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How can I teach civic responsibility to my 5th graders?

Margit McGuire

One of my favorite approaches for teaching civic responsibility is through an approach called Storypath. Teachers routinely teach about the founding of the nation in fifth grade so with this approach, students imagine themselves as colonists and the civic actions they took to create a new nation. The Storypath approach uses the story form--setting, characters, and plot—to structure the learning experience. Key questions throughout the unit problematize the events, encourage substantive conversations and guide students' thinking about important understandings.

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The president´s annual speech to Congress on the condition of the nation offers students an opportunity to examine key domestic issues as well as the president´s proposals. (From Social Education
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Draft of the Constitution (August 1787) and Schedule of the Compensation of the Senate of the United States (March 1791) / TWD

--Michael Hussey and Stephanie Greenhut
The two featured documents can serve as a starting point for a lesson on public service while students debate the amount of pay that public servants should receive.

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Cloture Motion to Cease Debate on 1964 Civil Rights Bill (Teaching with Documents)

--Lee Ann Potter
Students will gain a deeper understanding of legislative tactics like the filibuster when they study the featured document—the Senate motion that broke a 55-day filibuster against the Civil Rights Act.


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