Eagle on flag Educating Citizens

Training for teachers in three programs: Project Citizen, Primary VOICE/VOICE, and We the People

Assignments (Citizen, VOICE, We the People)


CIG 600, 1 credit — Spring 2007
"Preparing Professionals for Changing Educational Contexts"
Department of Curriculum and Instruction in Coordination with Educational Outreach
University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Note: This course is offered as a public service with contributing financial partners including the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, State Bar of Nevada, and Center for Civic Education. All pre-service and in-service K-12 teachers are invited to participate in the course free of charge. Participants wishing to receive graduate credit for the course must pay a $60 credit fee to UNLV's Educational Outreach Department and will need to engage in readings and assignments not required by participants not seeking credit. Call Carrol Steedman (702.895.1021) to register for credit and call Christy Keeler (702.895.4982) to receive your assignments.

Instructor of Record: Christy Keeler, Ph.D. (Homepage: http://coe.nevada.edu/ckeeler; Video Conference: Christy Keeler at AIM; Telephone: 702.895.4982; Office: UNLV CEB 343)

Training Coordinators: Marcia Stribling-Ellis, M.S. with the Nevada State Bar Association (702.317.1408 - work; 702.385.2878 - fax) and Laurel Dodge, 5th Grade Teacher at Bruner Elementary School

Location: UNLV BDC 119 (March 24) and UNLV CEB 142 (March 31)
Time: Saturday, March 24 and 31, 2007 from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Course Webpage: http://coe.nevada.edu/ckeeler/Educating Citizens/
Prerequisites: Declared Education Major or Bachelor's Degree

Required Readings:

Read before the first day of class:

Center for Professional Development and Services (2003). School safety. Phi Delta Kappa Topics and Trends, 3(6), EdResults, Inc.

Cockrel, J. (1997). Introduction to public policy education. University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service.

DeVoe, J., Peter, K., Noonan, M., Snyder, T., Baum, K. (2005). Indicators of school crime and safety: 2005. Institute of Education Sciences, NCES 2006001. (Read only the Executive Summary.)

United States constitution.

Other required readings:

Atherton, H. M. (2000). We the people... project citizen. In Education for civic engagement in democracy: service learning and other promising practices, eds. Mann, S. and Patrick, J., pp. 93-102. (Read pp. 100-109 of the PDF version.)

Soule, S.  (2005). Voting and political participation of the we the people: the citizen and the constitution alumni in the 2004 election. Center for Civic Education. (Click here for p. 4)

Optional Readings:

Gerston, L. N. (2002). Public policymaking in a democratic society: a guide to civic engagement. M.E. Sharpe Inc., NY.

Hartley, K. (2005). ISTE national educational technology standards. An online tutorial.

21st Century Skills:

Lemke, C. (2003). Standards for a modern world. Learning and Leading with Technology, 31(1), pp. 6-9, 20-21, online supplement.

Partnership for 21st Century Skills (2002). Learning for the 21st century.

Salpeter, J. (2003). 21st century skills: will our students be prepared? TechLearning, October 15.

Course Purpose:

The purpose of this course is to introduce teachers to three curricular programs (Project Citizen, Primary VOICE/VOICE, and We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution) available for use in elementary and secondary public schools. Students will relate these programs to pedagogical standards identified by the National Council for the Social Studies and relate the importance of research-based perspectives when delivering citizenship instruction. Descriptions of individual curricular programs and objectives as well as the course logistics appear below.

We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution (Saturday, March 24)
Description: The primary goal of We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution is to promote civic competence and responsibility among the nation's elementary and secondary students. The instructional program enhances students' understanding of the institutions of American constitutional democracy. At the same time, students discover the contemporary relevance of the Constitution and Bill of Rights.


Teachers will:

  • Have the capacity to competently deliver the content of the We the People curriculum
  • Identify content standards that relate to the We the People curriculum
  • Demonstrate lessons that reinforce the applicability of the program
  • Engage in collaborative projects that replicate student-based activities
  • Participate in a simulated hearing
  • List logistical considerations for setting up hearings and identify possible accommodations for students with special needs
  • Locate judges for a hearing
9:00-9:15 Introductions
9:15-9:35 Overview of Agenda
9:35-9:50 Introduction to Curriculum and Textbook Review
9:50-10:00 Correlation to Program Standards
10:00-10:35 Lesson Demonstration and Debrief Lesson
10:35-10:45 Break
10:45-11:45 Lesson Demonstration and Debrief Lesson
11:45-12:30 Lunch
12:30-2:30 Hearing Preparation (Group Work)
2:30-3:30 Simulated Congressional Hearing Presentations, Debriefing, Evaluation, and
"Next Steps"
3:30-4:00 Textbook Registration
4:00-4:30 Workshop Evaluation and Final Thoughts

Project Citizen (Saturday, March 31)
Description: Project Citizen is a curricular program for middle and high school grade students that promotes competent and responsible participation in local and state government. The program helps young people learn how to monitor and influence public policy. In the process, they develop support for democratic values and principles, tolerance, and feelings of political efficacy. Entire classes of students or members of youth organizations work cooperatively to identify a public policy problem in their community. They then research the problem, evaluate alternative solutions, develop their own solution in the form of a public policy, and create a political action plan to enlist local or state authorities to adopt their proposed policy. Participants develop a portfolio of their work and present their project in a hearing showcase before a panel of civic-minded community members.


