This article explains why elementary school children need civic education, identifies common obstacles that frustrate efforts, then describes how the Storypath approach can provide all students with opportunities for powerful civic learning. An actual application in a culturally diverse fourth-grade classroom illustrates how children grappled with Seattle’s affordable housing issue as they created and enacted Storypath’s five components, namely setting, characters, context, critical incidents, and concluding event. It also demonstrates how Storypath effectively integrates social studies content, literacy skills, and social-emotional learning (SEL) through cooperative small-group episodes that produce meaningful and memorable lived experiences for students engaged in civic discourse and democratic decision-making. The article concludes by listing and explaining how Storypath nurtures multiple positive outcomes. These include (a) providing a feasible framework for organizing complex curricula; (b) stimulating imagination, motivation, investment, and commitment to learning; (c) engaging rigorous discussion for cognitive growth; (d) embodying authentic teaching and learning; (e) grounding effective cooperative learning; (f) supporting successful curriculum integration; (g) promoting accomplishment of national and state standards; (h) enabling individual differentiation for success; (i) developing civic capacity; (j) cultivating transfer of learning within and outside of classrooms; and (k) furthering the civic mission of schools.
McGuire, M. E.
, Stevahn, L.
, Bronsther, S. W.
Storypath: A Powerful Tool for Engaging Children in Civic Education.
Democracy and Education,
(2), Article 4.
Available at: https://democracyeducationjournal.org/home/vol27/iss2/4