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Program in the Humanities

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Upcoming Trainings

If you have questions regarding the posted trainings, contact Paul Bonnici at 919.962.1544 or

 Fall 2015 Trainings

1. Banned Books in the Classroom: Teaching the Freedom to Read
Date & Location:September 12, 2015; Chapel Hill Public Library

“You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.” – Ray Bradbury

Imagine going to your school media center or the public library in search of incredible classics like “Where the Wild Things Are,” “To Kill a Mockingbird,” or “The Bluest Eye,” only to discover that the book is no longer available due to objections posed by a person or group. While we may assume this is a thing of the past, the challenging and banning of books still happens in the United States more often than you might realize.

Middle and high school educators are invited to join the Chapel Hill Public Library and the UNC Civic Education Consortium for an engaging day exploring past and present issues related to the freedom to read, censorship, intellectual freedom, freedom of speech, and more, while exploring how to integrate these crucial topics and themes into the classroom. Educators will be provided the opportunity to engage as lifelong learners as they expand their content knowledge in discussions and presentations from legal and university scholars. Time will also be provided to explore how to use various interactive strategies to engage middle and high school students in various activities related to the freedom to read, as well as participate in parts of ready-to-implement lesson plans utilizing interactive simulations, art, role plays, and other creative critical thinking strategies. We will also discuss ideas for celebrating Banned Books Week (September 27 – October 3, 2015), the annual celebration of the freedom to read which started in 1982, the same year the Supreme Court ruled that students’ First Amendment rights were violated when Kurt Vonnegut’s “Slaughterhouse-Five” and eight other books were removed from school libraries. Despite the legal precedent, schools and libraries still receive formal challenges to remove books from library shelves and reading lists today.

In addition to access to lessons and activities, each attendee will also receive a set of the Chapel Hill Public Library’s Banned Books Trading Cards, a set of cards based on art designed by local artists and inspired by books that have been censored or banned, as well as activities for utilizing these cards as a teaching tool. Prizes related to banned books will also be given away and a catered lunch will be provided. Educators will receive .5 CEUs for participation in this event.

Join us as we explore and discover new and innovative ways of approaching, planning for, and utilizing banned books as a way to engage students in critical thinking and interactive learning, ultimately making crucial connections to modern day events and issues. Teachers, librarians, after school providers and other educators interested in covering these themes and topics with youth don’t want to miss this exciting FREE event!

This event is funded by the Freedom to Read Foundation’s Judith F. Krug Memorial Fund ( The Freedom to Read Foundation (FTRF) is a non-profit legal and educational organization affiliated with the American Library Association.  FTRF protects and defends the First Amendment to the Constitution and supports the right of libraries to collect – and individuals to access – information.

To register for this event, complete the registration form here.

Download the workshop agenda here.

If you have any questions, email Paul Bonnici at

2. Let the Sunshine In: Exploring Government Transparency
Date & Location: Friday, October 2; 10 AM – 4:30 PM; Chapel Hill Public Library – Meeting Room B

The majority of people believe that having an open, transparent government is crucial to a thriving democracy, yet most people are unaware of the laws that encourage such transparency. Middle and high school teachers are invited to join the NC Open Government Coalition and the NC Civic Education Consortium to gain a deeper understanding of North Carolina’s Sunshine Laws and the federal Freedom of Information Act. Throughout this engaging day-long program, we will explore how these laws grant citizens the right of access to public meetings and public records, various related controversies concerning the First Amendment, and how to make this information relevant and engaging for your middle and high school students.  Attendees will be provided the opportunity to expand their content knowledge in discussions and presentations from expert scholars, government officials, and journalists regarding local, state and national issues and perspectives related to government transparency, including current events that stimulate awareness and an understanding of the impact of these issues on our everyday lives. We will explore critical questions such as:

  • How should our democracy balance national security with First Amendment rights?
  • Has the federal government met President Obama’s promise to “usher in an era of open government?”
  • What happens to requests for documents from local, state & federal agencies under Sunshine Laws?
  • Should police be required to use body cameras and should the public should have access to images from these cameras?
  • Should governments be able to hold closed meetings under any circumstances?
  • When should records of closed government meetings become public?

In order assist teachers in translating this material back in their middle and high school classrooms, the agenda will also include interactive pedagogical sessions that complement the scholarly discussions and content presented. Teachers will explore skills, strategies and ready-to-implement lesson plans for conveying these complex themes in creative, engaging and interactive ways. Educators teaching civics, government, history, and law in the middle and/or high school classroom do not want to miss this exciting FREE event!

Attending teachers will receive:

  • 1.0 CEUs/renewal credits
  • Lunch & snacks
  • Lesson plans, teaching ideas, and pedagogical training
  • Substitute reimbursement can be requested if your school system is unable to cover the cost. To request a substitute scholarship, please submit a letter signed by your principal explaining the need for substitute reimbursement; the letter should accompany the professional development registration form.
  • Single occupancy hotel accommodations can be requested for Thursday night for participants residing more than 300 round-trip miles from the Chapel Hill Public Library. If you do not meet the mileage requirements but have special circumstances for which you would like to request a room, you can inquire by contacting Paul Bonnici at

To register for this event, complete the registration form here.

If you have any questions, email Paul Bonnici at

 Funding for this event if provided by the North Carolina Open Government Coalition.

3. FREE Lesson Plans and Fall Professional Learning Webinars from the Constitutional Rights Foundation
The NC Civic Education Consortium’s friends at the Constitutional Rights Foundation (CRF) are offering incredible lesson plans and webinars to help teachers implement state (Essential Standards) and national (Common Core) standards. Check out CRF’s resources at Whether you are teaching middle school Social Studies, Civics & Economics, US History I & II, APUS, AP World, or otherwise, there is something for everyone! Click on the links below to register for their webinars.

And what about the chance to win $100? Every time you use or review one of CRF’s Common Core resources (i.e., a lesson plan or webinar) and complete their survey on the resource, you will be entered into a quarterly drawing for a $100 gift card! The survey is very simple and won’t take more than 5-10 minutes. (NOTE: While the survey refers to Common Core, North Carolina teachers will answer each question in terms of NC’s Essential Standards.)

Contact Christie Norris at with any questions and Happy Teaching!

 4. FREE Fall Professional Learning Webinars offered by CRF
 ***If you are a North Carolina teacher who would like to receive CEUs for your participation in the webinars below, the NC Civic Education Consortium can issue your credit. Contact Christie Norris at for more information regarding how to receive a CEU form.

a) Get Ready for Constitution Day by Teaching the Bill of Rights with a Visitor from Outer Space!
Earth has been invaded. Your rights will be limited to just a few. What will they be? In this interactive free webinar and Common Core-aligned lesson, learn how to use entertaining technology to teach about fundamental rights while strengthening students’ speaking, listening, and collaborative skills. Teachers at all grade levels can get students excited about knowing and explaining their rights.
When: Wednesday, September 9, 2015 from 3:30 to 4:30 (PT)
Where: Online (Register at

 b) Civic Action Project: Project-Based Learning Gets Students Ready for Their Future
Do you want your students to be prepared for life beyond high school? Join CRF to explore how project-based, Common Core-aligned learning in civics and government gets students motivated to actively engage with policymakers and communities while learning the skills to prepare them for college and careers.  Participants receive free online Civic Action Project (CAP) materials, and the first 50 to register and participate receive a free $10.00 Starbucks gift card.
When: Wednesday, September 16, 2015 from 3:30 to 4:30 PM (PT)
Where: Online (Register at

c) Using Supreme Court Cases to Teach Common Core Standards with Special Guest Erwin Chemerinsky
Join Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the School of Law at UC Irvine, and CRF staff in a preview of the U.S. Supreme Court’s year and learn how to use Supreme Court cases to infuse rigor into the teaching of reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills for high school students. In this free webinar, you will learn how to use a crucial case on affirmative action as a case study for instruction.
When: Wednesday, September 30, 2015 from 3:30 to 4:30 (PT)
Where: Online (Register at

d) If Men Were Angels: Teaching the Constitution with the Federalist Papers
The Constitution was signed in 1787, and everyone was happy, right? Not exactly. Who supported the Constitution? Who didn’t? And why? This webinar will show you how your students can engage in discussion, presentation, role play, and an exciting debate that will bring the ideas of The Federalist Papers…and the Constitution…alive.
When: Thursday, October 8th, 2015 from 3:30 to 4:30 (PT)
Where: Online (Register at

e) New State Standards do Not Have to Be a Great Wall: Fun Ways to Teach About China
This webinar will explore four Common Core-aligned lessons for middle school that provide interactive ways to teach early Chinese history, writing, religion, law, and economics. Ever play “Oregon Trail”? We’ll highlight our similar “Silk Road” simulated journey with attendees. By the way, the first 20 registrants who attend the webinar get a stipend.
When: Thursday, October 15th, 2015 from 3:30 to 4:30 (PT)
Where: Online (Register at

f) Civic Engagement + Writing = Uncommonly Good Idea!
Lucky CRF! Our Civic Action Project (CAP) was profiled in a new book, Uncommonly Good Ideas, published by National Writing Project. Join the authors of the book and the CAP teacher who was profiled to explore what happens when students are writing about and discussing issues they care about.
Oh…and the first 25 teachers to register and attend the webinar will get a free copy of Uncommonly Good Ideas!
When: Tuesday, October 20th, 2015 from 3:30 – 4:30 (PT)
Where: Online (Register at

Save the Date for the Following Upcoming Trainings

1. Join the Civic Education in New Orleans, LA for the NCSS Conference!
We’ll be presenting on our collaborative project funded by and utilizing resources from the Library of Congress: It’s About Time: TimeBooks Visualize Regional Perspectives of US History. This session will actively explore Library of Congress resources through a digital textbook designed on a highly interactive timeline tool called ChronoZoom to highlight the interconnectedness of historical events. Stop by and join us on Friday, Nov 13 – 4:25 pm to 5:15 pm in the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, Room 217! For information about the NCSS Conference and registration information, click here.

