for ESOL & ABE
and Civil Rights
Civil Liberties Union
This learner-oriented site includes materials and resources for
students and teachers as well as an educational rights page.
The Library of Congress has catalogued dozens of "American
Memory" collections, organized by topic, time period, place,
etc. The collections include historic documents, pictures, and
Social History Project
ASHP seeks to revitalize interest in history by challenging the
traditional ways that people learn about the past. The HERB database contains documents, classroom activities, and other teaching tools on US history.
Bill of Rights Institute
The Bill of Rights Institute's mission is to educate high school
students about the Bill of Rights through classroom material
and programs that teach:
the Bill of Rights protects, both explicitly and implicitly,
the Bill of Rights affects our daily lives, and
how the Bill of Rights shapes our society.
not designed for adult education, this site offers access
to primary sources and current
news about our civil rights. Adaptable "Free Lesson Plans" are available on the right navigation bar under the "Quick Links" heading.
History: Exploring African-American Issues on the Web
A "pointer section" of links to several historical-overview articles from Prologue, a magazine published by the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration.
Rights Foundation (CRF)
Constitutional Rights Foundation seeks to instill in our nation's
youth a deeper understanding of citizenship through values expressed
in our Constitution and its Bill of Rights, and educate them
to become active and responsible participants in our society.
See CRF online
This lesson about the “discovery of America” invites students
to look at history from varied points of view and to understand
history as a story told from a perspective.
of History Project
The Fabric of History is an innovative curriculum that examines
history through the lens of fashion as it conveys class, culture,
and changing gender relations.
Resources for Educational Excellence
This page of the collection links to interesting websites
on black history and culture. For a larger menu of social studies
sites, go to http://wdcrobcolp01.ed.gov/cfapps/free/displaysubject.cfm?sid=9
of Voting Rights
This site offers links to a few resources on the history of
voting rights, including an online quiz.
This is a wonderful resource that supports teachers in making
history relevant to students. Although designed for high school
and college contexts, it illustrates approaches we can use in
adult education. It includes sections on "Many Pasts," "Making
Sense of Evidence," and "Past Meets Present," among
Race is Lived in America
This web site contains a long list of web sites as well as captivating
articles published by The New York Times about race
in America. The web sites cover the major race and ethnic groups
in America divided into categories such as Educational Resources,
Civil Rights, Media, Government and Politics, Statistics, Business
and Commerce, Health and Organizations and Institutions.
Power of Words Curriculum
Power of Words curriculum “encourages us to explore the words
used in the United States to label ethnic groups, women, and
sexual minorities and to examine the ways in which these words
reveal our nation's social landscape.” It offers high school
lesson plans that can be adapted for adult education.
Intervention Story Exchange (RISE)
site is a place where people can exchange stories of the ways
in which they have spoken up to interrupt racism.
with Historic Places
This site uses Historic Places as the focus
for lessons on geography, civics, history and many other subjects.
Site includes over 100 lesson plans that can be browsed by location,
theme, or time period.
Lines: Connecting Your Life to History
This site describes four lessons that use time lines: A Time
Line of Today, A Time Line of Your Own Life, Time Line of Historical
Events in Our Lifetime, and Then Versus Now.
The links in the side bar to the right
include a well-presented history of the Civic Rights Movement
and a "Hidden History" page with interesting and little-known
Declaration of Human Rights
On December 10, 1948 the General Assembly of the United Nations
adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
the full text of which appears on this site.
for Change Curriculum
authors of Writing for Change, a collection of 50 activities
that “raise awareness of power, difference, and discrimination,”
have designed their activities to be adaptable to varied contexts.
Most require only a pen and paper or copies of the provided page.
in the Americas
This is the companion site for "Ancestors
in the Americas," a new PBS series exploring the history and
legacy of Asians in the Americas. The site links you to discussion
guides, resources (curricula, oral history projects, etc.), an
opportunity to contribute to an archive of immigrant stories,
and ways to research your own family ancestry.
