Thursday, August 25, 2016

Great Teacher Resources – by Mike Siekkinen

If you’re teaching history, civics, or government, have you heard of It’s great, and I use it with my students.

iCivics is a non-profit organization dedicated to reinvigorating civic learning through interactive and engaging learning resources. Founded and led by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, iCivics provides students with the tools they need for active participation and democratic action, and teachers with the materials and support to achieve this. The site has educational games that my students love playing. Games vary from having students take on the role of the President of the United States, making decisions as well as working with all the different departments in Washington, to running a law firm where students match lawyers and clients cases learning the Bill of Rights. There are also games showing what happens during a jury trial and demonstrates how local government works.

The site is free and also has loads of teacher materials. In addition to lesson plans, there’s a section on webquests covering multiple topics. Also available are entire teaching units on multiple subjects as well as access to source documents. There’s a search engine on the site where you can select your state and by standard, icivics will display which games and areas tailor specifically to your state’s standards. I encourage you to check out this free, interactive, fun and informative site that students love. I have been using this for a number of years and my students really enjoy it! It’s also available on multiple platforms (internet, IPAD's, Chromebooks, etc.) so it’s easy to get to no matter what kind of technology your school is using.

If you’ve tried iCivics, what do you think of it?

Dr. Mike Siekkinen, a retired U.S. Navy submariner, became a teacher as a second career. He teaches history at St Marys Middle School as well as Adult and Career Education at Valdosta State in Georgia.