Common Core Standards

Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts & Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects (CCSS ELA).

The CAP lessons require specific reading, writing, discussion, and presentation skills and have been correlated with CCSS ELA. Teachers access the lessons on the CAP website and each lesson provides a link to pertinent CCSS ELA standards.

CAP is a project-based learning model that requires students to think deeply about the issues they work on. There are opportunities for students to master many CCSS standards as they work on their civic action projects. Students research issues and policies using a variety source materials and media. The CAP Planner requires students to write about their selected issues, civic actions they intend to take, and outcomes. In addition, students who are assigned to prepare a CAP presentation use a variety of speaking, presentation, and media skills cited in CCSS ELA.

CAP Planners

The students’ civic action projects are structured by the CAP Planner, composed of four documents: Proposal, Thinking It Through, Civic Action, and Report. Below is a description of how CAP — as students experience it through work in the Planner and on CAP-related contest products — provides opportunities for students to master many CCSS ELA standards:

WHST.11-12.1 Write arguments focused on discipline-specific content.

The CAP Proposal requires students to convince their teachers that the issue they have chosen is important and worthy of a CAP project. The planner is designed to help students make their arguments in a logical sequence, thus providing an introduction to the skills outlined in the standard. In addition, new blog activities will be available for teachers to assign that address this standard.

WHST.11-12.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

As students work on their CAP issues, they will communicate with peers and adults. The CAP toolkit provides tips for composing clear, coherent, audience appropriate writing of letters, emails, and other texts.

WHST.11-12.5 Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on addressing what is most significant for a specific purpose and audience.

Teachers should require CAP students to revise their CAP Planners as necessary. Students should be composing communications with adults inside and outside of the school campus and should focus on providing succinct, significant information in these communications by planning, revising, and editing. In addition, CAP students must often try new approaches to convince community members and policy-makers to respond to their concerns.

WHST.11-12.6 Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products in response to ongoing feedback, including new arguments or information.

CAP teachers can use the prompts from the Planners to create writing assignments that are completed through the CAP discussion board or student blog. Both teachers and students respond to the posts, and the writers respond to the feedback, often based on new arguments and information they have collected. In nearly all CAP classes, students are assigned to work in groups and produce shared writing products, as well as published products through the CAP web site and CAP contests. In addition, CAP students have created Facebook pages and other social networking products as civic actions.

WHST.11-12.7 Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem; narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.

WHST.11-12.9 Draw evidence from informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

Through CAP, students select an issue, research that issue, and develop and implement civic actions to address it. This process requires students to generate specific questions and search for answers using multiple sources. The Planner requires students to continually demonstrate a deeper understanding of the issue they are working on: its implications, policy connections, causes/effects, and more.

RH.11-12.7 Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, as well as in words) in order to address a question or solve a problem.

RH.11-12.9 Integrate information from diverse sources, both primary and secondary, into a coherent understanding of an idea or event, noting discrepancies among sources. As students research their selected issues, they will analyze a variety of sources including news stories, policy statements, documents such as local ordinances, responses from policy-makers and others, as well as opinion/editorial pieces. Students read and analyze with purpose since they are addressing real-world issues. To ensure mastery of this standard, teachers should require students to attach sources and a brief analysis of each to their CAP Planners.

SL.11-12.1 Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 11–12 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

a. Come to discussions prepared, having read and researched material under study; explicitly draw on that preparation by referring to evidence from texts and other research on the topic or issue to stimulate a thoughtful, well-reasoned exchange of ideas.

b. Work with peers to promote civil, democratic discussions and decision-making, set clear goals and deadlines, and establish individual roles as needed.

c. Propel conversations by posing and responding to questions that probe reasoning and evidence; ensure a hearing for a full range of positions on a topic or issue; clarify, verify, or challenge ideas and conclusions; and promote divergent and creative perspectives.

d. Respond thoughtfully to diverse perspectives; synthesize comments, claims, and evidence made on all sides of an issue; resolve contradictions when possible; and determine what additional information or research is required to deepen the investigation or complete the task.

Both the CAP lessons and student projects promote collaborative discussions. CRF will develop new assessment tools for teachers and students aligned to this CCSS standard.

SL.11-12.3 Evaluate a speaker’s point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric, assessing the stance, premises, links among ideas, word choice, points of emphasis, and tone used.

CAP students should be required to speak with community members, including policy-makers, about their issues and civic actions. The Civic Action document in the CAP Planner prompts students to report on these communications and teachers could require the students to further respond to the items in this standard.

SL.11-12.4 Present information, findings, and supporting evidence, conveying a clear and distinct perspective, such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning, alternative or opposing perspectives are addressed, and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose, audience, and a range of formal and informal tasks.

The CAP Report provides a structure for students to develop CAP presentations and these presentations should address the items in this standard. Rubrics to assess presentations are available in both the Assessment and Teacher-Created Resource sections of the website.

