About We The People
We the People...The Citizen and the Constitution is an instructional program for High School and Middle School students which teaches the history and principles of the American constitutional democracy while enhancing students' understanding of government. Students discover the contemporary relevance of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights at the same time. The program is based on materials developed by the Center for Civic Education and is nationally acclaimed by educators. We the People is aligned to the Ohio Learning Standards for Social Studies and English Language Arts.
We the People has a built-in authentic performance assessment: simulated congressional hearings. The simulated hearings allow students to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of constitutional principles. Students will have the opportunity to evaluate, take, and defend positions on relevant historical and contemporary issues.
Format of Simulated Congressional Hearings
- Students act as expert witnesses and "testify" their constitutional knowledge in the format of simulated congressional hearings. A volunteer judging panel- comprised of constitutional scholars, attorneys and policymakers- evaluate students' responses.
- A class is divided into six groups, based on the six units of the curriculum. Each group has 3-6 students, depending on the size of the class
- Each group works collaboratively to prepare answers to all the questions for the unit.
- Students review materials in the We the People textbook and research other materials, preparing a four-minute response to the question for each unit and to get ready to answer follow up questions related to the initial question.
Hearing (10 minutes per question)
- Groups of students orally respond to questions for four minutes (notes can be used)
- The judging panel asks students follow up questions and students respond (no notes allowed) for six minutes.
- The judging panel members assess the prepared oral presentation and the responses to the follow up questions using a scoring rubric.
For more information and details about the We the People Program please contact Tim Kalgreen; 614-485-3515 or tkalgreen@oclre,org
We the People textbooks are available for the elementary, middle, and high school levels to aid in the teaching of the curriculum. Visit store.civiced.org for the full selection of books available, including ordering entire class sets of textbooks.
The We the People textbook is also available in multiple digital formats, including an enhanced e-book. Visit http://new.civiced.org/resources/publications/ebooks to learn more. To view videos providing an in-depth look at how to use the newest enhanced e-book, visit http://www.oclre.org/we-people-resources For additional information regarding e-books, contact the Center for Civic Education at 818-591-9321
We the People High School
State Competition and Invitational
This year, over 300 students from 11 different schools and 10 different counties in Ohio competed.
Thank you to all students, teachers and volunteers that make this competition possible!
2017 Ohio High School We the People State Champions
BellBrook High School!!
Teacher: Erin Snowden
Congratulations to all 2017 High School We the People participants
- Findlay High School- 2nd Place
Teacher: Mark Dickman
- West Carrollton High School- 3rd Place
Teacher: P.J. Babb
- Archbold High School
Teacher: Andrea Oyer
- Ayersville High School
Teacher: Courtney Reiner
- Law & Leadership Institute
Site Administrator: Diane Cross
- Leaves of Learning High School
Teacher: Leslie Hamilton
- Ravenna High School
Teacher: Matthew Wunderle
- Strongsville High School
Teacher: Allison Papish
- Van Wert High School
Teacher: Jeff Kallas
- Washington High School
Teacher: Nick Geruntino
- Only classes rostered in the competition are eligible to be the state champion
- The state champion has the opportunity to represent Ohio at the National Finals
- In order to be eligible for the competition, schools/teams must meet rules set forth by the Center for Civic Education, including registering an entire rostered class that has studied all six units of the curriculum
- Open to any group of students, including groups that have not studied all six units, are not a complete rostered class or otherwise need accommodation
- While scores are earned, the Invitational is non-competitive and allows students the opportunity to participate without being ranked against other groups/classes
- The Invitational follows the same format and will run concurrently with the state competition
- Invitational participants are not eligible to advance to the National Finals
Seeing is believing! Teachers are invited to learn more about We the People by observing the state competition. Contact Tim Kalgreen (email@example.com; 614-485-3515) for more information.
We the People Middle School Showcase
Registration Deadline: Friday, April 14, 2017
Withdrawal deadline: Monday, May 1, 2017- no refunds after this date
State Showcase- Wednesday, May 17, 2017; Columbus State Community College Conference Center.
$25 per team for OCLRE members
$70 per team for non-members
OCLRE membership $30 per academic year
**All forms must be submitted by the registration deadline Friday, April 14, 2017**
Seeing is believing! Teachers are invited to learn more about We the People by observing the state showcase. Contact Tim Kalgreen (firstname.lastname@example.org; 614-485-3515) for more information
We The People: The Citizen and the Constitution
Cohort 3: 2017-2018 Academic Year
The program focuses on the Declaration of Independence, U.S. Constitution, and Bill of Rights, its histories, underpinnings, changes, and application.
Grant funding is available to help teachers learn in-depth content and time-tested pedagogy to engage students in learning about our founding documents and their importance, historically and contemporarily.
Click Here to download program flyer
Participating teachers will receive:
- $500 stipend
- Classroom set of We the People textbooks (up to $680 value)
- 50+ hours of content and pedagogy professional development
- Sub reimbursement
- Travel reimbursement
Teachers will be required to:
- Attend a minimum of 50+ hours of professional development, to include:
- Attend a We the People Summer Institute July 9-13, 2017
at Indiana University (mileage, lodging and food provided)
- Attend additional professional development workshops in Columbus during the school year;
Fall 2017 and Spring 2018 (Dates TBD)
- Attend a We the People Summer Institute July 9-13, 2017
- Teach a minimum of 40 hours of We the People curricular instruction
- Conduct We the People culminating activity with your students at your school
- Participate in Georgetown University research evaluation of the project by administering pre- and post-project assessments to students
Content topics include:
- What are the philosophical and historical foundations of the American political system?
- How did the Framers create the Constitution?
- How has the Constitution been changed to further the ideals contained in the Declaration of Independence?
- How have the values and principles embodied in the Constitution shaped American institutions and practices?
- What rights does the Bill of Rights protect?
- What challenges might face the American constitutional democracy in the 21st century?
The James Madison Legacy Project is a national initiative that takes part in 46 states.
Additional questions, comments, or concerns about the We The People James Madison Legacy Project can be directed to Tim Kalgreen email@example.com or 614-485-3515
So what is We the People?
We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution is a critically acclaimed academic program, administered nationally by the Center for Civic Education and in Ohio by the Ohio Center for Law-Related Education (OCLRE). It consists of a curriculum to teach the history, philosophies, evolution, and application of the U.S. Constitution, Bill of Rights, and other founding documents. The program also embeds an authentic assessment, simulated Congressional hearings, to help the students demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the content.
How do I get started?
Welcome aboard! We’re happy to hear of your interest. Supreme Court of Ohio Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor and Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine encourage you to participate. OCLRE typically offers a professional development in the fall. If you’re unable to attend the professional development, contact OCLRE. We are happy to schedule individual assistance for you. You can also get copies of the textbooks to start learning the program. Contact the Center for Civic Education to learn more about ordering e-books or printed books.
What is a simulated Congressional hearing?
The simulated Congressional hearing is the authentic assessment that is built into the program. Students are divided into groups, corresponding with the units of the textbooks. Each group prepares answers to questions based on the themes of their unit. The groups will answer the question in a four-minute oral presentation. Judges will then Q&A the students for six minutes to further probe their understanding and comprehension of the topic. Watch as P.J. Babb, teacher at West Carrollton High School, explains the simulated Congressional hearing and how to prepare for it.
What’s the difference between the Middle School and High School programs?
The process and structure are the same for both high school and middle school. The major difference is the level questions the students prepare and the textbook the students use. The High School level book and questions are written at a 12th grade level and expect a higher level of understanding and detail. The Middle School book and questions are written at an 8th grade level and don’t expect as high of a level of sophisticated answers as compared to the high school level. This makes it easy to differentiate within your class: if you have a struggling or advanced reader, you can use the level up or down to make it work for the student.
Do I need the textbooks to participate?
All the questions the students prepare for the simulated Congressional hearing are rooted in the We the People textbook. Using the textbook will make it easier to guide the students in their research. With that being said, no, the textbook is not required because all research can be done using outside resources.
I don’t want to compete, but I want to give my students the opportunity to participate. What are my options?
OCLRE offers a statewide competition for the high school level in January. The competition is set up to determine a state champion through competition, but if you choose to not compete, you can still participate in the non-competitive invitational. This run concurrent to the state competition and allows schools to participate without being compared to other classes. At the middle school level, the state showcase does not rank students first, second, third, etc., but instead all participants are awarded participatory awards. If you can’t come to the state competition/showcase, you can still do the program in your classroom. Need help setting that up? Contact OCLRE for assistance.
What if I can’t teach all the units? Can I still participate?
Absolutely. Participating in the state showcase or invitational gives teachers the flexibility to teach the units they can get to without overwhelming the students. If you are using the hearing in your classroom, you obviously have the flexibility to adjust to fit your students’ needs.
Are there restrictions on my students or the classes that participate?
If you are participating in the High School State Competition, an entire rostered class needs to participate. If you are participating in the state invitational or showcase, there isn’t a restriction on the make-up of your participating students. It can be an after-school group, pull out group, partial class, etc.