Civics Online is
designed with teachers, parents, and students in mind. For teachers,
it is a resource for materials, historical and current, related
to civic education. It is also a site for teachers to find ideas
for projects and activities. For parents, Civics Online is an opportunity
to find guidance in and resources for working with their students
around civics. There are documents available in a supported environment
for use in students projects, examples of the kinds of work that
can be done by students in the Civics Online environment, as well
as ideas for bringing ideas of civic participation into the home.
In addition, there are ties to state and national standards around
civics to aid parents in their understanding of what is or should
be expected of their students.
does Civics Online support in-school activities?
Online supports school related activities by providing online resources
that may not easily accessible through other sources. Students and
the adults working with them are able find common document related
to civics education, such as the Declaration of Independence, as
well as less accessible, but potentially important documents such
as the text of the "Maryland Toleration Act." In addition,
there are contexts for understanding the
use primary sources?
underlying reason for encouraging students to work with primary
sources such as historical documents, newspapers and news programming,
as well as internet news sources and sites, is that by interacting
with documents (actual as well as electronic) under the skillful
guidance of teachers and parents, students can develop the skills,
habits, and attitudes that accompany the higher-level skills required
to think and act critically in a democracy. David Kobrin, author
of Beyond the Textbook: Teaching History Using Documents and
Primary Sources, suggests that the habits of mind encouraged
through instruction utilizing primary sources include: 1) discovering
the main idea in documents; 2) understanding the importance of perspective
and context, including using internal and external evidence to check
the validity of a source; 3) synthesis (see themes and patterns
in a document); and 4) sharing ideas clearly and persuasively through
multiple venues, including writing. At a time when children are
bombarded with conflicting information from the media, these skills
are increasingly important to ensure an informed citizenry.
there is some overlap in the skills needed to work with textbooks
and primary sources, many of the documents may be difficult for
your child to interpret. A student may need background information
to make sense of a document and parents can help fill in gaps the
child may have. Assisting the student in researching a document
is also a valuable lesson, especially in deciding whether or not
a resource is valid. The parents wider experience can also
assist the student in recognizing the patterns in and between documents.
Online contains a full library of digital, multimedia primary sources
that apply to the study of civics. Civics Online offers three different
searches for retrieving primary sources that apply to multiple grade
levels and civic issues. These three searches are:
Search - the general search retrieves all the primary sources
in the Civics Online Library sorted by a category you choose (author,
date, file type, grade level, or core democratic value). This
search allows users to "browse" an organized list of
our holdings as well as provides a way to print a full listing
of the library.
Search - the category search allows you to define any or all
of our categories and use these as the criteria for a search.
Narrower than the general search, the category search only brings
back primary sources that apply to the categories specified.
Search - the most specific search of all, the keyword search
utilizes full text searching. This means the complete text is
searched for the keyword you provide. For instance, if "Civil
Rights" is entered into the keyword search, Civics Online
brings back any primary source that has any mention of those terms.
doing a search, notice that each primary source record provides
information on that source, as well as which grade level and core
democratic value are applicable to that source. At the bottom of
each search page there is also the opportunity to find out additional
information on any of our sources, authors, or topics by searching
the Internet with Ask Jeeves. Simply type in a question like "Who
is Abraham Lincoln?" or "Where can I find more information
on the Dred Scott Decision?" and Ask Jeeves will provide answers
for your question.
Civics Online glossary provides definitions to key civic terms.
Like the Civics Online Library, glossary terms can be searched for
by one of three methods:
Listing - This lists all of our glossary terms and their definitions
so users can browse for a term or print out a full listing of
a Term - This option allows users to retrieve a definition
for a specific term from a full listing of our glossary terms.
Search - Like the library, this option retrieves any glossary
term and definition that contains the keyword you enter.
Civics Online timeline allows you to trace civic events and themes
through U.S. History by browsing our chronological listing of civic
events. Click on any of the dates that accompany events to retrieve
primary sources from our library that were published within a twenty
year time-span of that date.
a single resource, Civics Online can only provide a finite number
of resources for parents. To extend the scope of the project, Civics
has linked to the best resources on the web to help parents find
the information they need. In our resource section for parents you'll
find links to sites that provide additional primary sources, government
agencies and organizations, newspapers and magazines, and the best
search engines on the web.
Civic Explorations provide a way for students to think about civic
issues and use primary sources in considering the case of Elian
Gonzalez. Parents might explore one of the Civic Explorations with
their child or use the Civic Explorations as a model for talking
about current civic events with their children.