Civics Lesson Plans

Civics Education in New York State

New york state council for the social studies.This is a very introductory look at the complex make up of both NYS Government and the governments of local, county and state governments in NY.

The goal of these lessons is to bring a heightened knowledge of the formal system of government in New York State, a better understanding of the forces that can change the balance of power, and to develop an improved student understanding of how to be an active citizen, knowing their rights and responsibilities.

The lessons are based on the Key Ideas and Social Studies Practices of the New York State Social Studies Curriculum Framework.  The lesson plans could be integrated into existing units or combined for a unit of instruction on New York government.  With these lesson plans, Participation in Government teachers have ready-made resources which will engage high school seniors.  

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Academic Advisor Bios

Editor: Lisa Kissinger
Lisa Kissinger currently serves as the Shenendehowa Central School District Academic Administrator for Social Studies, Grades 6-12, in Clifton Park, New York, responsible for curriculum, instruction, assessment, and professional development for the department.   Prior to joining Shenendehowa, Lisa was the Social Studies District Coordinator for Anne Arundel County Public Schools, in Annapolis, Maryland.

Lisa is Co-Chair of the Curriculum & Assessment Committee for NYSCSS.  She is a member of the DemocracyReadyNY Coalition, the NYSED Civic Readiness Task Force, and a member of the League of Women Voters New York.

Teachers/Writers: Robert Keyser, Jody Butts, Katie Argus

Bob Keyser
Bob Keyser is a High School Social Studies teacher at Shenendehowa High School in Clifton Park, N.Y.  Prior to his teaching career, Bob worked for the New York State Assembly and Senate, as well as in Washington D.C.   Bob received an undergraduate degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from St. Bonaventure University and a Masters degree in Teaching from Sage Graduate School.

Katie Argus
Katie Argus has been with the Syracuse City Schools for 17 years as both a teacher of all grade 9 – 12 and as the first Social Studies Instructional Coach.  In her 17 years at SCSD, sh​e has found the most important and engaging lessons always involved civic action and has continued to find ways to get her students involved and prepared for being an informed and participating citizen.

Jody Butts
Jody Butts has been a history teacher for the last 18 years at Susquehanna Valley High School in Conklin, NY. She teaches AP World History and Participation in government; she is also the adviser of the National Honor Society and the coach of the Mock Trial Team.