WeAreTeachers and Pearson Sponsor Contest Inspired by the College, Career and Civic Life Framework for Social Studies State Standards

ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Nov. 20, 2013 – Six talented educators from around the country are the winners in the National Civics Education Contest, sponsored by Pearson and WeAreTeachers. Inspired by the goals of the College, Career and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies State Standards, the contest honors classroom teachers for outstanding civics projects, ideas and activities that capture students’ interest and motivate them to be informed about the social and political world around them.

Developed by state leaders in social studies education and supported by 15 professional organizations representing four core social studies content areas: civics, economics, geography, and history, the primary purpose of the C3 Framework for Social Studies State Standards is to provide guidance to states and districts on the concepts, skills and disciplinary tools necessary to prepare students for college, career and civic life.

“The projects developed by these six outstanding educators exemplify the creative approaches that will engage students in their communities and prepare them to be participatory citizens throughout their lives,” said Pearson Senior Vice President Lynda Cloud.

A panel of experts reviewed the contest entries and selected the following three grand prize winners who will receive a trip to the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) conference in St. Louis, Mo., Nov. 22-24, 2013:

• Dave Keller, Piedmont High, Piedmont, Calif.: “There Ought To Be A Law” – Students identify a social problem, define a solution to the problem and design a law that will implement the solution. They write a proposal for their law, a bill and participate in a mock legislative assembly to debate the merits of their idea. With their tested, debated and revised bills, students then lobby local lawmakers.
• Missy Locke, Richland Elementary, Lynnville, Tenn. – “Safety First” – The students research safety within the school community and identify areas of need. Once knowledge is gained, the students devise a plan of action and present it to the proper officials.
• Tania Torres, Edcouch Elsa High School, Edcouch, Texas: “Edcouch Elsa Walk Out Symposium: Celebrating Youth as Change Agents” – This student-led symposium explores the school’s 1968 walkout by Mexican- American students in protest of unfair treatment by educators, dilapidated school conditions and punishment for speaking Spanish. Students research the history of the Edcouch Elsa Walk Out and conduct short interviews with community members who were directly involved in the walk out. They access local historical archives from the school, newspapers and research documents to create of timeline of events. Students also perform music, read poetry and showcase other talent to represent the beauty and strength of the community and the legacy of the walkout.

Three merit prize winners also received a 15 GB iPod Mini and $50 in Pearson resources:

• Patsy Buckner, Meigs Middle Magnet, Nashville, Tenn.: “Hammurabi’s Code v Capital Punishment: Cruel and Unusual??” – The students research and compare Hammurabi’s Code and capital punishment in Tennessee. They choose pros and cons of each in preparation for a debate. The 8th Amendment along with the law code is examined as well as how the Court’s decisions have impacted state choices and laws as well as the rights of citizens. Finally, students participate in a debate.
• Darla Gerlach, Shaler Area Middle School, Glenshaw, Penn.: “Planting a Connection with Your Community” – Students research indigenous plants and trees in their community and develop one or more historical gardens that exemplify how the plants contribute to the aesthetics of the community’s environment; the importance of preserving indigenous plants; and the civic duty of individuals to maintain the integrity of the physical appearance of their community.
• Heather Klos, Crownover Middle School, Denton, Texas: “What’s the Point of Voting?” – A voting public service announcement (PSA) is created to encourage the public, especially the youngest eligible population, to vote. It features the rights and responsibilities of voting, the role of a voter, and why each vote counts. The PSA includes interviews from voters, their experiences and their feelings on their role in the government through voting.

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