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YLI Civics Resources LIVE Across the Nation!

If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

The team at YLI has been squeezing a lot of lemons as of late. The arrival of COVID-19 and the closure of schools across the nation has meant the need for quick thinking and improvisation on the part of both the University of Virginia Center for Politics and its Youth Leadership Initiative. Thanks to support from the University of Virginia, YLI has access to Zoom, an online communications platform that can be used to hold video conferences including teacher workshops and student classes remotely.

The YLI team immediately realized the need to provide support to teachers, students and parents transitioning from in-classroom instruction to remote learning. As quickly as school systems were closing, educators were scrambling to find quality materials that would engage, excite, and empower students who were separated from their teachers, friends, and the familiarity of the classroom. The first resource YLI rolled out was a Teacher Workshop highlighting the Anytime E-Congress and the First Freedom Wall. Two sessions were held to maximize participation in various regions of the country. Meg Heubeck, Director of Instruction, was able to share visuals from the website, news articles relative to the topic, and demonstrate the workings of both major YLI programs. Over two thousand students benefited from having their teachers participate in the first online teacher workshop. The Youth Leadership Initiative plans to do these weekly for the duration of the academic year.

With the successful weekly teacher workshops underway YLI is adding another resource for teachers, students, and parents. YLI will teach a weekly civics lesson that will help students understand how our government works, how it works better when citizens participate, and how citizens can participate in productive and meaningful ways. Starting on Thursday, March 26th with a lesson on Media Literacy YLI hopes to connect students from across the nation using Zoom technology to discuss, debate, and compromise on our nation’s future. This week’s lesson includes a social psychology experiment with social media, a student poll, and a quiz show! Let the YLI team engage your students for one hour discussing the role of the media in our daily lives. To register your students, email ylihelp@virginia.edu with your name, state, and number of students who will be participating. A YLI team member will return your message with a link for you to distribute to those who are participating. Media Literacy: Making Sense of the 24-7 News Cycle lesson plan that will be featured in our first online class.

Keep watch for new resources and activities from YLI!