Civic Renewal through Education for Agency, Tolerance, and Engagement

Overview

CREATE is an innovative approach to instruction, student learning and professional development in civics, that integrates American history, geography, government, and media literacy.

CREATE builds on both cutting-edge approaches to civic learning, integrating, and adapting multiple evidence-based strategies and tracking and assessing the resultant outcomes to produce a scalable model for building the civic capacity of communities through their K12 schools.

The CREATE project has five main components:

  1. Civic Learning Repository: an extensive set of resources pertaining to civics, American history, geography, government, and media literacy. The repository will include standards-based lesson plans, PD modules, videos, annotated primary sources, and civic learning activities for classroom and community or community-involved settings.

  2. Professional Development Opportunities: These are intended to enhance and multiply the resources and skills teachers bring to civics and civics-related courses.

  3. Summer Civic Learning Academy: This 14-day program will immerse at least teachers annually in a compressed version of the sort of civics and history curriculum we are asking them to deliver to their students. The Academy will also immerse at least 30 students annually in the same curriculum simultaneously with teachers, providing teachers an opportunity to see students co-direct their own civic learning and preparing students to model such agentic learning in their classrooms.

  4. Teacher-Initiated, Student-Designed Civics and History Projects and Field Trips: Our project includes funding, for teachers with innovative ideas, existing institutional resources, and identified opportunities for modeling constructive civic practices.

  5. Annual Civic Learning Symposium: This symposium will present a unique opportunity to address gaps in teacher knowledge about civic agency and to model engaged citizenship for students. This annual symposium will involve national experts in civics and history as event speakers.

CREATE Introduction Video

CREATE is designed to enhance educators’ capacity to foster three types of civic learning in students: civic knowledge, or an understanding of American history and political development, governmental structures and processes, and relevant social studies knowledge and concepts; civic skills, or the capacities that enable students to participate in a democracy as free, responsible, deliberative, and productive citizens; and civic dispositions, or the attitudes important in a democracy such as a sense of responsibility for one’s community and nation, an awareness of a shared fate with fellow citizens, curiosity about the challenges and opportunities of public life, and concern for the welfare of others. Our aim is to equip schools to foster civic agency in their students: the capacity to work across differences for shared purposes, in line with their considered values yet in pursuit of a commonwealth reflecting as many divergent perspectives and lifeways as basic justice, general health, and universal dignity can accommodate.

See Our March 2024 Newsletter Here 

The CREATE project is supported through the U.S. Department of Education and aligned with the American History and Civics Education-National Activities program, which is funded by Congress as part of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), Public Law 114–95.

In cooperation with Muncie Community Schools (MCS), Ball State developed CREATE as an innovative approach to instruction, student learning, and professional development in civics that will integrate American history, geography, government, and media literacy.

Dr. Anand R. Marri, dean of Ball State University's Teachers College, and Dr. David J. Roof, associate professor of Educational Studies, serve as co-principal investigators for the project.

The team from Ball State will also includes: Dr. Jill Bradley-Levine, associate professor of Educational Studies; Dr. Jerrell C. Cassady, professor of Psychology-Educational PsychologyKate H. Elliott, lecturer of Journalism; and Dr. Michael T. Ndemanu, associate professor of Multicultural Education.

The CREATE project comes at a critical time in our nation’s history. The U.S. faces a civic crisis: its citizenry is divided, its politics gridlocked, and the major institutions through which a diverse people learn about and deliberate with one another—government, the media, and educational systems—are increasingly mistrusted. The is a critical need for quality civics education, content, curriculum.

Our goal is to increase students’ and teachers’ understanding of civics, American history, government, media, and geography.

Our Mission

The CREATE mission is to co-create a model for building the civic capacity of students in our community through our K-12 schools.

The CREATE project was designed to engage all teachers and administrators across the K-12 spectrum. We believe that everyone involved in education play a role in cultivating the skill and dispositions that prepare students for life in our society.

CREATE is directly focused on hands-on civic engagement activities for teachers and students.

Our Vision

CREATE’s vision is model that plants the seeds for a civic identity that is values-based and action-oriented without being polarizing. To cultivate teachers and students who are co-learners and co-directors of their classroom learning community.

The vision for this project is to enhance educators’ capacity to foster three types of civic learning in students: civic knowledge, or an understanding of American history and political development, governmental structures and processes, and relevant social studies knowledge and concepts; civic skills, or the capacities that enable students to participate in a democracy as free, responsible, deliberative, and productive citizens; and civic dispositions, or the attitudes important in a democracy such as a sense of responsibility for one’s community and nation, an awareness of a shared fate with fellow citizens, curiosity about the challenges and opportunities of public life, and concern for the welfare of others. Our aim is to equip schools to foster civic agency in their students: the capacity to work across differences for shared purposes, in line with their considered values yet in pursuit of a commonwealth reflecting as many divergent perspectives and lifeways as basic justice, general health, and universal dignity can accommodate.

