Take Action! is a civic engagement unit developed for a social studies class at the HSE level. Students learn about the fundamentals and limitations of the municipal, state, and federal levels of government, and apply this knowledge by writing about an issue of importance to them in a formal letter to an elected official.
Three lesson plans from the unit are also fully developed and included here, as well as a project checklist, model note-taker, and template for the formal final letter. The unit and lesson plans use the current ACLS-approved ELA curriculum templates.
Students who participated in this unit have said:
"The most valuable thing was the learning process itself since as an immigrant in Massachusetts, I did not know anything about being able to communicate with the authorities in this state."
"Before the Civic Engagement class, I very rarely thought about how or why I should even waste my time contacting government officials. Because of the Civic Engagement class, I now know that, when I follow the proper procedures, and if I’m persistent, they will eventually answer any inquiries I may have in the future."
- Unit Plan: Take Action! Civic Engagement
- Lesson Plan: Levels of Power
- Lesson Plan: Who Represents Me?
- Lesson Plan: Writing a Letter to Your Representative
- Model note-taker for levels of power
- Template for the formal letter
- Checklist for the formal letter
Brooke Machado developed this unit in collaboration with the SABES ELA PD Center, using materials she had previously taught at the Boston Public Schools Adult Learning Center. Thank you to Amy Trawick (ELA consultant) for her input and Martin O'Brien (JVS Boston) for his ideas about some of the original materials.
Brooke adapted some materials from the following iCivics resources: the "Who Represents Me?" webquest and the "Local Government: Massachusetts" lesson plan. The unit is posted here with the permission of iCivics. Use of these materials is limited to personal study, teaching, and research. Register for a free iCivics account for access to their original materials at www.icivics.org.
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