top of page

Resource Bank for Civic & Character Education

Updated October 2022

General Frameworks for Teaching Civics


Reading and Reflection


Robert Austin (August 2017). “Overview of Civics in the Utah Core Standards for Social Studies,” YouTube video 

Carnegie Corporation of New York (2011). “Guardian of Democracy: The Civic Mission of Schools,”

David Davenport for the Hatch Center (2020). Commonsense Solutions to our Civics Crisis. 

Peter Levine and Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg (2017). The Republic is (Still) at Risk—and Civics is Part of the Solution. Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life, Tufts University.

National Council for the Social Studies (2017). C3 Framework.

Utah State Board of Education (2016). Utah Core State Standards for Social Studies.

Utah State Board of Education (2018). Social Studies Curriculum and Lesson Plan Toolbox.


Resource Centers and Learning Networks


American Enterprise Institute

Annenberg Classroom

The Bob Graham Center

Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools

Center for Civic Education


Educating for American Democracy (new for 2021!

The Lou Frey Institute

National Council for the Social Studies

Utah Education Network (UEN) Social Studies Resources


Classroom Instruction I: Foundations of Democracy

Reading and Reflection


ConSource. (n.d.). Give and Take to Create a Constitution (Lesson Plan).

Parker, W. C., & Lo, J. C. (2016). Reinventing the High School Government Course: Rigor, Simulations, and Learning from Text. Democracy and Education, 24(1), 6.


Resource Centers and Learning Networks


Annenberg Classroom

Bill of Rights Institute

Civic Action Project's Constitutional Rights Foundation

DocsTeach's The Constitution

Edsitement (National Endowment for the Humanities)

Foundations of Democracy Series

ICivics: Foundations of Government

National Archives DocsTeach

The Interactive Constitution (also an app)

Classroom Instruction II: Civic Responsibilities & Skills


Reading and Reflection

Kirlin, M. (2003). The Role of Civic Skills in Fostering Youth Civic Engagement.


Resource Centers, Learning Networks, and Apps








Character & Social-Emotional Learning


Reading and Reflection


Jonathan Cohen (2006). Social, Emotional, Ethical, and Academic Education: Creating a Climate for Learning, Participation in Democracy, and Well-Being. Harvard Educational Review, 76(2), 201–237.

V. Clayton (2017). The Psychological Approach to Educating Kids. The Atlantic.

Patty O’Grady, PhD. (2015). 7 Habits of Happy Children. Psychology Today.

Arianna Prothero (2021). How to Teach Older Students Social-Emotional Skills? Try Civics. Education Week 

Smart Connection. (2018). Collin Kartchner Interview.

Pennsylvania State University. (2018). School Climate and Social and Emotional Learning: The Integration of Two Approaches.

Syvertsen, A. K., Wray-Lake, L., & Metzger, A. (2016). Civic and Character Development: Good Data Starts with Good Measures. CIRCLE.


Resource Centers and Learning Networks

CASEL: Sample-Teaching-Activities-to-Support-Core-Competencies

Character Education (Public Schools of North Carolina)

Morningside Center SEL and Restorative Practices: Classroom Activities

Current Events and Contemporary Debates


Reading and Reflection


Barton, K., & Levstik, L. S. (2004). Teaching History for the Common Good.

Better Angels Documentary (2018).

Campbell, D. (2008). Voice in the Classroom: How an Open Classroom Climate Fosters Political Engagement Among Adolescents, Political Behavior, 30(4), 437–454.

Civic Discourse at the Constitutional Convention (Lesson Plan).

Difficult Dialogues and Hot Moments in the Classroom (2017). Center for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching.

Episode 61 Civic Education & Bridging the Partisan Divide with Chris Clark.

Hess, D. (2011). Discussions That Drive Democracy. Educational Leadership, 6.

Journell, W. (2014). Teaching Politics in the U.S. History Classroom. The History Teacher, 48, 55–69.

Moodie, D. (n.d.). Current Events Lesson.

Nokes, J. (2019). Teaching History, Learning Citizenship. Teachers College Press.

Spiegler, J. (2014). Teaching about Controversial or Difficult Issues | Morningside Center for Teaching Social Responsibility.



Resource Centers and Learning Networks


The Choices Program (Brown University).

The Civil Debate Wall

Deliberating in a Democracy—Constitutional Rights Foundation.

Facing History and Ourselves

Utah Education Network: Holocaust and Genocide Education

ISideWith: Voting guide for elections, political issues, candidates, and poll data.

Mikva Challenge

The Political Classroom: Resources for Teachers—Pros and Cons of Controversial Issues

Utah 3 Rs Project (undergoing revival in 2021) 



Academic Service Learning and Experiential Civics


CIRCLE (2017).  When Civic Skill Development Translates to Broader Youth Development: A Program Profile.

