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Choices Curriculum Units from the Choices Program

Grade level: 9-12

Promising Approaches

  • Instruction in Government, History, Law and Democracy
  • Guided Discussions of Issues and Current Events
  • Simulations of Democratic Processes

Overview

Special Features

Civic Learning Goals

Evaluation Studies

Required Resources

Available Resources

Professional Development Opportunities

Contact Information

Overview

Choices curriculum materials are used in a range of courses including U.S. history, world history, global studies, and government. Teachers choose the unit that aligns with their curriculum plan. The Choices materials include extensive background readings and a role-play or simulation exercise that encourages students to apply their knowledge in an authentic setting.

Curricular materials incorporate the latest scholarship to make connections between historical events and contemporary global issues. At the heart of each unit is a range of contrasting policy options. By exploring a spectrum of alternatives, students are better able to articulate their own views on pressing international issues.

Building on its current work in civic and international education, the Choices Program is collaborating with the state departments of education and key civic and international education organizations in Indiana and Maine on a three-year initiative to build links between educators focused on civic learning and those focused on international affairs. Working together and drawing on curriculum resources that are content-rich and that include authentic decision-making experiences, these organizations seek to join international and civic education and integrate this into the core curriculum in these states. In addition, they will articulate this as a potential model for use by other states interested in integrating civic and international education within the core social studies curriculum.

Special Features

The deliberation process the students engage in is at the heart of every unit. Students are challenged to understand multiple perspectives, not debate them. The fact that they are randomly "assigned" an option or future in the curriculum units means they must learn that perspective in depth. Later in the lesson they are asked to articulate their own feelings by writing a "Future 5" or their own option.

Civic Learning Goals

Civic Knowledge

  • Key historical periods, episodes, themes, and experiences of individuals and groups
  • Key principles, documents, and ideas essential to constitutional democracy
  • Structures, processes, functions, branches, and levels of U.S. government and legal system
  • Social and political networks for making change, such as voluntary associations or local organizing

Civic Skills

  • Critical thinking, active listening, analyzing public policies, problems and assets, and understanding multiple perspectives
  • Communicating one's position through writing or speaking

Civic Dispositions

  • Developing tolerance, respect, and appreciation of difference
  • Developing concern with the rights and welfare of others
  • Developing a belief in one's ability to make a difference
  • Developing attentiveness to civic matters and a desire to become involved in the civic life of the community

Evaluation Studies

In addition to formative internal evaluation throughout the project, an extensive external research study is being launched to measure the immediate and longer-term impact that classroom deliberation concerning international issues has on students' knowledge, civic skills, and participative dispositions. At the conclusion of the project, a report will be developed and disseminated to decision-makers in state departments of education, state legislatures, state and national educational organizations, professional networks, and the media in the participating states and nationally. Longitudinal data will continue to be collected after the three-year grant period.

Required Resources

Choices curriculum units, available at www. choices.edu

Available Resources

http://www.kidsconsortium.org

http://www.choices.edu for curriculum units and "Teaching with the News" free downloadable materials

Professional Development Opportunities

KIDS Consortium offers several professional development opportunities throughout the year. Check our website or go to the Choices website (NB: the Choices site may not list a comprehensive list of opportunities in Maine but will list opportunities throughout the country)

Contact Information

Barbara Fiore

KIDS Consortium

215Lisbon Street, Suite 12
Lewiston, ME 04240
Phone 207-784-0956
bfiore@kidsconsortium.org

http://www.kidsconsortium.org

Choices for the 21st Century Education Program

Box 1948Brown University
Providence,RI02912

401-863-3155

email:choices@brown.edu

www.choices.edu

Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools: Education for Democracy