The most effective civic education in my eighth-grade classroom is often the simplest.
On Fridays, each student brings in an annotated newspaper article on any topic except sports or entertainment, and then three or four students present and field questions on their pieces.
During the rest of the week, we begin class with five minutes of discussion on an article I’ve chosen, usually one that not only primes us on the day’s news but also relates to our U.S. history and civics curriculum. If an article about international politics also underscores the difference between a tax and a tariff, fantastic. If a piece about proposed legislation in California highlights the tensions inherent in federalism, all the better. I like to model what it looks like to grapple with complicated “adult” issues.