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In the Classroom


Activities for Integrating Civics in Adult English Language Learning
The suggestions for activities listed below come from years of practice in adult ESL where teachers were successfully able to integrate language and civics content.

The ALRC’s Citizenship Page
The Adult Learning Resource Center in Des Plaines web site has a good selection of citizenship preparation materials: a resource materials list, notices on INS procedure changes, a sample interview that resulted from a collaboration between area educators and the INS, and a variety of classroom materials.

Arlington Education and Employment Program (REEP) ESL Curricula
REEP has developed an on-line adult ESL instructional system to assist educators in enabling adult students of English to navigate U.S. systems. Lifeskills instruction, student voice, and integration of technology are cornerstones of this system, which consists of 9 proficiency levels ranging from low beginning to advanced. (added 10/10/03)

Border Civics
This site offers the products of a three-year demonstration project by the Socorro Independent School District in El Paso, Texas.  The project integrates EL-Civics learning activities into an Even Start family literacy program. The activities are for beginning level ESL students, and the site includes 19 lesson plans.  Other teacher resources are included. (added 2/7/05)

Bright Ideas: A Growing Body of Useful Information
The Bright Ideas project builds on and extends practical research in how adults best learn English and how programs can implement promising practices. The variety of products on this site include learning materials for students, tips for teachers, and assorted papers of use to teachers, policy makers, and other researchers in the field. (added 10/30/03)

Census 2000 Educational Materials
This site features educational materials that were developed for ESL and Citizenship teachers to help them inform their students about the census.

Citizenship News
This site is designed to keep citizenship educators updated on pertinent naturalization and citizenship test issues, including information about the new test and updates on key changes in policy and practice. (added 10/10/03)

Civic Education
Language & Civil Society, a Forum Electronic Journal, has produced a volume on Civic Education. It contains 10 chapters on topics such as "Rights of the Individual," "Responsibilities of the Government," and "Societal Dilemmas: Finding a Balance". Each chapter has background information and lesson plans. (MS)

Civic Participation and Citizenship Collection
Maintained by the New England Literacy Resource Center, this is a rich collection of materials and websites on Civic Participation and Citizenship. There are five categories in this collection: History and Civil Rights; Immigrant Experience; Media Literacy; Adult Education Project Descriptions; and Voting, Government, and the Constitution. Many of the individual sites in this collection have been reviewed and approved for inclusion in this sub-category of the ESL Special Collection.

Community Connections: Education for Involved Communities
These are sample pages from "The Community Connections" curriculum, which is available at cost through the Curriculum Publications Clearinghouse. It is a fully reproducible, multilevel curriculum that contains six units: The Democratic Process, Community and Home Safety, The Public Library, The U.S. School System, Public Health Services, and Housing. (added 10/10/03)

Contacting the Congress
This is a site that makes it easy to find out who your U.S. representatives are.

Easy Voter Guide
These are easy-to-read materials about how to pick a candidate and how to vote.

A wide-ranging collection of resources that address both civics issues and practical teaching strategies.

English Literacy Civics Education Resource Center
These are civics resources, broadly defined to include parent involvement and workforce preparation, collected by Texas Center for Adult Literacy. (added 10/30/03)

Fairfax EL/Civics Curriculum
The Fairfax County EL/Civics Curriculum includes modules on government/
civic participation, health, and consumer awareness. It is designed for upper level ESOL classes and adult high school classes. (added 10/10/03)

Homebuying Readiness
This site documents a three-year project, supported by the FannieMae Foundation, to support the teaching of first-time homebuying readiness to immigrants (and other adult education students).

The Internationalist
The material on this site is adapted, with permission, from the magazine, the New Internationalist. The aim is to "provide material that is relatively easy for learners to read, but which hasn't lost its 'edge.'" The readings are about global issues (e.g. fair trade, Iraq, child labor, etc.) with scaffolding support, such as background information about countries, glossing of text, comprehension and vocabulary quizzes, teachers and learners pages.

Learning Edge, an interactive resource
This online interactive resource covers a variety of practical topics (bills, street safety, etc.) while addressing content areas such as social studies, science, and reading. Multimedia activities help maintain student interest.

The Little Book On-Line
This online civics text is a handy resource for educators. It goes beyond the basics to include topics such as "economic systems" and "economic concepts."

Massachusetts Budget Guide: Who Hurts? Who Pays? (Teacher’s Guide)
These materials were adapted from United for a Fair Economy, an advocacy organization in Massachusetts. They apply specifically to the Massachusetts budget crisis, but the lessons and techniques used in this curriculum can be adapted for any state. There are several learning exercises for ESL students included in the curriculum. Note: You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to print a copy of the Participant Handout Packet to use this curriculum. A free copy of Adobe can be downloaded by clicking on the "Web Tools" button.

The MLC’s Citizenship Preparation Site
This Minnesota Literacy Council site for citizenship preparation has many interesting features including information about the census, a detailed list of the benefits of becoming a U.S. citizen, and citizenship tutoring tips.

My History Is America's History
"My History Is America's History" offers resources to help students explore their family history, identify how their family story fits into the larger framework of American history. The site offers a collection of stories of immigrants (Click on "Your Stories", then "Featured Stories") that can be used in the classroom as source materials.

New Citizen's Vote! Curriculum
This site links to a four-hour voter education curriculum (available in English and Spanish) called "New Citizens Vote!: An Educational Curriculum About Voting."

People and Politics: A Civic Literacy Curriculum
Students learn how to identify the issues most important to them, ask the right questions and select a candidate whose platform reflects their own concerns.

Pick Your Candidate
This multi-faceted lesson plan helps students to understand political campaign advertising and candidate's positions so they can make educated decisions at the polls.

Preparing Students for an INS Interview
This link is a list of pointers about "Preparing Students for an INS Interview"
from veteran citizenship educator and author Lynne Weintraub.

Project Vote Smart Lesson Plans
These lesson plans have been designed for government and social studies teachers, but the information and ideas can be translated into the EL/Civics classroom.

Talking with the Police: An English Language and Civics Workbook
The workbook is designed for use with immigrant populations that may be scared of talking with authority figures like the police. This downloadable curriculum is targeted for high beginner/low intermediate students, but includes material that may be relevant to immigrants at all levels. (added 10/10/03)

Teaching Civics in a Multilevel ESL Class
This entry from the Pennsylvania ABLE Staff Handbook is written by an ESOL teacher who needs to figure out what goes into an EL Civics curriculum framework.

Tennessee Adult ESOL Curriculum Resource Book
The Center for Literacy Studies/University of Tennessee has produced this book which includes many civics student learning plans (lesson plans). The lesson plans are clear and easy-to-use in any classroom setting, and they are correlated to the Equipped For the Future standards. Note: Downloading this file requires Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available for free by clicking on the Web Tools button on the left.

Visiting the DoctorNew
This site offers a variety of activities (health-related readings, dialogues, poem-writing, vocabulary practice) and useful links related to medical care. It also invites students to submit their own writings on health topics. There is a link to Go Ask Alice! where readers can send questions to health educations and get frank answers or can search the archives for previously asked questions..

Voter Information from the League of Women Voters
This website contains information on voting, candidates, election issues, and links to other websites for voters.

Your Government, Your Taxes, Your Choices
The Massachusetts Coalition for Adult Education has created this curriculum that addresses services the state provides, taxes people pay and issues of fairness, and advocacy. The curriculum is intended primarily for Massachusetts, but it also provides a model for other states. The language in the curriculum is geared for mid-beginning ESOL learners, but each lesson also contains ideas for adapting the curriculum for students at beginning and more advanced levels.

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