Change Agent: Immigration (PDF)
This issue of The Change Agent focuses
on immigration, with articles and classroom activities that explore
the history of immigration.
This part of the Ellis Island website offers an immigrant history
timeline and the stories of six Americans of different backgrounds
researching their immigrant ancestry.
Lower East Side Tenement Museum
The Lower East Side Tenement Museum's mission is "to promote
tolerance and historical perspective through the presentation
and interpretation of the variety of immigrant and migrant experiences
on Manhattan's Lower East Side, a gateway to America." Visitors
to this site can tour the on-line exhibits.
Mosaic of Immigrants to America
is an international website-building competition for teams of
students and teachers. This website chronicles the immigrant
experience and offers a gallery of downloadable photographs.
This is the site of the PBS series "The
New Americans," which tells the stories of a diverse group of
immigrants and refugees. The series aims to capture the lives
of contemporary immigrants in all their complexities and to "put
a human face on the breadth and scope of immigrants' and refugees'
experience in America." The site links to discussion questions,
common misconceptions about immigrants, and activities for researching
your own family history.
for Media Literacy
This project advocates for media literacy education and promotes
books, videos and teaching materials for K-12 classrooms. It
provides resources and information for families and communities
as well as links to conferences and training opportunities.
Change Agent: The Media and You
This issue of the Change Agent increases the readers' awareness
of what gets printed, viewed, or aired. It contains stories,
articles and classroom activities for adult learners.
San Francisco Interactive Learning Resources
These web pages focus on utilizing CNN news stories for educational
purposes many of which relate to civic participation. Teachers
can use the lessons for group activities or students can work
at their own pace for individualized learning.
At this site, you can explore the history of political ads and
look at how and why political ads are created. You can also create
your own ad and learn how to manipulate it to work for or against
webquest is a resource for teaching information literacy, critical
reading and comprehension skills. It walks readers interactively
through techniques for critiquing websites and provides practice
evaluating real and hoax websites to determine which ones are
trustworthy and present accurate information.
FAIR is a watch group that criticizes well-documented media bias
and censorship while seeking to invigorate the First Amendment.
is one of many sites where you can link to newspapers from around
the world. This one is clear and easy to navigate.
media online at American Journalism Review
A joint venture of American Journalism Review and NewsLink Associates,
this site offers among other things a comprehensive listing of
links to radio, T.V. and newspapers throughout the country.
Education Project Descriptions
for a Cause: A Lesson in Community Action http://tech.worlded.org/docs/advocating/ri3.htm
The Changes Project was a participatory action research project
focused on the impact of welfare reform, immigration reform and
the changing nature of work. The project describes the impact
of these three issues on the lives of adult learners at five
adult education programs in Massachusetts.
Literacy/Civics Education Demonstration Projects
This is the US DOE's site for information about the federally
funded English Literacy/Civics Education programs.
a Civic Action Project
developed for high school students, this guide by the Constitutional
Rights Foundation offers a helpful structure for organizing civics
Change: Civics as a Second Language
article describes the work of EL/civics teachers who are helping
students participate actively and speak up civically.
This project of the City College of San Francisco links the ESL
and Citizenship programs with Civics Education. The lessons on
this site build on the literature of civic education, Project-based
Learning, SCANS and EFF as they integrate civic participation
with language learning.
Government, and the Constitution
Center for Voting and Democracy
FairVote seeks elections that promote voter turnout, fair
representation, inclusive policy and meaningful choices. It conducts
research, analysis, education and organizing to ensure all Americans
can exercise their right to vote and elect representatives who
reflect our racial and political diversity.
Civic Center at E-Square
This on-line "civic center" designed for ABE and ESOL learners
includes immigration information, a student visit to the Statehouse,
and tips for helping students talk to policymakers.
An online directory of members of Congress, offering a quick path to the online contact form for each member.
