Supplemental Resource Links

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 Publishing 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. Department 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.

National Museum of American 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.

National Park Service Expedition Series (Video)
Developed for students by the National Parks Service, this fun and informative five-part video series explores the history and significance of Ellis Island. Park rangers guide viewers through the creation of the first federal immigration inspection station and share the experiences of many immigrants who were processed there at the turn of the 20th century. 

The videos can act as a primer for education groups visiting the island or can be paired with other virtual field trip options. The park’s website includes a virtual tour, information about the history of the island, and educational resources. There are also limited ranger teleconference sessions available for fourth-grade classes.

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 (Beginning/Intermediate Teacher Edition (PDF))
New York City Commission on Human Rights and New York Immigration Coalition
Includes adult legal literacy curriculum for ESOL classes with student and teacher workbooks.  Provides lesson plans and take home activities.  ESOL students learn about recognizing discrimination while improving their language proficiency.

USA Learns Citizenship
A project of USA Learns

USA Learns Citizenship is a free online course, delivered within the USA Learns site, which teaches the information and English language skills necessary to prepare applicants for the naturalization interview and test. It covers all aspects of the interview, including questions about the N-400 application, as well as the reading, writing, and civics portions of the test. 

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 to 100 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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