2. Witnessing the Witnesses: Teaching the Holocaust When The Survivors Are Gone
In partnership with the Center for Holocaust, Genocide & Human Rights Education of North Carolina
March 4-5, 2016; Chapel Hill Public Library – Meeting Room A

Details and registration information coming soon!

Cancellation for Consortium Trainings

The NC Civic Education Consortium is dedicated to assisting teachers by providing free trainings, materials, participant meals, etc. The Consortium does not require a deposit or fee to attend our trainings; therefore, we ask that registered participants needing to cancel do so at least one week prior to the training date. Please understand that participants who do not cancel their spot in a timely fashion prevent teachers on the waiting list from participating.

Attend the Program in the Humanities & Human Values’ General Seminars at a Discount & Receive a $75 Stipend Post-Attendance!

In addition to the free teacher trainings offered by the Consortium, educators can also register to attend the numerous seminars offered by the Program in the Humanities and Human Values (the Program.) While these lectures are designed for a general audience and will not include pedagogical training, they are an excellent way for teachers to broaden their content knowledge in various subjects as life-long-learners.

Scholarships covering 50% of the tuition are available for all Adventures in Ideas seminars for currently employed full-time teachers, librarians, and administrators in K-12 public and private schools and community colleges. These teacher scholarships for general seminars are made possible by generous donors to the Humanities Program. Check out the listing of general programs offered by the Program in the Humanities & Human Values here.

If you see a general program you would like to attend, take the following steps to apply for the 50% discount:

  • If filling out the paper registration form, complete and sign the “Attention Teachers” portion of the form and enclose payment (the full tuition less the 50% discount.) Optional meals are also served for a fee; should you choose to participate in the optional meal, you’ll add that amount to your discounted tuition amount.  If registering online, please follow the instructions listed on our registration page.
  • Funding restrictions do not allow us to award scholarships to substitute or retired teachers. The Program’s “first time participant’s discount” or a “three or more discount” may not be combined with a teacher scholarship.
  • Should you need to cancel your participation, $30 is non-refundable. Reservations for optional meals may be cancelled up to noon two business days before a seminar.
  • Applications without a signature or payment cannot be processed and will be returned.
  • Please note that scholarships are not needed for any event hosted by the Program’s Civic Education Consortium, which are free of charge to teachers. Scholarships are only needed for the Program in the Humanities & Human Values’ general programs.

Teachers who attend the Humanities Program’s Adventures in Ideas seminars can apply for a $75 stipend via the Daisy Edmister Fund!

The Daisy Edmister Teacher Support Fund, established by Mr. Russell Edmister, honors the memory of his mother, Daisy M. Edmister. The Fund offers an award of $75 to currently-employed, full-time, K-12 and community college teachers who attend Adventures in Ideas seminars. Attending educators will receive an application at the event to submit at the end of the program in order to receive the $75 award. (A check will be mailed to the participant post-seminar.) Teachers can receive one stipend per semester and must attend all hours of the seminar in order to receive the stipend. (Please note that awards are not offered at Civic Education Consortium events, since they are free of charge.) For more information, please call 919.962.1544.

NEW: Scholarships for Teachers at Raleigh Charter High School

Thanks to a generous gift from Novie Beth Ragan Gad, whose children are graduates of Raleigh Charter, both full and part-time teachers at Raleigh Charter High School are eligible to receive a scholarship to any Humanities Program seminar. Funds will be reimbursed upon successful completion of the seminar. For information, please call 919.962.1544.

Custom Trainings

The Consortium also offers customized trainings for individual schools, school districts, and extra-curricular programs (i.e., 4-H, Youth Councils, etc.) We can also organize a professional development retreat for your group at UNC-Chapel Hill.  Costs vary. To learn more about our customization options, as well as our trainings for after school and youth leadership programs, please contact Christie Hinson Norris at 919.843.9387  or

Professional Development Spotlight

From Segregation to Civil Rights: A Journey through North Carolina’s History

On January 14th, 2008, the NC Civic Education Consortium hosted a training for North Carolina history educators on teaching about our state’s diverse past.

  • Check out this video for an inside look at our teacher workshops!
  • To access the curriculum from this workshop, click here.


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