More Resources for Teachers
American Bar Association Resources
The ABA has a clearinghouse at www.abanet.org/publiced/schoolshome.html.
How can teachers, lawyers, and judges teach about enduring American values in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks? Dialogue on Freedom http://www.dialogueonfreedom.org is a program developed by the ABA and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy. This program is designed to provide topics, resources, and tips to engage high school students in a "Dialogue on Freedom." Each Dialogue is a carefully planned discussion with high school students in their classroom, designed to explore American civic values and traditions. The program developers hope that many Dialogues will be conducted in the schools on or around Law Day, May 1.
The ABA also has a Pre-Law Toolkit available through their Career Resource Center http://www.abanet.org/careercounsel/prelaw/
Attorney General of Illinois
Many of the programs listed on this page are part of the Attorney General's Youth Advocacy Initiative, a project that focuses on juvenile justice and youth advocacy. You may also find additional information about the Youth Advocacy Initiative and other programs related to community safety on the Keeping Communities Safe page.
Topics covered include, but are not limited to
Illinois Youth Court Association
School Violence Tip Line
Teen Dating Violence
Center for Civic Education
The Center specializes in civic/citizenship education, law-related education, and international educational exchange programs for developing democracies. Programs focus on the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights; American political traditions and institutions at the federal, state, and local levels; constitutionalism; civic participation; and the rights and responsibilities of citizens. Today, the Center administers a range of curricular, professional development, and community-based programs. The principal goals of the Center's programs are to help students develop (1) an increased understanding of the institutions of American constitutional democracy and the fundamental principles and values upon which they are founded, (2) the skills necessary to participate as effective and responsible citizens, and (3) the willingness to use democratic procedures for making decisions and managing conflict.
Free lesson plans. Center for Civic Education is headquartered in Connecticut, with an office in Washington, DC.
Center on Congress at Indiana University
Lee H. Hamilton, Director of the Center on Congress at Indiana University, is one of the nation’s foremost experts on Congress and representative democracy.
See section on “Learn about Congress” and “Classroom resources”.
CivNet (International Civics educators/practitioners)
CIVNET is a worldwide online civic education community composed of civic educators (teachers, teacher trainers, curriculum designers, etc.), as well as scholars, policymakers, civic-minded journalists, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and other individuals promoting civic education all over the world. CIVNET is administered by CIVITAS International.
Close Up Foundation
Offers students and teachers an annual trip to Washington, D.C. to experience government in action.
Columbia Education Center
List upon list of lesson plans sorted by grade level.
Constitutional Rights Foundation and Constitutional Rights Foundation – Chicago
The Constitutional Rights Foundation Chicago (CRFC) works with elementary and secondary schools to develop critical thinking skills, civic participation, and commitment to the rule of law among young people. Nonprofit and nonpartisan, CRFC is a national leader in the design and implementation of quality law-related education (LRE) programs for local, national, and international projects. CRFC was founded in 1974 as part of the Constitutional Rights Foundation in Los Angeles and became an independent 501(c)(3) organization in 1990. CRFC reaches out to our youngest citizens-elementary and high school students-by providing: Student Programs - Students from diverse backgrounds are provided with opportunities to learn first-hand about legal and political issues. Teacher Training - Teachers learn in-depth content about the American legal and governmental system, as well ways to incorporate interactive methods such as mock trials, Socratic discussions, case studies, and role-plays into their classrooms. Resource Experts in the Classroom - Lawyers, judges, police officers, and other public officials are recruited and prepared to work with teachers and students. Innovative Curricula - Designed for use in government, Constitution, civics, and other social studies classes, CRFC curricula give students background on our legal and political system and challenge them to apply this knowledge through case studies, mock trials, discussions, and other interactive means.
Basic Trial, Jury Selection
Explanation of terms used in trial and how jury selection works.
45 resource guides, each of which includes a succinct overview of a historical period or topic; links to our comprehensive online textbook; bibliographies; classroom handouts; timelines; film guides; primary sources; maps; music; speeches; political cartoons; historic images; and relevant websites. Lesson Plans are also available. These have been developed and tested by teachers, our lesson plans are designed to stir student learning through a range of active learning projects.
Exchange City is a hands-on learning program that combines an eight-week classroom curriculum with a state-of-the art interactive government and free enterprise laboratory. The Exchange City experience helps students learn and apply rigorous academic standards in math, civics, social studies. language arts and technology in real-life roles as citizens of their very own mini-town. Chicago law firms are asked to sponsor individual schools.
First Amendment Center
This Illinois-based entity offers free resources on the First Amendment. Includes coloring books for younger students.
Website created by Justice O’Connor to reverse Americans’ declining civic knowledge and participation. Securing our democracy, she realized, requires teaching the next generation to understand and respect our system of governance. Today iCivics comprises not just our board and staff, but also a national leadership team of state Supreme Court justices, secretaries of state, and educational leaders and a network of committed volunteers. Together, we are committed to passing along our legacy of democracy to the next generation.