SL.11-12.5 Make strategic use of digital media (e.g., textual, graphical, audio, visual, and interactive elements) in presentations to enhance understanding of findings, reasoning, and evidence and to add interest.

Every semester, students are invited to create CAPfolios and/or Public Service Announcements about their issues for submission in national contests. Protocols for each contest include items from this standard.

SL.11-12.6 Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, demonstrating a command of formal English when indicated or appropriate.

Through the CAP experience, students should be speaking to a variety of audiences including peers, adults at school, and adults in the community. Students should demonstrate their ability to use appropriate language, tone, and formality in each situation and teachers could ask students to “debrief” their meetings and conversations in terms of the skills they used. In addition, the Civic Action and Report Planners require students to list specific skills they gained and applied, and many students list skills associated with speaking to a variety of audiences and modifying their speech accordingly. The CAP toolkit provides some direction for students.



CAP Lessons

For each CAP lesson, we have included connections to corresponding CCSS ELA standards. Each activity that students perform as part of the curriculum supports at least one Common Core standard, whether it is reading in history/social studies (RH), writing in history/social studies (WHST), or speaking and listening in English-language arts (SL).

As students work with CAP content and activities, they are practicing the knowledge and skills embedded in the CCSS ELA.


Lesson 1: A Different Kind of Government Course

Students use interactive discussion in order to brainstorm the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and actions of effective, productive citizens. Connection to:SL.11-12.1 ( Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners ).


Lesson 2: Introduction to Public Policy

Students read and discuss a short article defining policy. Connection to:
RH.11-12.4 (Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including analyzing how an author uses and refines the meaning of a key term over the course of a text).

Then they discuss policy and its connection to problems.

Connection to: SL.11-12.1 ( Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners ).

Next, in small groups, they do a newspaper search to find examples of public policy. Connection to:WHST.11-12.8 (Gather relevant information from multiple authoritative print and digital sources…).


Lesson 3: Problems, Policy, and Civic Actions

Students work together in groups to discuss and analyze possible causes/effects of a selected problem. Connection to: SL.11-12.1 ( Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners ).

Next, they explore how policy can be linked to problems. Finally, they list possible civic actions that can be taken to when working on a problem. Connection to: RH.11-12.1 (Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, connecting insights gained from specific details to an understanding of the text as a whole).


Lesson 4: Introducing Policy Analysis

Students read and discuss case studies that help them develop a deeper understanding of the interaction between government and citizens in making public policy. Connections to: RH.11-12.1 (Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, connecting insights gained from specific details to an understanding of the text as a whole.); and RH.11-12.2 (Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary that makes clear the relationships among the key details and ideas).


Lesson 5: Policymaking in the Three Branches of Government

First, students discuss how policy can be made by each of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government. Connection to: SL.11-12.1 ( Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions…).

Then students read about and discuss how the Chicago City Council passed an ordinance to suppress gang activity and how each branch of government was involved in the policy. Connections to: RH.11-12.1 (Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources…); and RH.11-12.2 (Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source…).

Finally, students are introduced to a policy-analysis rubric (GRADE) and apply it to the Chicago gang ordinance. Connections to: SL.11-12.1 ( Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions…); and RH.11-12.7 ( Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, as well as in words) in order to address a question or solve a problem ).


Lesson 6: Analyzing Anti-Gang Policies

First, as a whole group, students evaluate an anti-gang policy using the GRADE policy-analysis rubric. Connection to:SL.11-12.1 ( Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions…).

Then in small groups, they are given policies that address gang violence and they evaluate each. Connections to: SL.11-12.1 ( Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions…); and RH.11-12.7 ( Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, as well as in words) in order to address a question or solve a problem.)


Lesson 7: Policymaking at the Local Level

First, students read about and discuss a common local (and national) problem, the dropout rate. Connections to: RH.11-12.2 (Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source…); and SL.11-12.1 ( Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions…).

Then they role play subcommittees of a hypothetical school board, examine documents about the dropout problem, and craft a policy to address the dropout problem. Connections to: SL.11-12.1 ( Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions…); and RH.11-12.7 ( Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, as well as in words) in order to address a question or solve a problem. )

Finally, they present their policies to other groups and evaluate one another’s policies using the GRADE rubric. Connection to: SL.11-12.3 ( Evaluate a speaker’s point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric, assessing the stance, premises, links among ideas, word choice, points of emphasis, and tone used ).


Lesson 8: Law & Policy

First, students read about and discuss how law can affect public policy. Then they examine hypothetical situations involving CAP students and identify laws and policies in the hypothetical situations. Connections to: RH.11-12.2 (Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source…); and SL.11-12.1 ( Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions…).

Then in small groups, students are assigned one of the hypothetical situations, given legal updates on the situation, and asked how the law might affect the problem and the proposed civic action. They report on their analysis of the legal updates to the rest of the class. Connection to:SL.11-12.4 ( Present information, findings, and supporting evidence, conveying a clear and distinct perspective, such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning, alternative or opposing perspectives are addressed, and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose, audience, and a range of formal and informal tasks).


