A core element of Civic Spirit’s methodology is the 15 Shared Aims, co-written by Civic Spirit middle and high school teachers. This list aligns with our three pillars–Democratic Fluency, Civic Belonging, and Civic Skills–was designed to delineate an accessible way for educators to set teaching goals in consideration of competencies related to civic education that they desire to see in their students.
Our Director of Education partnered with Tani Cohen-Fraade, the Director of History at Luria Academy, to plan a scope and sequence in line with the Shared Aims to imbue a sense of “civic spirit” throughout the school.
7th and 8th graders studied the foundations of government with a deep dive into Hobbes and Locke. Students explored texts by both men, in order to articulate their philosophy on government and trace the development of the social contract theory. Students at Luria can still be overheard saying to each other, “You’re such a Locke” and “You’re a real Hobbes!”
The first step in the middle school journey towards developing an emotional connection to community and country was with a unit called “Citizen Me”. In this unit, students defined what citizenship means within home, school, city, state, and nation. This included describing key rights and responsibilities of citizens and identifying the source of rights and responsibilities at each level of citizenship. To deepen their understanding, students explored real-life conflicts that arise between rights and responsibilities.
In the next step, students turned inwards for a “Who Am I ?” project. Students examined their own values and character traits and created their own logo/icon that exemplifies key aspects of the self.
Arrow IN indicates labels others use to describe you/Arrow OUT are key aspects of self.
Using their newly invigorated sense of civic belonging, students created a set of Classroom Norms framed around Luria’s Four Commitments. These norms influence the ways classroom members communicate with each other and work toward shared goals.