These are easy-to-read materials about how to pick a candidate
and how to vote.
a Bill Becomes a Law Quiz
This interactive quiz has students sequence the steps needed
for a bill to become a law.
To Be Heard
This was created by adult new readers to
help other students learn more about becoming involved in making
decisions in their community.
this site, the National Lawyers Guild offers free downloadable
brochures that use plain language to explain our constitutional
rights. Brochures are available in a variety of languages.
Language & Civil
The journal "Language & Civil Society" has produced
a volume on Civic Education containing 10 chapters on topics
such as "Rights of the Individual," "Responsibilities
of the Government," and "Societal Dilemmas: Finding
a Balance". Each chapter has background information and
of Women Voters
A voter education and information web site that includes voter
registration information in English and Spanish, as well as excerpts
from the League of Women Voters' 'Get Out the Vote Kit.'
National Voting Rights Institute
The National Voting Rights Institute protects
the constitutional right of all citizens to participate in the
entire election process regardless of economic status.
Citizen's Vote! Curriculum
http://www.buildthewheel.org/content/new-citizens-vote-educational-curriculum-about-voting-and-civic-engagement This is the link to a four-hour voter education curriculum
(available in English and Spanish) called "New Citizens Vote!
An Educational Curriculum About Voting." The goal of the curriculum
is to increase the skills and self-confidence of participants
regarding voting and other local decision-making processes. The
curriculum emphasizes local issues and opportunities for civic
and Politics: A Civic Literacy Curriculum
Students learn how to identify the issues most important to them,
ask the right questions and select a candidate whose platform
reflects their own concerns.
This multi-faceted lesson plan helps students to understand political
campaign advertising and candidate's positions so they can make
educated decisions at the polls.
Project Vote Smart, a citizen's organization, has developed a
Voter's Self-Defense System that provides the tools for effective
self-government. The Project shares information about candidates
and elected officials in five basic categories: biographical
information, issue positions, voting records, campaign finances
and interest group ratings.
The mission of the Right to Vote Campaign is to remove barriers
to voting faced by people with felony convictions so that they
may freely participate in the democratic process. To achieve
this goal, it aims to change policies, practices and perceptions
concerning felony disfranchisement. This website educates on
the issue and lets people know how they can get involved.
site, jointly developed by PBS and the Media Education Lab at Temple University, links you
to lessons about dissecting ads, analyzing poll numbers, and
other skills needed by the “saavy voter.”
Provides an easy way to keep track of federal legislation.
States House of Representatives
Keep up-to-date on legislative activities, discover information
about potential bills, and find out how to contact your representative.
Also includes practical information about the workings of the
judicial and executive branches of the government.
States Census Bureau
This site offers hard data on the demographics of the U.S. population
and on aspects of our quality of life. For example, the Housing
pages reveal that the percentage of families able to buy a modestly
priced house was lower in 1995 than in 1984 or 1988; the site’s
Poverty pages show an increase in poverty. This site can be useful
for any type of research project.
States Senate Home Page
This easy-to-read site includes a tour of the Senate, information
about the legislative process, the Senate's current activities
and how to contact your senator.
The White House site provides an easy way to access the different
branches of government and federal services. You can download
historic national documents, daily press releases, and speeches.
Government, Your Taxes, Your Choices
Curriculum for Adult Basic Education Students
on Massachusetts but generally relevant, this curriculum introduces
students to different forms of taxation. It addresses what kinds
of taxes people and corporations pay and how the services taxes
pay for are distributed. It invites students to reflect on whether
the system is fair or unfair. Regardless of students' status
as citizens and voters, they can participate fully in all lessons
found in this curriculum. They will find that they can advocate
proactively on behalf of themselves and their communities. The
curriculum consists of three units and eight lessons that include
activities, helpful charts and suggestions for extension activities.
The Change Agent, published by the New England Literacy
Resource Center, includes a variety of articles and teaching
resources focused on social justice issues. You can browse a
selection of articles from recent issues or download entire issues
in Adobe Acrobat PDF format.
