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All materials and videos in the CT-N State Civics Toolbox are made available to Connecticut Teachers free of charge as part of our commitment to your students!

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State Civics Toolbox Objectives
 
The lessons, videos and activities in the CT-N State Civics Toolbox are designed to help teachers explain the workings of Connecticut's local and state political institutions to middle school and high school students. The generic format of each lesson is designed for teachers to borrow, amend, edit, and enlarge, as they deem necessary, for their classrooms. These activities are appropriate for use in Middle School 7th and 8th grade Social Studies and American History courses and for High School Civics and United States History at all levels. Teachers utilizing the program or designing additional materials should address the Connecticut Framework K-12 Curricular Goals and Standards for Social Studies and the curriculum standards below, taken from the National Council for the Social Studies ten themes. Individual activities should also reflect Howard Gardner's Multiple Intelligences approach to the development of materials and Benjamin Blooms' Taxonomy of higher level thinking skills.[1]


Materials for Your Class

CT-N Educational Video Library
View our growing list of educational video programs.

Classroom Reference Posters
The Connecticut Network offers full size reference posters to Connecticut teachers to help better illustrate the structure and function of state government. Posters are 22 by 34 inches and are available while supplies last.

Maps
Download and use these maps to help students understand the political geography of Connecticut.

CT Congressional Districts ( pdf )
CT State Senate Districts ( pdf )
CT House of Representatives Districts ( pdf )

Connecticut Legislators by District/Town
CT Congressional Districts by town ( doc | html )
CT Senators by District ( html )
CT Representatives by District ( html )

Elections

Campaign Finance Lesson Plans and Activities
Federal and state governments have been proposing and passing various campaign finance reforms since the late 1800's leaving behind a rich history of laws and events. Have any reform efforts worked? How have elections changed since then? Inside this unit teachers will find lesson plans, activities, anticipatory sets and support materials to help you bring this exciting topic into your classroom.

Your Vote: Where Democracy Begins
This series of short videos explains voting in Connecticut and why it is important to cast a vote.

Election Simulation Game
In this simulation game students take roles as candidates, campaign staff, legislators, lobbyists, and voters to construct a working understanding of the importance of political and economic activism in a republican form of government.

Federal vs. State Government

Lesson Plans: The Road to Impeachment
Although the events leading to the resignation of Connecticut's Governor created a period of crisis in the state, they offer several worthwhile lessons related to the structure and function of Connecticut's government. In the following series of lesson plans students will study the relationship between the three branches of government, analyze the differences between the state and federal impeachment process and role-play the duties of government officials during the impeachment proceedings.
 
Understanding the Legislature
A six-part video lecture hosted by Judge Robert Satter detailing the structure and function of the Connecticut General Assembly.

Current Issues

Legislative Debate Activities and Lesson Plans
CT-N has taken traditional core teaching objectives and added our archive of legislative debates (Hot Topics) to challenge students to discover the historical and present day issues surrounding civics. The combination of current public policy issues and creative activities will not only foster a dynamic learning environment, but it will help engage students in the process of government.

CT-N's Capitol Report - Week In Review
Teachers and students can get timely highlights of the debates, decisions and developments at the State Capitol, pulled from our award-winning gavel-to-gavel coverage of state government and public affairs. Whether you're conducting research or tracking an issue, Capitol Report can help you understand the basics of state government-in-progress and capture important moments you may have missed during the week.

Persuasive Writing

Writing Exercise: Legislative Letter
One of the best ways to participate in government at any level is to contact your elected officials and voice your opinion on a particular issue. CT-N has developed the tools to assist you with this activity. This is a great CAPT pre-test! Click here to learn more.

Lesson Plan: Understanding Bias
This interactive writing and discussion activity will engage students in the study of bias as it is used in political debate and decision making, and enable them to evaluate the presentation of material and its importance in making informed decisions. This activity is also a good CAPT practice.

The Role of the Media

Lesson Plan: Journalistic Politics
Students will analyze media products, evaluate the role of "filters" employed in media coverage, including perspective and biases, using selected national issues/events, draw conclusions about how individuals within society determine "truth." Further, they will also uncover the symbiotic nature of the relationship between media and society, and reflect both orally and in writing to synthesize learned concepts and ideas. This lesson is appropriate for high school students in a variety of courses, ranging from Government to English offerings.

Language Arts & Government Interdisciplinary Exercise
In this activity, high school students will recognize the defining characteristics of various categories of newspaper writing, including features (spotlights, in-depth issues, human interest, etc.), news, editorials, and opinions; identify key facts and information from a taped legislative session (who, what, when, why, where, and how); apply and synthesize learning by writing a journalistic piece in a specified mode/point of view; understand that point of view influences the selection of information, the tone of the language used, and the reader's interpretation of the issue.

Research Projects

Lesson Plan: Tracking A Legislator
Students will track a member of the CT legislature whose political life and choices during the course of the semester, or other teacher-selected period, provide the opportunity for students to gain greater civic literacy and understanding through in-depth, multi-perspective analysis. This is a project for the spring semester, as it will coincide with the CT General Assembly when in session.

Reference Tools

Classroom Reference Posters
The Connecticut Network offers full size reference posters to Connecticut teachers to help better illustrate the structure and function of state government. Posters are 22 by 34 inches and are available while supplies last.

Maps
CT Congressional Districts ( pdf | gif )
CT State Senate Districts ( pdf | gif )
CT House of Representatives Districts ( pdf | gif )

Connecticut Legislators by District/Town
CT Congressional Districts by town ( doc | html )
CT Senators by District ( html )
CT Representatives by District ( html )

CT Legislative Officials & Their Duties html | pdf
This page will offer a brief look at the function of Legislative Officials of the Connecticut General Assembly and offer links for more information.

How to Read a Bill html | pdf
The text of a bill is one extra piece of information that helps students gain a deeper insight into the legislative process. This page is provided to help teachers fully utilize the bill information for classroom instruction by understanding its components.

How a Bill Becomes Law (pdf)
Learn about the process that a bill must go through in order to become a law through this flowchart.

This Is Your General Assembly (pdf)
A good overview of how many aspects of the General Assembly works. Including; members, bills, dates, committees, contact information, and much more.

Legislative Terms
Here's a list of terms you'll probably hear while watching the House and Senate on CT-N.
 
Links

Media Links
Connecticut is home to a wealth of print publications and television and radio news sources. The state's broad base of media organizations provides invaluable supplementary material for teachers interested in expanding their "toolbox" to include current local, state and national news.

Educational Links
The following list of web sites has been compiled for the purpose of assisting teachers and students in researching the activities on this web site.

[1] Victor W. Geraci. Table 4.1 Instructional Objectives: Bloom's Taxonomy of Educational Objectives and Table 4.2 Seven Styles of Learning: Summary Chart. In Karolyn Smardz and Shelley J. Smith editors. The Archaeology Education Handbook: Sharing The Past With Kids. New York: Alta Mira Press, 2000.

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Contact Paul Skaff for Educational Resources Requests and Comments. Or call 860.246.1553 x 105