On September 24-25, hundreds of K-12 educators and school and district leaders across the Commonwealth joined together virtually for the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) Annual Civic Literacy Conference. This year the focus of the conference was Civic Knowledge, Skills, and Dispositions: Building Student Capacity for Civic Engagement.
Discovering Justice Education Program Director, Laura Brenner, and Boston Public Schools Grade 5 Teacher, Jessica Hyland led a workshop for teachers and administrators called Active Engagement and Critical Thinking: Mock Trials in the Elementary Classroom. The Workshop laid out Discovering Justice’s new virtual mini mock trial units for grades 1-5 to be used either online or in the classroom. The modules range from lessons on how to mediate disputes using the Boston Massacre as a context to discussing ownership rights, using Native American artifacts at a museum as a case study.
This summer, a team of teachers from Lowell and Boston Public Schools worked with Discovering Justice to create these new standards aligned virtual units to be piloted this fall 2020. DJ’s new virtual units are designed to meet students’ and teachers’ current needs by being:
- fully accessible and usable virtually (online powerpoint and accompanying virtual worksheets can be used for any model of teaching)
- inquiry based
- covers key history & social sciences practice, literacy, and content standards in 7-10 lessons
- flexible to be used as a stand alone unit or to extend, enhance, & supplement CDJ or other social studies, civics, or ELA curriculum
- created by teachers, for teachers
- connected to themes in current events
Teachers or administrators interested in piloting one of these virtual units can find the overview and materials here. If you are interested in this program please sign up here. Please feel free to share these resources with your colleagues and networks.