- Deadline: April 15, 2012 *
Congress in the Classroom is a national, award-winning education program now in
its 21st year. Developed and sponsored by The Dirksen Congressional Center, the
workshop is dedicated to the exchange of ideas and information on teaching
Congress in the Classroom is designed for high school or middle school teachers
who teach U.S. history, government, civics, political science, or social
studies. Forty teachers will be selected to take part in the program. All
online applications must be received by no later than April 15, 2012. We will
notify individuals of our decisions by April 30, 2012. Although the workshop
will feature a variety of sessions related to Congress, the 2012 program will
also include presentations about the 2012 presidential election and the
workshop blends two kinds of sessions. Some emphasize ideas and resources that
teachers can use almost immediately in their classrooms- sessions about primary
sources and Best Practices are good examples. Other sessions deal with more
abstract topics. Think of them as resembling graduate-level courses, stronger
on content than on classroom applications. If you are looking for a program
that features one or the other exclusively, Congress in the Classroom® is
probably not right for you. Throughout the program, you will work with subject
matter experts as well as colleagues from across the nation. This combination
of firsthand knowledge and peer-to-peer interaction will give you new ideas,
materials, and a professionally enriching experience.
"Until now so much of what I did in my class on Congress was straight
theory-this is what the Constitution says, "noted one of our teachers." Now I
can use these activities and illustrations to help get my students involved in
the class and at the very least their community but hopefully in the federal
government. This workshop has given me a way to help them see how relevant my
class is and what they can do to help make changes in society."
The 2012 workshop will begin Monday afternoon, July 23, and end at noon on
Thursday, July 26. All sessions will take place at the headquarters hotel,
Embassy Suites, East Peoria, Illinois.
The program is certified by the Illinois State Board of Education for up to 22
Continuing Education Units. The program also is endorsed by the National
Council for the Social Studies.
Participants are responsible for (1) a non-refundable $125 registration fee
(required to confirm acceptance after notice of selection) and (2)
transportation to and from Peoria, Illinois. Many school districts will pay all
or a portion of these costs.
The Center pays for three nights lodging at the headquarters hotel (providing a
single room for each participant), workshop materials, local transportation,
all but three meals, and presenter honoraria and expenses.
The Center spends between $35,000 and $40,000 to host the program each year.
What follows are the sessions planned for the 2012 edition of Congress in the
Classroom. Please re-visit the site for changes as the program develops.
Session Titles, 2012:
In addition to the sessions below, additional sessions will be listed as
speakers are confirmed.
- "New Approaches to Teaching about Congress" Paul C. Milazzo, Department of
History, Ohio University
- "Six Promising Approaches to Civic Education" Shawn P. Healy, Chair, Illinois
Civic Mission Coalition and Resident Scholar and Director of Professional
Development, McCormick Foundation Civics Program
- "Why Do People Vote the Way They Do?" Andrew Civettini, Department of
Political Science, Knox College
- "Using Fantasy Congress to Engage Your Students" Jennifer Hora, Department of
Political Science, Valparaiso University
- "Congress at Work: Going to the Source Documents" Christine Blackerby, Center
for Legislative Archives, National Archives and Records Administration
- "Finding Humor in Congress" Frank Mackaman, The Dirksen Congressional Center
- "A View of Congress from the White House: What the Presidential Tapes Reveal"
KC Johnson, Department of History, Brooklyn College
- "What Accounts for a Successful Presidential Administration?" Frank Mackaman,
The Dirksen Congressional Center
- "A Journalist's Take on Congress" David Lightman, Congressional
Correspondent, McClatchy News Service
- "Teaching with Primary Sources" Cindy Rich, Project Director, Teaching with
Primary Sources, Eastern Illinois University
- "Campaigning for Congress 2012" Peter Wielhouwer, Department of Political
Science, Western Michigan University
- "The Youth Leadership Initiative and E-Congress" Meg Heubeck, Director of
- "I Know Who Will Win the Presidential Election in 2012!" Frank Mackaman, The
Dirksen Congressional Center
- "Listen Up Legislators: How to Get Your Point Across" Stephanie Vance, the
Advocacy Guru, Washington DC
Take a look at The Dirksen Center Web site --
http://www.dirksencenter.org/print_programs_CongressClassroom.htm  -- to see
what participants say about the program.
- REGISTRATION *
If you are interested in learning more about the sessions and registering for
the Congress in the Classroom 2012 workshop, you can complete an online
registration form found at: