Popular workshops are highlighted below. We also provide customized training based on a school or district’s specific needs.
We recommend beginning with this foundational workshop that explores the basic principles of Action Civics and the positive impacts for students, schools and communities. Participants will examine the 4 pillars of Action Civics and reflect upon their own instructional practices and current school policies. Participants will identify strengths and growth areas and develop instructional priorities and goals for the year.
Participants then explore the impact of a positive and inclusive classroom as a space where students feel empowered, safe, and challenged, and where leadership and community are practiced regularly. In this session, participants will become familiar with social-emotional learning strategies informed by Action Civics pedagogy to create classrooms where students take ownership of their learning and engage fully as participants of a community. Participants will learn community-building strategies they can immediately use, and examine teacher case studies on how best to infuse democratic practices into the classroom. They will participate in a design process to create intentional, day-to-day opportunities for student leadership the classroom.
The first step to being an active and engaged citizen is to be able to stand up and speak out on an issue that you care about. Challenging the stereotype that young people are apathetic, Mikva’s Project Soapbox curriculum provides an avenue for students to identify a passion and learn effective public speaking skills. Students also learn listening and empathy skills. This workshop walks participants through the Project Soapbox process, including how to organize a schoolwide event and how to utilize social media to amplify youth voices to a larger audience.
Mikva’s six step process for youth activism challenges students to examine their communities from an asset based lens, identify issues of importance to them in their communities, conduct intensive primary research about these issues, analyze power structures in their community, develop strategies for change, and take action to improve policy – while reflecting on the process throughout. Participants will explore each of the six steps in depth, examine and discuss case studies of successful student action civics projects, and discuss key strategies for implementing this community problem-solving process in their classrooms.
Participants will learn strategies that engage students in campaigns and elections by having them explore their own ideologies, learn about the candidates, explore media messages during election season, examine the role of money in elections, and get involved personally in electoral politics through a variety of actions that build confidence in every young person’s belief in their power to effect change. Participants will design ways to incorporate the Mikva Elections in Action curriculum in their school or after school club and develop non-partisan, Action Civics projects around the electoral process.
With the proliferation of fake news sites and the fact that most youth consume news through social media outlets, developing critical news literacy is essential for the health of democracy. Participants will learn strategies to engage students in critical news analysis and in the development of skills needed to critically consume news. Participants will also learn how to support students in taking action on an issue (or issues) they care about using the skills and mediums analyzed throughout the unit. Student-created media projects will be explored as well as how these actions can transform students’ knowledge and attitudes towards the political process.
One of the hardest parts of the Action Civics process is engaging students in meaningful action projects. This workshop will help teachers connect learning objectives for their students to project outcomes and explore the continuum of actions with a focus on process rather than product. Participants will explore the difference between service-learning and civic action and utilize frameworks to create sustainable change.
Many teachers shy away from teaching civics because of the controversial nature of certain topics and the challenge of navigating those conversations in class. But if school is not a place to share divergent viewpoints, where will students learn the skill of engaging in civic discourse? This session will offer strategies for teachers as they embark on civic dialogue as well as address the trauma that students bring to our classrooms that sometimes surfaces in Soapbox speeches and discussion and how to effectively address it and support students.
Mikva’s Issues to Action curricula and process allows students to explore identity, community, and how to advocate for a more just and equitable society. The Action Civics process is one tool to amplify ALL voices and engage students through relevant, student-centered, student-driven civic learning. Harnessing student voice leads to more positive classroom and school culture, more responsive school policies, and a stronger school community.