Official Website of the Department of Homeland Security

There are many excellent instructional resources available to assist civics instructors with their citizenship lessons. In the links below, teachers, volunteers, and program administrators will find free lesson plans and materials as well as related research articles and additional websites for further guidance on teaching civics in the classroom.

Please note that the links provided below are meant to serve as a resource for educators. This linking does not constitute USCIS endorsement of the content of these websites or of their respective policies or products.

We welcome additional recommendations to this list. To submit a resource for consideration, please contact the USCIS Office of Citizenship. Resources will be accepted based upon their relevance, usefulness, and quality.

Lesson Plans and Resources for Teachers

Ben's Guide to U.S. Government for Kids
Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO)
Learning tools address U.S. history, government, and citizenship, for K-12 students, but can be used for adult ESL.  Links to curriculum on U.S. government websites, such as Smithsonian Institution, U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Dept. of Education, U.S. Mint, NASA, and National Park Service.

Constitutional Rights Foundation, Online Lessons
Constitutional Rights Foundation (CRF)
Offers free online civics and citizenship lessons covering topics such as Foundations of Our Constitution. Subjects have lesson plans and links to other resources with access to current and archived editions of Bill of Rights in Action newsletter.

EL/Civics Activities Packet
Colorado Dept. of Education, Spring Institute for Intercultural Learning, 2002
Includes EL/Civics competencies and teaching and assessment activities. Covers community services, consumer economics, employment and housing, health, and transportation/directions. Includes resources for each life skill. Activities by listening, speaking, reading/vocabulary, and writing skills.

How to Choose a Good ESL Textbook for Adult Education and Family Literacy Learners 
Colorado Adult Education and Family Literacy Independent Study Course
Helps adult educators understand the benefits of using textbooks for classroom or individual instruction, identify types and major components of ESL textbooks, identify criteria for choosing and evaluating learner-centered, effective ESL textbooks, and create program-specific criteria for choosing textbooks.

National Museum of History
Smithsonian Museum
Museum collections highlighting U.S. history and government offer lesson plans, and inter-active activities adaptable for adult ESL. Educators and Kids Links offer topics on Civics Test, including U.S. presidents, First Ladies, U.S. flag/national anthem, Civil Rights movement, U.S. wars, and women’s suffrage.

Practitioner Toolkit: Working with Adult English Language Learners
National Center for Family Literacy (NCFL) and the National Center for ESL Literacy Education (NCLE), Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL), 2004
For family literacy instructors with adult learners and families in rural, urban, and faith- and community-based programs. Gives guidance on lesson planning and strategies, and offers sample lesson plans, activities, and needs assessments to help learners prepare for permanent residency and citizenship.

The Right To Work: Understanding Immigrant Employment Rights
New York City Commission on Human Rights, New York Immigration Coalition, and Literacy Assistance Center of NYC
Includes two-part adult legal literacy curriculum for ESOL classes with student and teacher workbooks and companion DVD. Provides lesson plans and take home activities.

Talking with the Police - An English Language and Civics Workbook for English Language Learners - Student Workbook and Teacher’s Guide
C. Reta and M. A. Lane, Bruggemeyer Memorial Library LAMP (Literacy for All of Monterey Park) Program and the Monterey Park, California Police Dept., 2002
Provides lesson plans for English learners with vocabulary, behaviors, and customs for interacting with police and handling emergency situations. Includes conversation practice, role-play, assessment, writing activities, and photos and graphics depicting scenarios, people, and documents encountered in emergency and legal situations. Targets high beginning/low intermediate learners, but can be adapted.

Thirteen Ed Online
PBS Thirteen/WNET
Features tips, lesson plans, and resources for ESL and EL/Civics instructors. Includes activities on migration and immigration, lives of immigrants, U.S. history, using the Internet to explore history.  

Primary Documents

The Learning Page
Library of Congress
Helps high school educators use American Memory Collections to teach history and culture.  Offers tips, definitions, rationale for using primary sources, hands-on activities discussion topics, lesson plans, suggestions for using the collections in curriculum, and professional development resources.  Provides online access to100 collections of rare materials including photographs, audio recordings, and film clips. Adaptable for higher level adult ESL learners.

Our Documents Initiative
National Archives and Records Administration
Encourage discussion about rights and responsibilities of citizens in a democracy by presenting 100 milestone documents of American history from 1776 to 1965, including background. Provides Teacher Sourcebook, suggestions for introducing the milestones, and lesson plan ideas.  Sourcebook guides how to use the website’s resources and highlights award-winning lessons. Lesson content geared to higher level learners.

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