Woodcarving: Assembling Resources for Government and Economics

As will become very evident as I continue to write about my planning, I am a devout member of the church of Understanding by Design.  When I first read it in grad school, my response was pretty much, “ok, that’s how it’s done.”  I’ve probably re-read the text a half dozen times since then, and each time I read it, it reminds me that the vast majority of the mistakes I make can be attributed to not listening to the lessons the book has to offer.

So it’s ironic, then, that I started planning my course by breaking perhaps the most important advice the book has.

Rather than beginning with student outcomes, I began by exploring all the print and electronic resources I’ve been collecting for years, as well as trying to get an idea of what’s out there; to a large degree, I started with content and activities rather than skills and understandings.  As this is the first time I’m ever responsible for students learning about economics, and the first time I will teach government outside of a political philosophy course, I wanted to ground myself in what’s out there before reinventing the wheel.  Having done so over the past couple of days, I’ll now set off on my ritual re-reading of UbD over the coming days, before really starting to plan when I get back from a quick trip to the Great White North for a nice long weekend. Then, I’ll reinvent the wheel, though hopefully from largely recycled parts.

Below are the resources I’ve found for teaching government and economics to which I expect to return.  If you have others to recommend, please share in the comments. (Apologies for not feeling motivated for creating hyperlinked titles). 

What should students know?
NCSS Standards for Social Studies (print)
Voluntary National Econ Standards http://www.fte.org/teacher-resources/voluntary-national-content-standards-in-economics/
National Standards for Civics and Government http://www.civiced.org/index.php?page=912toc
New York Government Curriculum http://www.p12.nysed.gov/ciai/socst/pub/partgov.pdf
New York Economics Curriculum http://www.p12.nysed.gov/ciai/socst/pub/economics.pdf

Applicable Frameworks
Looking for an Argument http://store.tcpress.com/080774557X.shtml

Civics Lesson Sources
Civil Action Project http://www.crfcap.org/mod/resource/view.php?id=3
Diana Laufenberg https://docs.google.com/View?id=dd36n378_61fx8jvqcd
John Fladd – Lord of the Flies http://teachertoys.weebly.com/1/post/2010/09/lord-of-the-flies.html
Facing History: Choosing to Participate http://www.facinghistory.org/resources/publications/choosing-participate
Buck Institute for Education – Project Based Government http://www.bie.org/store/units/pbg_curriculum_units
Center for Civic Education http://www.civiced.org/index.php?page=internet_resources_for_teachers
Street Law http://www.streetlaw.org/en/Audience.4.aspx
Landmark Cases http://www.streetlaw.org/en/landmark.aspx

Econ Lesson Sources
Teaching Economics as if People Mattered http://www.teachingeconomics.org/
Foundation for Teaching Econ http://www.fte.org/teacher-resources/lesson-plans/
Buck Institute Project Based Econ http://www.bie.org/store/units/pbe_curriculum_units
Stock Market Game http://www.smgww.org/cgi-bin/haipage/page.html?tpl=coordinator/participation
Economic Education Web http://ecedweb.unomaha.edu/K-12/6-12.cfm
Econ Island http://www.econisland.com/whatiseconisland

Resources on Media/Advertising
The Persuaders http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/persuaders/
The Merchants of Cool http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/cool/

Resources on Decision Making
Inside the Teenage Brain http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/teenbrain/view/

Resources on Media Literacy
Crap Detection http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/rheingold/detail?entry_id=42805
Critical Thinking Compendium http://critical-thinking.iste.wikispaces.net/

Potential Essential Questions
Why do people do what they do? (http://youarenotsosmart.com/2011/06/10/the-backfire-effect/)
How do I know when something is right?
To what extent do you control who you are?
To what extent do you control what you think?
To what extent are you in control of your life?
To what extent are you in control of your neighborhood, your future?

Previous Posts in the Series

2 thoughts on “Woodcarving: Assembling Resources for Government and Economics

  1. good stuff as usual…thanks for the links…UBD was first exposed to me through a poorly planned PD experience complete with pushing Wiggins as some guru and in a condescending atmosphere, so I was turned off from the start and had to come back to it in more constructive conditions, and I was like “yeah, i already kind of design backwards – ya gotta start w/what you want them to do and get there”…. i was designing this way less often in my first couple of years, so i’m glad i got exposed to it….anyway – yeah, me and UBD have an interesting history – it was like someone you hate at first then come to like


Comments are closed.