Through an understanding of the terms, rights and responsibilities, learners will investigate how democracy in the United States makes civic virtue possible. How do people in a democratic state use their right to be responsible citizens by practicing the idea of civic virtue?
The learner will:
- define the terms democracy and civic virtue.
- discuss in cooperative groups examples of rights and responsibilities in a democratic state.
- illustrate how people in a democratic state exercise their rights and responsibilities as responsible citizens by practicing the idea of civic virtue.
- Landmark Presidential Speeches video (see Bibliographical References)
- Book- Pay It Forward (see Bibliographical References)
- Poster board, markers, construction paper and other art supplies for poster
- Learner copies of Citizenship Rights & Responsibilities (Handout One)
- Learner copies of Rights and Responsibilities Worksheet (Handout Two)
- Learner copies of Civic Virtue Worksheet (Handout Three)
- Learner copies of Public Service Poster Rubric (Handout Four)
Interactive Parent / Learner Homework: Learners will explain civic virtue to their parents and then ask their parents how they practice the idea of "putting the common good of the community ahead of their own personal concerns." Learners will record their findings on notebook paper and be prepared to share with class.
Hyde, Catherine Ryan. Pay It Forward. New York: Pocket Books, 1999.
Color VHS. Director: Barry Lackman, 1999. ASIN: 0615115845
The Avalon Project Web site: https://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/kennedy.asp
Anticipatory Set: Have learners watch or listen to the last four paragraphs of President John F. Kennedy’s inaugural speech from 1961...
After reading the speech, isolate the phrase "Ask not what your country can do for you--ask what you can do for your country" on the chalkboard. Ask learners "What did President Kennedy mean by this statement?" List these responses on the chalkboard. Ask the learners if they believe Kennedy words had any influence on volunteer actions by citizens as a result of his speech. Explain that Kennedy started the Peace Corps in which citizens volunteered to work overseas. President Jimmy Carter’s mother was an example of someone who volunteered, late in her life, to join the Peace Corps.
Ask the learners under what form of government the United States operates. Once a learner gives the term democracy, write the word on the chalkboard. Ask the learners to define it. Write the following definition on the board for a democracy: government by the people in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system. make sure the learners understand the definition by explaining it in their own words.
Distribute and read aloud Citizenship¾ Rights & Responsibilities (Handout One). Distinguish between a subject and a citizen. After reading, divide learners into groups of four. Within groups, have the learners complete the Rights and Responsibilities Worksheet (Handout Two). After learners have worked in groups for 10-15 minutes, begin creating a class chart by eliciting responses from groups.
Before the close of class, have learners work individually to answer the following question: How are rights and responsibilities related?
Anticipatory Set: Read Prologue to Pay It Forward aloud to class.
Day Two: Ask the learners what gift the reporter, Chris Chandler, received in the reading.
Ask the learners why someone would give away a car or anything of great value to help someone else? Make a list on the chalkboard of the responses.
Introduce and explain the concept of civic virtue by writing the word and definition on the chalkboard: civic virtue - putting the common good of the community ahead of immediate, personal concerns.
Ask learners if the stranger in the reading was practicing civic virtue. Why or why not?
Distribute Civic Virtue Worksheet (Handout Three). Go over the directions and give learners an example of civic virtue for each category. Examples include: School—stopping in the hall to help someone pick up dropped books; Home—reading to younger siblings; Community—picking up litter when you see it. Have the learners meet in their groups from the previous day and complete the group worksheet on civic virtue. After learners have worked in groups for 10-15 minutes, begin creating a class chart by eliciting responses from groups.
Before the close of class, explain the homework assignment. Learners will explain civic virtue to their parents and then ask their parents how they practice the idea of "putting the common good of the community ahead of their own personal concerns." Learners should record their findings on notebook paper and be prepared to share with the class
Have learners share their findings from the previous day’s homework assignment with the class or in groups.
Have the class form into their groups again. Ask groups to write a summary paragraph that uses the following words- democracy, rights, responsibilities and civic virtue. The words may be used in any order but the paragraph should explain major concepts learned over the past two days.
After learners have worked in groups for 5-10 minutes, have a spokesperson from each group share their summaries. Summarize by explaining the importance in a democratic republic of responsible participation by citizens in voluntary civil associations/non-governmental organizations that comprise civil society.
Explain the culminating group project: learners will work in groups to come up with a public service poster that illustrates the ideas of democracy, citizen rights, citizen responsibilities and civic virtue. Distribute Public Service Poster Rubric (Handout Four) and explain the poster task. Let groups brainstorm on what to create for their poster.
Let learners continue working within groups to complete their Public Service Poster.
Give learners 10-15 minutes to finalize the Public Service Poster.
As a way to celebrate what each group has learned about democracy, rights, responsibilities and civic virtue, have groups present their posters to the class.
After all groups have presented their posters, hang their posters in various locations in the school.
The Public Service Poster will serve as an assessment for this lesson.
Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
Standard PCS 05. Philanthropy and Government
Benchmark MS.2 Define civic virtue.
Benchmark MS.3 Identify the relationship between individual rights and community responsibilities.
Benchmark MS.6 Describe how the founding documents and fundamental democratic principles encourage citizens to act philanthropically.
Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
Benchmark MS.5 Describe the responsibility students have to act in the civil society sector to improve the common good.
Benchmark MS.6 Identify and explain how fundamental democratic principles relate to philanthropic activities.