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Civic Literacy Through Curriculum Drama, Grades 6-12

Civic Literacy Through Curriculum Drama, Grades 6-12

December 2008 | 200 pages | Corwin
Stimulate students' imagination and foster inquiry in social studies with standards-based curriculum drama!áThis resource describes an innovative approach for engaging students in the world of social studies through content-rich extended drama activities such as trials, legislative sessions, and international conferences. The author offers step-by-step guidelines for constructing curriculum dramas on essential social studies topics as a means to: Meet NCSS standardsBuild deep understanding of important contentEncourage critical thinking, cooperative learning, and emotional intelligence/character education
About the Author
1. Curriculum Drama: An Engaging Approach to Social Studies
Understanding Curriculum Drama

Using Curriculum Drama to Meet Standards

Emerging From Educational Drama


What’s Next?

2. Constructing Curriculum Drama: Exploring Its Structure
The Inner Workings of Curriculum Drama

Using a Blueprint

Setting the Stage

Multiple Entry Points


What’s Next?

3. Becoming a Senator: Setting the Stage
Starting With a Blueprint: U.S. Constitution

Setting the Stage

Selecting States for the Classroom Senate

Recognizing the Senators: An Event

Researching the States in in the Classroom Senate

Researching U.S. Senators


What’s Next?

4. Political Parties: Building Belief
Consulting With a Blueprint: U.S. Senate

Setting the Stage

Creating Political Affiliations

Recognizing Political Groups: An Event

Constructing a Political Agenda

Classroom Dilemma: Encountering Disbelief


What’s Next?

5. Holding an Election: Engaging in Multiple Entry Points
Setting the Stage

Electing Leaders Within the Party

Consulting With a Blueprint - President Pro Tempore

Thinking Strategically

Secret Ballot Election: An Event

Classroom Dilemma: Breaking Too Soon From an Event


What's Next?

6. Current Events: Doing Legislative Work
Setting the Stage

Consulting With a Blueprint and Constructing Legislation

Introducing Legislation: An Event

Appraising Legislation

Engaging in Committee Work

Classroom Dilemma: Discord in Small Group Work

Curriculum Drama in Action: Committee Work


What’s Next?

7. Constructing a Hearing: Appraising Witness Testimony
Prioritizing Legislation

Setting the Stage

Witness Testimony: An Event

Curriculum Drama in Action: Witness Testimony

Classroom Dilemma: Rupture of Credibility


What’s Next?

8. Constructing a Debate: Taking Legislative Action
Committee Decision

Setting the Stage

Senate Debate: An Event

Curriculum Drama in Action: Senate Debate

Classroom Dilemma: Going Along With Student Decisions


What’s Next?

9. Constructing Curriculum Drama in Other Contexts
Current Events: World Summit on Peace

History: Should Women Vote?

Law: A Criminal Trial

Concluding Words: Letting the World In

A. Oath of Office

B. Research Guidelines: State Report

C. Research Guidelines: Getting to Know a U.S. Senator

D. Activity: Determining Political Affiliations

E. List of Senators in a Classroom Senate

F. Activity: Working on a Political Platform

G. Activity: Creating Legislation

H. Committee Tasks

I. Classroom Legislation: S 125, “Clean Air”

J. Classroom Legislation: S 121, “Reducing Crime”

K. Testimony: Dr. Van Schick

L. Testimony: Mr. Will Cart

M. Activity: Constructing an Amendment

N. Excerpts From a Debaters’ Handbook


"Armed with a belief in the power of the imagination and the human drive for inquiry, Franklin transforms American civics from a stale and static subject into a compelling, student-driven civic discourse. This book is a mix of constructivist philosophy, dramatic technique, and letting the world into the classroom."

Sam Brian, Eighth-Grade Humanities Teacher
Bank Street School for Children, New York, NY

"The author’s approach to curriculum drama supports students gaining a true understanding of the subject matter rather than a limited understanding that may or may not lead to good test scores. Students are encouraged to think and work together to solve problems. These are the skills they will need for a brighter future."

Gayla LeMay, Social Studies Teacher
Louise Radloff Middle School, Duluth, GA

"Rooted in a deep understanding of development and the complexities of curriculum planning, Franklin's book presents with clarity and detail a dynamic view of classroom life that supports students' imagination and creativity, the importance of questioning and critical thinking, and the responsibilities and participation of citizens in a democratic society."

Harriet K. Cuffaro, Professor Emerita
Bank Street College of Education

"Offers educators a powerful method for making learning essential to students’ experience. Once they enter a curriculum drama, students become actors in a dynamic world that engages them intellectually, emotionally, and intuitively. They must sharpen their thinking, communicate effectively, and write and speak persuasively to be part of the action. Franklin is an imaginative and thoughtful guide taking teachers and students into the fertile territory of history brought to life."

Judith Ghinger, Early College Liaison
The City College of New York

“Curriculum drama engages students by activating their imagination on a variety of topics. Through inquiry-based learning, students actively participate as researchers and actors while the teacher serves as the facilitator."

Burnedette Drysdale, Principal
City College Academy of the Arts, New York, NY

"Curriculum drama positions students to take up important civic concepts on their own terms through authentic, participatory activities. Catherine Franklin offers a step-by-step process for engaging adolescents in drama."

Christopher Worthman, Associate Professor
DePaul University

"Using vivid examples from her own teaching, Franklin details the thinking behind the multiple decisions a constructivist teacher has to make prior to, during, and after teaching to maximize the potential of curriculum drama."

Karen Zumwalt, Edward Evenden Professor of Education
Teachers College, Columbia University

Sample Materials & Chapters


Chapter 1: Curriculum Drama

For instructors

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