Daneels, Mary Ellen (2020). Experiential Civics Toolkit for Utah teachers:

Daneels, Mary Ellen (2020) Service Learning Webinar (one hour):

Dill, M. (2008). How to Implement Easy Service Learning Projects in Your Grade School Classroom.  Bright Hub Education.

Education Commission of the States (2019). 50-State Comparison: State Policies for Service-Learning.

Edutopia (2015). Service Learning: Real-Life Applications for Learning.

Edutopia (2019). Building Empathy Through Community Projects.

Generation Citizen (2022)  The Generation Citizen curriculum is meant to be integrated during class time, tying it to state standards. Contact for more info:

Guardians of Democracy Teachers (2022). Informed Action Through Service Learning Course. 

Illinois Civics Hub (2021). Service Learning Toolkit. 

Lander, Jessica (2020) article that dives into academic service learning examples from her classroom:

Massachusetts Civics for All (2020).

Massachusetts Department of Education (2022) Civic Projects Guidebook. This is designed to support a new service learning requirement in Massachusetts. 

Sutherland Institute (2020) Muscle Up: Expert Panel discusses new civics and ‘Muscular Activism’ as it relates to Public Ed. 

Visit their Research Insights for more articles about civics education. 

Wolpert-Gawron, H. (2016). What the Heck Is Service Learning? Edutopia.

We Are America Project works with teachers and students across the country to share personal stories of what it means to be American. The application for Cohort 2 of the national project is open (as of July 13, 2020) and panelist Jessica Lander would love for Utah teachers to apply. 

Westheimer, Joel and Joseph R. Kahne. What Kind of Citizen.

Practical Tools to Facilitate Civic Engagement


Directory of Nonprofits Prepared to Partner on Experiential Civics* ​

  • American Legion Auxiliary Department of Utah: Girls State is  a week-long program for girls who have completed their junior year of high school to learn more about the inner workings of city, county, state and national government. Girls attending the program experience governmental procedure by simulating political campaigns, elections, and the political process. They also learn about the principles of citizenship and public service from guest speakers, expert panels, and staff members.

  • Better Days 2020: resources for social studies and language arts classrooms that center Utah women's history in the curriculum.

  • Generation Citizen: The GC curriculum is meant to be integrated during class time, tying it to state standards. For more info:

  • JustServe: find service and volunteer opportunities where you live (also has an app). This non-denominational program is operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

  • Latinos in Action (LIA) offers an asset-based approach to bridging the graduation and opportunity gap for Latino students, working from within the educational system to create positive change

  • League of Women Voters Salt Lake brings a short interactive curriculum on civics and voting to Utah classrooms. Students have an opportunity to register to vote during class. From the League's website click on Get Involved, then scroll down to open Vote 18.  Note: #4 of the pdf contains Voterise Registration link walking students through the process. 

  • Pacific Island Knowledge 2 Action: PIK2AR is a strength-based ecosystem of programs and events that eliminates violence, empowers, improves health, gives dignity and hope by increasing personal and financial growth into ethnic and under-served households, promote and perpetuates all Pacific Island cultures creating alliances and bridging across all communities sharing resources, education, and support.

  • Utah 211: find service and volunteer opportunities where you live (also has an app). Operated by United Way of Salt Lake in conjunction with other Utah United Ways.

  • Utah Council for Citizen Diplomacy promotes respect and understanding between the people of Utah and other nations. The Young Diplomats of Utah program, which fosters future leaders by introducing them to diverse cultures and communities, international relations and world affairs, and the humanities. See our October 2021 Spotlight feature

  • USERVE Utah: operated by the 2020 conference sponsor, a 1-stop shop for service and community engagement opportunities

  • UEN Service Projects

  • Utah Law-Related Education provides law-related and citizenship education for Utah's youth and communities through interactive educational experiences and curricula which foster an understanding of the law, the legal system, and their rights and responsibilities as engaged citizens. Host of Mock Trials (see new virtual format!), We the People The Citizen and the Constitution, We The People: Project Citizen, Salt Lake Peer Court, other simulation programs. 

  • Voterise:  Visits high schools and colleges to teach the importance of voting and then helps students register to vote.

*In most instances it is up to teachers and students to tie community service to civic learning per se.


Media/Digital Literacy


Reading and Reflection - This is something we created that has lesson materials for curriculum for digital age civics.

Barthel, M. (2018). Can Americans Tell Factual from Opinion Statements in the News? Pew Research Center’s Journalism Project:

Stony Brook Center for News Literacy. Course Pack:

Data Defenders (Grades 4-6). (2018). MediaSmarts:

I Don’t Buy It: Critical Media Literacy in the Fifth Grade. (2016). National Council for the Social Studies:

Newman, N. (2019). Overview and Key Findings of the 2018 Digital News Report.

