discussion questions, analysis in groups, and links to readings. It aligns to Social Studies curriculum standards for the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.

Material Type: Lesson Plan

"The Constitution vs. The Articles of Confederation"

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To ensure and enhance student understanding of concepts related to the Constitution and Articles of Confederation, specifically students will be able to:Explain the larger ideas of federalism vs. anti-federalism or states’ rights, and how those ideas feed into people’s overall political beliefs.Identify and explain the various branches of the federal government, the obstacles that had been faced under the Articles of Confederation, and how this new federalist/republican model of government grew out of those difficulties.Identify and explain the various powers delegated to the states versus federal government in both documents, what changed, and why.

Material Type: Lesson Plan

Author: Tom Marabello

“Congress, the President, and the Constitution: Then and Now”

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This lesson will give your students the chance to compare and contrast Articles I and II of the Constitution, and the powers delegated to both the legislative and executive branches.  Students will deeply examine the historic and current relationship between Congress and the President and how power and influence have seemed to ebb and flow between them over more than 200 years, including a look at the War Powers Act and how that has impacted the push-pull between Congress and the President, looking at some case studies from the past 35 years.

Material Type: Lesson Plan

Author: Tom Marabello

“Freedom of Speech…Always Protected?”

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Without question, Americans look to their First Amendment right to free speech probably as much if not more than any other protection afforded to them under our Constitution and Bill of Rights; for that reason, it demands much attention.  This lesson will seek to provide a background of some of the major free speech cases throughout our country’s history, where those rights have been allowed to be infringed upon by government, and where the courts have stepped in to prevent government from censoring speech.

Material Type: Lesson Plan

Author: Tom Marabello

Federalism v. States Rights

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This lesson seeks to allow students the chance to analyze difficult primary source materials looking for insights into the authors’ views and opinions, as well as giving them a thorough working understanding of the many issues surrounding both federalism and anti-federalism.  They can also begin to draw conclusions about their own beliefs about the role of the federal government in the lives of citizens, as well as make connections to today’s political parties and their ideas on the subject.

Material Type: Lesson Plan

Author: Tom Marabello

Freedom of Assembly: The Right to Protest

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This lesson from Annenberg Classroom will focus on freedom of assembly, as found in the First Amendment. Students will consider the importance of the right to assemble and protest by analyzing cases where First Amendment rights were in question. Using the case National Socialist Party of America v. Village of Skokie, students will consider if the government is ever allowed to control the ability to express ideas in public because viewpoints are controversial, offensive, or painful. Students will use primary sources and Supreme Court cases to consider whether the courts made the correct decision in the National Socialist Party v. Skokie case. Students will be able to form an opinion on the essential question: Is the government ever justified to restrict the freedom to assemble?

Material Type: Lesson Plan

Author: Tom Marabello

The 25th Amendment: Presidential Disability & Succession and Vice Presidential Vacancies

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This eLesson by Dr. Felix Yerace will provide students with an opportunity to learn about the text of the Twenty-Fifth Amendment as well as its historical usage and potential need. It will ask them to consider why such an Amendment was deemed necessary and how it has been, and could be, used. It will also give students the opportunity to debate possible applications of the Twenty-Fifth Amendment.

Material Type: Lesson Plan

Author: Tom Marabello

HS American Gov. EBAS Lesson Seed: Structure and Function of the Legislative Branch

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Lesson seeds are ideas for the standards that can be used to build a lesson.  Lesson seeds are not meant to be all-inclusive, nor are they substitutes for instruction.  This lesson seed provides a compelling question and a bank of sources to use to drive an inquiry based lesson or a potential Evidence Based Argument Set (EBAS).  When developing lessons from these seeds, teachers must consider the needs of all learners.  Once you have built your lesson from the lesson seed, teachers are encouraged to post the lesson that has emerged from this lesson seed and share with others. Compelling question:Should term limits be imposed on members of Congress?  EL Modification: highlight important vocabulary, add images to improve text comprenesion; consider adapting content, process and/or product based on Can Do WIDA DescriptorsImage source: "United States Capitol - west front" by Architect of the Capitol from Wikimedia.org

Material Type: Lesson Plan

Authors: Robby May, Beth Ann Haas, Leah Renzi, MSDE Admin

The Fall of Saigon (1975): The Bravery of American Diplomats and Refugees

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On April 30, 1975, the South Vietnamese capital of Saigon fell to the North Vietnamese Army, effectively ending the Vietnam War. In the days before, U.S. forces evacuated thousands of Americans and South Vietnamese. American diplomats were on the frontlines, organizing what would be the most ambitious helicopter evacuation in history. The logistics of issuing visas and evacuating these Vietnamese and American citizens were not glamorous but were essential. American diplomats were behind every detail. Some diplomats showed exceptional bravery saving Vietnamese citizens who would have faced persecution under the new regime. These artifacts and photos in our collection offer a glimpse of what diplomats and refugees experienced during the Fall of Saigon. More broadly, they show the challenging and dangerous circumstances diplomats may encounter while performing their work.

Material Type: Case Study, Primary Source, Reading

Author: National Museum of American Diplomacy