Lessons Related to Iraq War
material on this page lists sites, many of which, with resource
materials, lessons and activities for use in the classroom.
Connections: The Middle East
This PBS site uses six questions to explore some of the big-picture
issues affecting the Middle East. For each question there is
background reading, a timeline, and several lesson plans.
Issues for Learners of English
The material on this site is adapted, with permission, from the
magazine, The New Internationalist. The aim
is to "provide material that is relatively easy for learners
to read, but which hasn't lost its 'edge.'" The readings
are about global issues (e.g. fair trade, the environment, child
labor, etc.) with scaffolding support, such as background information
about countries, glossing of text, comprehension and vocabulary
quizzes, teacher and learner pages.
Public Agenda's two-fold mission is to help American leaders
better understand the public's point of view and to help citizens
know more about critical policy issues so they can make informed
decisions. P ublic Agenda Issue Guides provide facts and figures,
competing perspectives, and analysis of public attitudes. Topics
include: health care, immigration, the federal budget, and many
TeachableMoment.Org provides educators with timely teaching ideas
to encourage critical thinking on issues of the day and foster
a positive classroom environment. With its focus on timely news,
the site is very up-to-date.
The United Nations Cyberschoolbus was created in 1996 to promote
education about international issues and the United Nations.
The project produces high quality teaching materials and activities
for training teachers. The c urriculum, linked from the left
column menu, addresses global peace issues such as respect for
dignity and identity, social justice and civic responsibility,
and global citizenship.
Systems and Everyday Civics
Education and Employment Program (REEP) ESL Curriculum
REEP has developed an on-line adult ESL instructional system
to assist educators in enabling adult students of English to
navigate U.S. systems. Lifeskills instruction, student voice,
and integration of technology are central to this nine-leveled
This website connects low-income households to information and
resources around the things that matter most to them: health,
jobs, money, education and family.
Member Role Map
Equipped for the Future's Citizen Role Map captures what adults
need to know and be able to do to be effective in their roles
as citizens and community members. It was developed from focus
groups with over 250 citizens across the United States.
This is an easy English online magazine for immigrants and for
parents who have limited skills in reading English. Its articles
about family, work, home, and money aim to help people understand
how American systems work.
Participation and Community Action Sourcebook
Published by the New England Literacy
Resource Center, this resource for adult educators provides
a collection of narratives (written mostly by teachers) of community
education and action projects. It also includes a variety of "prep
and practice" activities.
EL Civics for ESL Students
A series of "fact sheets" suitable for classroom use.
Curriculum Designed for Very Beginning ESL Learners
The Bright Ideas curriculum was designed for elderly learners
participating in community-based ESL programs. The curriculum
focuses on developing oral English communication skills and providing
opportunities for learners to use these skills inside the classroom
and outside in the community. Each unit contains instructions
for the teacher, lessons for the students, and visual support
materials to facilitate learning for students with limited literacy
skills in any language.
Civics Health Curriculum
This Charlottesville, VA curriculum integrates health content
with civic rights and responsibilities and informed decision-making.
Family Literacy Curriculum
This curriculum supports immigrant parents in understanding and
navigating U.S. systems. Its four modules are: Self, Family and
Community; Schools and Community; Medicine and Stress; and Shopping
and Making a Budget. It contains complete, multi-level lesson
plans and many reproducible handouts.
This site orients newcomers to how various U.S. systems work.
It is a useful resource to learn about banking, credit cards,
drivers licenses, sending money abroad, finding a school, and
many other systems that immigrants need to navigate.
Have a Problem: Bright Ideas EL-Civics Project
This PDF is a transcript of the video, “I Have a Problem,
Scenarios and Situations for Just-in-Time Civics,” made with
students enrolled in an EL/Civics course sponsored by the Coalition
of Limited English Speaking Elderly (CLESE). It addresses common
problems through students’ own words.