Part of a Community Online. (2017, September 25). Teaching Tolerance website:

Sensible Consumers. (2017). Teaching Tolerance:

TEDx Talks. (2018). Can flip phones end our social media addiction? | Collin Kartchner | TEDxSaltLakeCity.

The Media Insight Project. (2018, June 11). Americans and the News Media: What they do — and don’t — understand about each other. American Press Institute:

The News Literacy Project. (2014). Connected Classrooms Summer PD: Virtual Learning with the News Literacy Project.

Vanessa Otero. Choose Your News: Bias and Quality in the U.S. Media.



Resource Centers and Learning Networks


Civic Online Reasoning | Stanford History Education Group

NetSafe Utah


News Literacy Project (See Checkology resources, which require a subscription)




School Climate & Community


Reading and Reflection

Cohen, J. School Climate: Engaging the Whole Village, Teaching the Whole Child. The Challenge, 16(4).

Numbers Tell a Story: Using School Climate Data to Drive Student Engagement and Motivation. WestEd:

Scanlan, M., & López, F. (2012). ¡Vamos! How School Leaders Promote Equity and Excellence for Bilingual Students: Educational Administration Quarterly.

Thapa, A., & Guffey, S. (2012). SCHOOL CLIMATE RESEARCH SUMMARY: August 2012. National School Climate Center, 21.

Pennsylvania State University. (2018). School Climate and Social and Emotional Learning: The Integration of Two Approaches.


Resource Centers and Learning Networks


Anti-Defamation League: Anti-Bias Tools & Strategies

Teaching Tolerance: Topics that Shape Student Lives.

Utah Education Network: Supporting Students New to America

Utah Education Network: Equity & Advocacy Parent & Student Toolkit

Simulations of Democratic Processes & Extracurricular Activities​

Reading and Reflection


Beard, D. (2017). Civics and Expanded Learning Opportunities. School’s Out Washington:

Kawashima-Ginsberg, K. (2014). Harry, Hermione, Ron, and Neville—Portraits of American Teenagers’ Extracurricular Involvement and Implications for Educational Interventions (No. 80). CIRCLE.

Research and Evaluation—We the People. (web page of studies).

Thomas, R. J., & McFarland, D. A. (2010). FEATURED: Extracurricular Activities May Increase Likelihood of Voting.  CIRCLE.


Resource Centers and Learning Networks

4-H Hands-On Learning & Education Programs for Kids

Better Days 2020 Projects

Future Business Leaders of America

Future Educators – Helping America’s Future Teachers

Future Farmers of America

Junior Statesmen of America (Be the People)

Spy Hop in Schools

Utah High School Activities Association Speech & Debate.

Utah Film Center Media Education: For Teachers and Students

Utah History Day – Utah Division of State History

Utah Law Related Education—home of We The People, We The People, Mock Trials (see new virtual format!), and more.

Utah League of Cities and Towns

Key Club: Service Program for High School Students

National Model United Nations





Student Voice


Reading and Reflection

Alberty, E. (2019). After students describe racism at a Utah high school, advisory committee says ‘Redmen’ mascot should go.  The Salt Lake Tribune

Pace, Judith L. (2016). Cultivating Student Voice and Civic Engagement in Elementary School. Theory and Research in Social Education, 44: 277-282

Mitra, D., Serriere, S., & Stoicovy, D. (2012). The role of leaders in enabling student voice: Management in Education.

Assessment & Evaluation

LEADE (Leveraging Equity and Access in Democratic Education). A program co-sponsord by UC Riverside and UCLA  This describes our program for working with districts on assessment strategies. 

High Quality Civics: What it is and who gets it 

Dr. Jane Lo's powerpoint presentation

Billig, Shelley, Sue Root, and Dan Jesse (2005). The Impact of Participation in Service-Learning on High School Students’ Civic Engagement. CIRCLE Working Paper #30. Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement.

Gingold, J. (2013). Building an evidence-based practice of action civics: The current state of assessments and recommendations for the future (CIRCLE Working Paper 78). Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement.

Institute of Education Sciences, US Department of Education (2021). Measuring Civic Readiness: A Review of Survey Scales. 

Parker, W. C., & Lo, J. C. (2016). “Give us your best advice”: Assessing deep political learning. Social Education, 80(4), 227–231.

Syvertsen, A. K., Wray-Lake, L., & Metzger, A. (2016). Civic and Character Development: Good Data Starts with Good Measures. CIRCLE.

Contemporary Debates
Academic Service Learning & Skill Building

Resources for Teaching about the Crisis in Ukraine

bottom of page