CREATE seeks to cultivate a community of educators, administrators, and those with similar concerns.

CREATE will provide opportunities through a series of monthly workshops designed to equip educators with curricular resources, pedagogical strategies, and relational tools to help teachers guide inclusive, respectful discussions about fundamental civics and historical subjects—both in and outside the classroom.

CREATE Newsletters 

Registration is now open for the Summer Civic Learning Academy

The Summer Civic Learning Academy is a 10-day program that will expose teachers to ideas for civics and history. The Academy will also provide teachers an opportunity to work with students to develop a civic learning project.

The program will held in Muncie and will run from June 17th to June 28th from 10am to 4pm.

Wednesday, June 19 (Juneteenth), and Friday, June 28, are independent workdays with no in-person sessions.

Participating teachers will receive a $3000 stipend and certificate upon completion of the program. Meals will be provided.

APPLY NOW


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The Indiana Bar Foundation is hosting an Indiana Sixth Grade Civics Course Workshop 

Who: Educators teaching the Indiana sixth grade civics course in the 2023-2024 school year

What: Professional development workshop to learn content knowledge and teaching strategies in preparation for the upcoming sixth grade civics course

Where: Indiana Bar Foundation office in Indianapolis (615 N. Alabama St. Indianapolis, IN 46204)

When: Friday March 31 – April 1, 2023

Beginning in the 2023-2024 school year, all sixth grade students will need to take a new civics class.  Join the Indiana Bar Foundation (Foundation) help you prepare to teach this course.

During this workshop, attendees will gain civic knowledge from university professors and teaching pedagogy, techniques, and lessons from mentor teachers.

REGISTER HERE

 

The CREATE project has received excellent regional and national press coverage. Here are a few examples of regional coverage:

General Resources

CREATE can provide up to financial support to Muncie Community School teachers for field trips and innovative activities.  To apply for funding click here

 For information and resources on Field Trips click here.  


Elementary

The CREATE project team and partner organizations have created this repository of resources for civics education and engagement to help teachers.

The resources on this website cover grades K-5 and offer a variety of activities to keep students engaged. All are free and online. Please check back often as we will continue to add resources.

As noted by iCivics, “all students can be civic learners. For many, the elementary school classroom is the first civic space they encounter as they speak up about fairness and engage in other classroom activities that model democratic processes.”

  • Citizenship and Elementary Education- how do you teach that?  While elementary school students may not fully understand federalism, they can learn the basic principles behind citizenship and the role they play on a smaller scale. At this link, an elementary school teacher shared tips on using classroom democracy to teach the power of a voice and the improvement of being informed.
  • Ben’s Guide to U.S. Government for Kids  The educational component the U.S. Government Printing Office’s service, called GPO Access, provides the official online version of legislative and regulatory information. This site provides learning tools for K-12 students, parents, and teachers.

 


Middle School

The CREATE project team and partner organizations have created this repository of resources for civics education and engagement to help teachers.

The resources here cover the middle school grades and offer a variety of activities to keep students engaged in civics, history, and media literacy. All are free and online. Please check back often as we will continue to add resources.

  • iCivics provides traditional paper and digital lesson plans at the middle level. Developed to be easy to grade for you and easy to understand for your students. The iCivics lesson plans are matched to state standards, and the unique readings and activities meet the needs of classrooms across the nation.
  • Junior Scholastic Teaching Kits has a Middle School Civics site. It provides an overview of civics: what it means to be a good citizen, how democracy works, and why staying informed and engaged matters—even as kids.

 

Articles From Our Blog:

High School

The CREATE project team and partner organizations have created this repository of resources for civics education and engagement to help teachers.

The resources here cover the middle school grades and offer a variety of activities to keep students engaged in civics, history, and media literacy. All are free and online. Please check back often as we will continue to add resources.

The following sites have an extensive set of resources for teachers:

 

Contact Us

What makes a good citizen? This is the question we sought to address when we designed the Civic Renewal through Education for Agency, Tolerance, and Engagement or CREATE project.

The CREATE project seek to engage all educators and administrators across the K-12 spectrum as well as those who care about civics, history, and democracy.

For more information, and to subscribe to our quarterly newsletter, please complete the form below.

FOR MEDIA INQUIRIES, email David Roof.