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Street Law teamed up with Richard Remy and Donald Ritchie to co-author United States Government: Our Democracy (© 2018 McGraw-Hill Education). The text is a fully integrated print-digital solution for students and teachers. This means that the program can easily fit into your curriculum, no matter how high-tech or low-tech your classroom is. The text is also 100% iPad compatible.
U.S. Government: Our Democracy helps educators teach students about government and how to “do democracy.” This text is innovative in many ways, especially in its focus on interactive activities that help students build critical civic skills, such as:
- constructing arguments
- discussing public issues
- listening to others
- looking for compromise
- evaluating claims
- assessing source credibility
- making informed decisions
Influential movements like the Common Core State Standards; College, Career, and Civic Life Framework for Social Studies State Standards (C3); and the Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools call for instruction and materials to help students develop these skills, and research shows that in order for students to master these skills, they must practice them.
The text integrates activities that prompt students to truly engage with the content and practice civic skills. In every chapter students are asked to deliberate with peers, advocate for or against a position, evaluate policy alternatives, analyze claims and arguments, negotiate a compromise, or make collaborative decisions. The text centers debate and discussion on current, public, and controversial issues—a proven method for increasing student engagement. Since Americans’ everyday lives are affected more by state and local government than by the federal government, this book integrates instruction about state and local government throughout, rather than relegating these vital institutions to a unit at the end.
The following key features of U.S. Government: Our Democracy support both government content and civic engagement standards:
- Government in Your Community, which prompts students to investigate how their own state and local governments address community problems and what students can do to engage with their governments close to home.
- Participating in Government, which gives students opportunities to solve important, current problems while developing specific civic skills
- Deliberations and Debates, which help students develop strong critical thinking, analytical, advocacy, and compromise skills
- Supreme Court Case Studies challenge students to “be the judge” as they classify arguments, assign unmarked opinions, apply precedents to recent cases, conduct in-class moot courts, and decide cases
- Analyzing Primary Sources, which require students to evaluate and interpret sources such as photographs, charts, political cartoons, and excerpts of government reports. Each activity includes a culminating question designed to spark civic participation: What will you do?
- We the People: Making A Difference and Youth Voices, which highlight famous and not-so-famous people who are working to improve government and their communities. Students explore what motivates people to take action and what strategies they use to bring about change, and then they reflect on their own motivations and how they do or could take action that matters
- Civic Participation in a Digital Age, which asks students to explore how technology affects good government and the dynamics of civic engagement. Each activity prompts students to access and evaluate digital information and to use technology to add their own voices to democracy
The text also includes tools that help teachers
- maximize student comprehension
- build vocabulary
- cultivate reading strategies
- strengthen note-taking skills
- customize and differentiate instruction with leveled reading, customizable assessments worksheets, and flexible online learning tools
If you are interesting in professional development relating to this text and how teachers can maximize the student benefits of civic skill-building, please contact Cathy Ruffing.