This collection contains a compilation of lesson plans generated by the Civic Engagement and Civic Journalism Inquiry Focus group, a part of the “Studying and Teaching Our Complicated Histories” grant project funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities through the National Writing Project. Over an eight month period we met as a larger collective once a month and then broke off into a focus group to meet once a month, for six months. The lessons in this collection were cultivated from the resources presented during our larger group meetings, and are designed to encourage students to engage with their communities and take an active role in civic life by many means of engagement, including but not limited to, civic journalism.
Each lesson plan in this compilation was created by a member of the focus group and offers a unique approach to incorporating civic engagement into the classroom. “This I Believe” by Adam Pinkerton encourages students to reflect on their personal beliefs and share them with their community through a capstone project. Dana Park’s lesson, “Save the Redwoods,” teaches students about the importance of preserving natural resources with the goal of sparking an interest in local conservation efforts. Gini Wozny’s “Change the World” lesson guides students through researching, reporting, and acting on an issue of concern, while Tiffany Bullman’s “California Ballot Proposition Infographic” lesson provides a hands-on approach to analyzing and visualizing complex information.”Humans of Our School” by Amy Brodkorb encourages students to get to know the adults in their school community and create a connected community through storytelling, and Crysta Fennelll’s “How to Question the World Around You” lesson teaches students about the history of their local community through archival research and journalism. Yuko Wenzel’s lesson, “Civic Engagement: Advocacy for Rivers” leads youth to discover their local watershed and their place within it while learning techniques to advocate with local governments.
Finally, Anne Hartline’s “Taking Civic Action: Connecting with Our Community” lesson provides a comprehensive overview of the role of civic engagement and empowers students to take action on issues that matter to them. Together, these lesson plans offer a rich and diverse set of resources for teachers looking to engage their students in the important work of civic engagement through the lens of civic journalism, based on the core presentations we were able to experience as a group.