Teachers will:
  • Define and provide examples of public policy
  • Have the capacity to competently deliver the content of the Project Citizen curriculum
  • Work collaboratively to
    • Identify and research a community problem
    • Develop a portfolio and display board
    • List logistics of delivering a public on a public policy problem
  • Identify program implementation strategies for use in grades 3-12

9:00-9:10 Introductions and Agenda
Importance of Civic Education
9:25-9:30 Introduction to We the People Curricula
9:30-10:00 Project Citizen Overview
10:00-10:45 Teaching Project Citizen
10:45-10:55 Break
10:55-11:20 Measuring Student Learning with Project Citizen
Wrap up and Q/A

Primary VOICE and VOICE (Saturday, March 31)
Description: Primary VOICE is an innovative social studies curriculum that incorporates conflict resolution, law-related education, and service learning while promoting critical reading skills. Using children’s literature, the 12-lesson curriculum introduces students to the concept of governance, develops their understanding of responsibility, focuses them on conflict resolution, and engages them in a service-learning project. VOICE, the secondary-level corollary, combines law education, peer mediation, and service learning to educate students about our democratic government and how to resolve conflicts peacefully. The curriculum features over 50 lessons designed to increase academic achievement, foster peaceful resolution of conflict, and spark community service.


Teachers will:
  • Identify childhood development characteristics leading to personal creation of habits and attitudes
  • Explain the U.S. legal system and Constitutional laws relating to the judiciary
  • Utilize various interactive teaching methodologies to instruct K-12 students on conflict resolution topics
  • Have the capacity to competently deliver the content of the Project VOICE curricula
  • Identify children's literature focusing on issues of governance, responsibility, conflict resolution, and service learning
Introduction and Rationale
Visitor from Outer Space (Understanding Our Rights)
Preamble Quilt (Exploring the Meaning of the Bill of Rights)
No Pets Allowed (Evaluating a Law)
Three Wishes (Conflict and Consensus Building)
No Vehicles in the Park (Evaluating a Law)


Students must attend all course sessions to receive a passing grade in this course.

Course grades are based on percentage of points earned. Below is a listing of points needed to receive the following final grades:

Required Percentage
< 80

Graded assignments appear below (click on each assignment for assignment descriptions):

Project Citizen Assignment
PrimaryVOICE/VOICE Assignment
04/31/07 15
We the People Assignment
04/31/07 25

Late Assignments: Unless students procure prior permission from the instructor, a 10-20% penalty per day will occur for work turned in past noon PST on its due date.

Revisions: With prior permission from the instructor, students may edit graded work for re-evaluation. The final grade for the assignment will be the average between the original and edited works.

Attendance and Absence Policy

Attendance and active participation in all classes is required. Students must contact the instructor in case of illness, emergencies, or other events that preclude attending class meetings, fully participating in class activities, or completing assignments on time. Students making prior arrangements with the instructor may be permitted to drop the class without receiving a failing grade. Leave email or phone messages any time of the day or night.
 College and University Policies
 Assistance for Disability in Learning

The UNLV Disability Resource Center (DRC) houses the resources for students with disabilities. If you have a documented disability that may require accommodations, you will need to contact the DRC for the coordination of services. The DRC is located in the Student Services Complex (SSC), Room 137. Their numbers are (702) 895-0866/Voice, (702) 895-0652/TDD, and (702) 895-0651/Fax. For additional information, please visit http://www.unlv.edu/studentlife/drc.
 Academic Honesty

UNLV and its College of Education demand a high level of scholarly behavior and academic honesty on the part of students and faculty. Violations by students while carrying out academic assignments and procedural steps for dealing with academic integrity are delineated within the Handbook of Regulation Governing Probation and Suspension within the College of Education. This publication is available in the Curriculum and Materials Library (CEB 101), the Curriculum and Instruction Department Office (CEB 345), and the Office of the College of Education Dean (CEB 301).

NB: Sometimes subject matter of classes overlap and assignments can meet requirements for multiple classes. If this is the case, standards of academic honesty require that you inform your instructors of your intentions and get approval before pursuing the assignments.

The University requires all members of the university community to familiarize themselves with its policies and to follow copyright and fair use requirements. You are individually and solely responsible for violations of copyright and fair use laws. The University will neither protect nor defend you nor assume any responsibility for employee or student violations of fair use laws. Violations of copyright law could subject you to federal and state civil penalties and criminal liability as well as disciplinary action under University policies. To familiarize yourself with copyright and fair use policies, the University encourages you to visit its copyright website at http://www.unlv.edu/committees/copyright.

 Professional Ethics and Program Expectations

In addition to successful academic performance in your course work, you must prescribe to a professional course governed by a standard code of ethics and programmatic expectations. The Handbook of the Committee to Review Initial Licensure of Students outlines the UNLV Student Code of Conduct, NEA Code of Ethics for the Teaching Profession, and ICE Student Expectations. The Handbook is available in the Curriculum and Instruction office (CEB 354). Misdemeanor or felonious conviction(s) may bar teacher licensure in Nevada or other states. If you have any questions, please direct them to the Director of Teacher Education, CEB 301, (702) 895-4851.

© 2007 Christy Keeler, Ph.D.