Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Making Civics Real Workshop 1: Freedom of Religion  
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Workshop 1

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Lesson Plan: Context

Kristen Borges has been a social studies teacher at Southwest High School in Minneapolis, Minnesota, since 1996. She team-teaches Arts and Humanities Civics with an English teacher and has created an arts-infused interdisciplinary curriculum. She also teaches the senior level International Baccalaureate History of the Americas course, which focuses on the history of Latin America. She has also coached the speech team. Prior to coming to Southwest, Kristen Borges taught for a year and a half at other Minnesota high schools. Kristen Borges holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Providence College in Rhode Island, and a Master of Arts in teaching social studies from Bridgewater State College in Massachusetts.

Southwest High School in Minneapolis, Minnesota, is a site-based managed school with a multicultural enrollment of approximately 1,700 students in grades nine through 12. The school is committed to promoting academic excellence, creativity, critical thinking, lifetime-learning skills, and physical well-being for all students in a safe learning environment. The school values cultural diversity and global interdependence, and nurtures a respect for the environment. Southwest attaches importance to its collaborative relationship among staff, students, parents, administrators, and community members.

The title of the course, which runs over two semesters, is Team 9 Arts and Humanities Civics. It is part of an English, arts, and humanities block in which teachers are permitted to be flexible in how they allocate the two-hour class period. The beginning of the year focuses on the foundations of U.S. government and the structures of government at both the national and local level. Economics and its role in U.S. government is the focus in the middle of the year. In the final part of the year, the class examines the legal system, civil justice, and particularly the way that the government deals with current issues. The course text is We the People (Calabasa, Calif.: Center for Civic Education, 1988).


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