In just two years, iCivics has produced 16 educational video games as well as vibrant teaching materials that have been used in classrooms in all 50 states. Today we offer the nation’s most comprehensive, standards-aligned civics curriculum that is available freely on the Web.
CARE - Credit Abuse Resistance Education
Resources for students on how to ensure their financial future by teaching them the basics of personal finance, budgeting and saving, and obtaining and maintaining credit. http://care4yourfuture.org/students
Illinois Judicial Speakers Bureau
The Illinois Judicial Speakers Bureau has been established by the Illinois Supreme Court and the Illinois Judges Association to increase awareness of our judicial system and its role in the community. By enabling community groups to hear directly from judges and other court officials, it is hoped that citizens can better appreciate the judicial system and its function in a democracy.
The Speakers Bureau, which is composed of justices, judges and courtroom personnel statewide, will help arrange for a speaker. You should know that our speakers are bound by the Code of Judicial Conduct and are unable to address certain matters, such as pending litigation. All presentations are voluntary by the judges with no cost to the community. The Speakers Bureau also honors requests for its "Judges in the Classroom" program designed to provide school children with the opportunity to hear firsthand from a judge how the judicial system works. Judges can make the presentation in the classroom, or visits to the courthouse can be arranged.
For information, visit
Illinois State Board of Education
Here you can find the Illinois Learning Standards as well as information for teachers, students and parents.
Illinois Supreme Court
The Illinois Supreme Court website has a section for educators. Information there can lead you to resources on the following topics, and more:
About the Courts in Illinois
Judicial Speakers Bureau
A History of the Illinois Judicial Systems
How Cases Proceed Thru the Courts
How the Courts are Funded
Inaugural Addresses of the Presidents
The Leonore Annenberg Institute for Civics presents Annenberg Classroom – Resources for Excellent Civics Education
News, Knowledge, Current Events, Constitution Curriculum and Discussions/Deliberations.
The Juvenile Justice Initiative
A statewide advocacy coalition, Visit www.jjustice.org
Kids Voting USA
Age appropriate discussions of the election process.
Landmark Supreme Court Cases
This site offers a full range of resources and activities to support teaching about landmark Supreme Court cases. Sponsored by Street Law and Supreme Court Historical Society.
Lawyers and the legal process in movies
Lists of films that can be used to teach about law and the legal process.
League of Women Voters
Over time, the League's legislative priorities change to reflect the needs of society and critical issues of concern. The organization remains true to its basic purpose: to make democracy work for all citizens. The League of Women Voters makes a difference in the lives of citizens because of the energy and passion of thousands of members committed to our principles. In 2006, The League of Women Voters Education Fund (LWVEF) launched Safeguarding U.S. Democracy: Promoting an Independent Judiciary, a program to increase citizen understanding of the importance of our nation's system of separation of powers and highlight the vital need for protecting a vibrant and independent judiciary.
Library of Congress
The Library of Congress offers classroom materials and professional development to help teachers effectively use primary sources from the Library's vast digital collections in their teaching.
National Archives and Records Administration
This is a "Digital Classroom," and is the National Archives' gateway for resources about primary sources, activities and training for educators and students. Provides lesson plans, guides and resources.
National Constitution Center - Teacher Resources
The National Constitution Center is an independent, non-partisan, and non-profit organization dedicated to increasing public understanding of, and appreciation for, the Constitution, its history, and its contemporary relevance, through an interactive, interpretive facility within Independence National Historical Park and a program of national outreach, so that We the People may better secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity. Educational resources for teachers, students and younger children.
National Council for the Social Studies
Creating effective citizens through social studies education. Provides lesson plans and other resources for social studies. The NCSS framework consists of ten themes incorporating fields of study that correspond with one or more relevant disciplines. The organization believes that effective social studies programs include experiences that provide for the study of:
Time, Continuity, and Change
People, Places, and Environment
Individual Development and Identity
Individuals, Groups, and Institutions
Power, Authority, and Governance
Production, Distribution, and Consumption
Science, Technology, and Society
Civic Ideals and Practices
National High School Mock Trial Championship
Find information on the national mock trial endeavor. This resource also has mock trial cases from many states that participate in the national program.
The National Park Service's "Teaching with Historic Places"
Using numerous historic properties and places to enliven history, social studies, geography, civics and other subjects. You can browse the collection in a number of ways: by location or state; by time period; by theme; by national standards; or by curriculum standards for social studies. http://www.nps.gov/history/nr/twhp/index.htm
Phi Alpha Delta law fraternity
The fundamental objective of P.A.D.'s Pre-Law Program is to assist undergraduate students to make an "informed choice" in selecting law as a career, deciding which law school to attend, and in preparing for the rigors of law school. Phi Alpha Delta remains the only Law Fraternity and the only national legal organization of any kind with a national Pre-Law Program committed to meeting the needs of undergraduate students interested in the law.
