Are you interested in hosting a monthly bipartisan (or nonpartisan) discussion in your library or classroom? It’s easy! These steps can help, but remember to make projectciv work for you!
- Check out our teacher/librarian resource page for links to standards that a ProjectCiv discussion supports, SEL Foundation standards, a Conversation Guide you can have students fill out to prepare for a discussion, and more!
- Talk to your administrator for support! (Coming soon- a letter you can modify for use!).
- Get students on board! Consider asking students to play important roles as table facilitators, social media gurus, community liaisons, etc. You can even have students help you choose the topic. We’ve got some of our favorite topics right here!
- Spread the news! Consider starting social media channels such as twitter, instagram, facebook organization, etc. Use social media to advertise your discussion to the community and share the articles for people to read. Invite the community- parents, community members, newspapers, and elected officials! Link to the articles you want people to read to prepare for the discussion! Of course, people can bring their own articles to share with the group.
- Gather supplies for your discussion- many of which are on the teacher/librarian resources page! This might include exit tickets, extra copies of articles, sentence starters, etc.
- If it’s just your class, there may be no need, but if your discussion is open to the community, you might consider using nametags. Nametags can help you mix up your groups. Preferably, groups are between 6-8 people, but feel free to modify the number!
- Set the tone: welcome everyone. If possible, have snacks available (snacks are a big draw for teenagers!). I remind people of the rules of civility: no ad hominem attacks, seek to understand, use I statements. Many of the ideas are contained in these ground rules
- Discussions usually last 30 or so minutes. In the last five minutes, consider using an exit ticket to get feedback and plan next steps. The “next steps” can really help students learn how to advocate for a belief. You might consider having students write a letter to an elected official, join (or form) a local community group that promotes that belief (and can encourage a group to form a youth advisory board!), write a Letter to the Editor, create a social media campaign – the choices are many! They all involved students using their First Amendment rights, something that we share as Americans. You could have a follow-up “action day” or “action lunch” where students gather to advocate, with your support, of course! An advocacy center can help.
- Share all that your students are learning with the world. Have students write blog posts. Invite the local media and your elected officials to witness what your students are doing. There is much discussion about the need for civil discourse these days. You will be on the way to breaking down echo chambers and helping kids feel heard. You’ll be showing the next generation how to advocate for a belief. That’s powerful! We need an engaged citizenry and by helping kids develop critical thinking skills, you’ll be playing a role!
Got questions? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get back in contact with you!