How to Buy a Home: Lessons for Adult Learners
This collection of three publications: a home-buying guide for ABE students, a guide for ESL students, and an additional set of tools for teachers (activities, handouts, etc.) are designed for programs that are interested in implementing a home-buying readiness project, either as a stand-alone unit or as a topic integrated into an existing curriculum. The activities and tools were developed by teachers and reflect their varied approaches and styles.
This site is a list of thousands of links to newspapers from
around the world.
with the Police: An English Language and Civics Workbook
This downloadable curriculum is targeted for high beginner/low
intermediate students, but includes material that may be relevant
to immigrants at all levels.
Writings about Civics
New England Writings about Civics
writings describe the work of New England educators who want
address civic participation in their local contexts. Many of
their lessons refer to activities from NELRC's Civic Participation
and Community Action Sourcebook.
Massachusetts Civic Education and Participation Group
writings illustrate eight promising practices that Massachusetts
educators have identified as key indicators of effective civic
education. The CEPG includes programs that vary in size, schedules,
and approaches to incorporating civics into instruction. Some
weave civics into their regular ESOL coursework; some have set
aside separate class time to focus on civic participation; and
others have approached the civic participation work as a program-wide
A rich collection of K-12 civics lessons and strategies that
are based on the classroom use of primary documents and the incorporation
of interactive learning. There are classroom case studies that
include teacher reflections, source materials used, and classroom
This site introduces kids to democracy by:
the structure and duties of local, state and federal
how government affects our everyday lives;
the history of voting rights in America, and articulating
how voting and other forms of civic involvement are essential
to a healthy democracy.
site includes links to interactive activities such as an
online voting game (http://www.pbs.org/democracy/kids/vote/index.html)
Democracy Project site provides rich resources for teachers,
especially a voting rights timeline, on which you can follow
the continuing struggle for universal suffrage in America. Along
the way you can learn about changes to how we vote and also discover
whether you could have voted at different points in history.
This is sponsored by the Freedom Forum’s
First Amendment Center, a nonpartisan center dedicated to the
understanding and appreciation of the values of the First Amendment.
The “Lesson Plans” (beginning and advanced levels) linked from
this page address constitutional principles and contemporary
issues involving the First Amendment. The “Cybernewseum” section
uses critical media literacy to explore a variety of news topics.
Connections: The Middle East
PBS site uses six questions to explore some of the big-picture
issues affecting the Middle East. For each question there is
background reading, a timeline, and several lesson plans.
Adventures in Citizenship: From New York to Your Town
This is a site for teachers, parents and kids. It uses one key
city, New York, as a starting point for the study of issues that
affect communities. Although some of the lessons will need to
be adapted for adults, much of the content is appropriate. Of
particular interest are New York: Documentary Online and
the episodes in Explore the Learning Adventures.
County Public School Social Studies Curriculum
This is a dense but rich set of curriculum units that address
equity and justice issues – good for background reading and for
excerpting/adapting lessons. Lessons listed in the left column
menu include Unit VIII: Equal Opportunity for All, which overviews
our nation’s history of housing/property discrimination, examines
the economics of unfair housing practices, and poses questions
about the right to housing.
site, hosted by the National Constitution Center, offers readings
and adaptable K-12 lesson plans on Constitutional issues. Links
include “Current events discussion starters,” a “Constitutional
Timelines,” and a “Save the Bill of Rights” game.
This online civics text is a handy resource
for educators. It goes beyond the basics of government to include
topics such as "economic systems" and "economic concepts."
Links and lessons that were originally designed for K-12 social
studies teachers and students, but the ideas could be adapted
for use in the ABE classroom.
History Lesson Plans Library
This site offers an extensive collection of history lessons for
grades K-12, covering topics from the American Revolution to
Watergate and including lessons such as ‘Understanding Stereotypes’
and ‘Racism: Law and Attitude’. Each lesson plan consists of
objectives, materials, procedures, evaluation, vocabulary, and
academic standards. Lessons provide background information on
each topic and invite students to research it further using the
links provided, often culminating in a project.