PBS Kids Democracy Project
The online activities are designed for students in grades three to six, with accompanying lesson plans for language arts (LA), social studies (SS), and math (M) teachers.
The Richard III Society
A "Whodunit" activity for students that investigates the "murder of the princes in the Tower of London." www.r3.org/bookcase/whodunit2.html
7 Reasons to Leave the Party
"7 Reasons to Leave the Party" is a 50-minute, award-winning program directed to teenagers with the goal to alter their perception about what's "cool" and ultimately save young lives. Conducted for several years in the 8th judicial circuit by Hon. Mark Drummond, of Quincy, the presentation shakes teenagers to their very core. In 2007-08, the Illinois Judges Association (IJA), working with Judge Drummond, is expanding statewide, informing students about the legal and personal consequences of drinking and driving, taking drugs and having sex. http://ija.org/7%20Reasons.htm
Southern Illinois University School of Law Self-Help Legal Center
Can be a great resource for students doing research on a number of topics. Visit http://www.law.siu.edu/selfhelp/
Southern Illinois University Carbondale Paul Simon Public Policy Institute
Check their website often for new resources and upcoming conferences as they continue to provide professional development opportunities in civics for teachers in all subject areas as well as civic engagement workshops and seminars for students and the public.
Southern Poverty Law Center
Their Teaching Tolerance program is working to foster school environments that are inclusive and nurturing – classrooms where equality and justice are not just taught, but lived. The program points to the future, helping teachers prepare a new generation to live in a diverse world.
State of Illinois
The Illinois State government website can lead you to various state agencies that have information that can be useful in the classroom. For instance, whether you are interested in getting your GED, searching for classroom resources or researching Illinois colleges and universities, the LEARNING section will provide you with the information you need. http://www.illinois.gov/learning/
The ILLINOIS FACTS section provides a vast amount of reference information on Illinois. Whether you are interested in geography or writing a history report for school, this site gives you the facts. Choose a link from the tool bar to the right to locate information on your area of interest. http://www.illinois.gov/facts/
Street Law is practical, participatory education about law, democracy, and human rights. A unique blend of content and methodology, Street Law uses techniques that promote cooperative learning, critical thinking, and the ability to participate in a democratic society. For 30 years, Street Law, Inc.'s programs and curricula have promoted knowledge of legal rights and responsibilities, engagement in the democratic process, and belief in the rule of law, among both youth and adults. Street Law began in 1972 as a practical law curriculum designed as part of a clinical project by a group of Georgetown University law students. Washington, DC public high school students who took the course and the law students who taught it were extremely enthusiastic. With this encouragement, the law school/high school partnership model was expanded to all DC high schools, where it continues today. Street Law materials grew from a loose-leaf binder of lessons to a unique textbook, Street Law: A Course in Practical Law. The text, now in it seventh edition and published by Glencoe/McGraw-Hill, has sold over a million copies and is used in school districts in all 50 states. Its publication played a leading role in adding law to the curricula of school systems around the country. Approximately 70 law schools in the United States have Street Law programs in which law students teach practical law in high school, juvenile justice, prison, or community settings either for credit or as part of pro bono programs.
Supreme Court Historical Society
The Supreme Court Historical Society has a Learning Section that offers access to cases for and about students; women's rights, summer institutes for high school teachers, and activities and lesson plans on key supreme court cases.
http://www.uscourts.gov or http://www.uscourts.gov/Audience/TeachersAndStudents.aspx
During the month of May, courts acknowledge the service of jurors and join the broader legal community in observing Law Day.
YMCA Civic Engagement Guide
YMCA Civic Engagement is an ongoing effort to promote the development of civic engagement attitudes, skills, and behaviors, especially in young people. It's designed to reach young people directly and connect them with specific opportunities to act while simultaneously motivating and improving the abilities of YMCAs and the "civic engagement community" (political parties, nonprofit organizations, the media, schools, colleges, and universities) to engage young people in civic life.
The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's (EEOC) website for youth in the workforce is a great place to find out about rights and responsibilities in the workplace. http://youth.eeoc.gov/index.html
Youth For Justice
Youth for Justice (YFJ) is a consortium of national law-related education (LRE) organizations. Since 1979, YFJ has implemented programs and initiatives that develop a commitment to the rule of law and to civic responsibility among young people. They provide youth with opportunities for meaningful participation in their communities. They involve them in programs that address national issues, and teach them strategies to avoid delinquent behavior. They promote training, curricular materials, and other resources to professionals who work with America's youth. The YFJ partners work in collaboration with a national network of state-based LRE organizations. Together, they work in partnership with legal, educational, governmental, and community groups in schools, juvenile justice centers, and community settings throughout the nation. YFJ is supported by a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention.
Ten trivia questions about the presidency with on-line answers.
Other state bar association links
Many state bar associations have law-related education resources that can be adapted to Illinois. For a list of associations, please visit the American Bar Association at http://www.abanet.org/barserv/stlobar.html
If you have a resource, lesson plan, or Web link you think we should include, please e-mail the information to Kim Furr.