Lesson 9: Persuading

First, students read about and discuss the three types of persuasion: logos, ethos, and pathos. Connections to: RH.11-12.2 (Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source….); and SL.11-12.1 ( Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions…).

Then students prepare two-minute persuasive talks on why the issue that they have chosen to address in CAP is important. Finally, in pairs, students present and critique one another’s talks. Connections to: SL.11-12.3 ( Evaluate a speaker’s point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric, assessing the stance, premises, links among ideas, word choice, points of emphasis, and tone used. ); SL.11-12.4 ( Present information, findings, and supporting evidence, conveying a clear and distinct perspective, such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning, alternative or opposing perspectives are addressed, and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose, audience, and a range of formal and informal tasks. ); and SL.11-12.6 ( Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, demonstrating a command of formal English when indicated or appropriate. ).


Lesson 10: Building Constituencies

First, students complete a brief reading about the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Connection to: RH.11-12.2 (Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source…). Next, they examine documents created during the boycott and identify the civic actions taken to help build constituencies.

Connections to:RH.11-12.1 (Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, connecting insights gained from specific details to an understanding of the text as a whole.); and RH.11-12.2 (Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source…).

Finally, in small groups, students brainstorm how they can get support for their CAP issue. Connections to: SL.11-12.1 ( Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 11–12 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively. ); and RH.11-12.9 ( Integrate information from diverse sources, both primary and secondary, into a coherent understanding of an idea or event, noting discrepancies among sources...) .


Lesson 11: Setting the Public Agenda

First, students read about and discuss the public agenda and ways that citizens can influence it. Connections to: RH.11-12.1 (Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources); RH.11-12.2 (Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source….); and SL.11-12.1 ( Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions…).

Then in small groups, students are given different situations and they develop strategic plans for getting their issues or solutions to issues on the public agenda. Connections to:SL.11-12.1 ( Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative ... ); and SL.11-12.4 ( Present information, findings, and supporting evidence, conveying a clear and distinct perspective, such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning, alternative or opposing perspectives are addressed, and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose, audience, and a range of formal and informal tasks. ).


Lesson 12: Using the Media

First, students read about and discuss how the media help set the public agenda and how citizens can influence the media and even create their own media to help change the public agenda. Connections to: RH.11-12.2 (Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source….); and SL.11-12.1 ( Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions…).
Then they develop a plan to do one action to use or affect the media. Connection to: RH.11-12.1 (Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources); and SL.11-12.1 ( Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions ... ).


Lesson 13: Persuading Policymakers

First, students read about public hearings and techniques for making presentations at these hearings. Connection to:RH.11-12.2 (Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source….).

Then students role play a school board committee as well as supporters and opponents of a proposed public policy appearing before the committee. As supporters and opponents, students attempt to persuade the committee on hypothetical issues. As committee members, students prepare questions, listen, and engage the supporters and opponents in discussion. Connections to:SL.11-12.3 ( Evaluate a speaker’s point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric, assessing the stance, premises, links among ideas, word choice, points of emphasis, and tone used ); SL.11-12.4 ( Present information, findings, and supporting evidence, conveying a clear and distinct perspective, such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning, alternative or opposing perspectives are addressed, and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose, audience, and a range of formal and informal tasks ); and SL.11-12.6 ( Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, demonstrating a command of formal English when indicated or appropriate. )


Lesson 14: Creating Change Through the Electoral Process

First, students read about and discuss the role that electoral politics plays in policymaking. Connections to: RH.11-12.1 (Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources); RH.11-12.2 (Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source….); and SL.11-12.1 ( Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions…).

Then in small groups, students role play campaign workers, create strategies to attract young people to participate in an election campaign and present their strategies.Connections to: SL.11-12.1 ( Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions….); SL.11-12.4 ( Present information, findings, and supporting evidence, conveying a clear and distinct perspective, such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning, alternative or opposing perspectives are addressed, and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose, audience, and a range of formal and informal tasks). )


Lesson 15: Civic Action Survey

First, students form pairs to take turns conducting and responding to a sample survey. Connections to: RH.11-12.2 ( Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary that makes clear the relationships among the key details and ideas. ); and CCRA.SL.4 ( Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. ).

Next students will learn about the types of questions that should be included in a survey. Connections to: WHST.11-12.9 (Draw evidence from informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research. )

Finally students will convene in their civic action groups to brainstorm three different types of questions as the basis for creating their own civic action survey. Connections to: CCRA.L.3 ( Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening. ); SL.11-12.1 ( Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions — one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led — with diverse partners on grades 11-12 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively. ); SL.11-12.1.B ( Work with peers to promote civil, democratic discussions and decision-making, set clear goals and deadlines, and establish individual roles as needed. ); and SL.11-12.1.D ( Respond thoughtfully to diverse perspectives; synthesize comments, claims, and evidence made on all sides of an issue; resolve contradictions when possible; and determine what additional information or research is required to deepen the investigation or complete the task. )

Last modified: Sunday, 3 September 2017, 8:53 PM