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Street Law Guide: Getting Started

Resources for Street Law students.


This guide provides Street Law students with resources to plan lessons and learn about their schools.

Researching Schools

These resources can give you an outline of a school's demographics, strengths, and some issues they might be facing.

5 Essentials Survey - In this survey, students, teachers, and parents rate their school on measures related to the school's climate and culture. Use the dropdown menu to choose which years' results you want to see. You can use the results as an overview, or choose to go into more granular data.

Illinois School Report Card - Gives demographic information about schools.

News Sources Covering Schools

Block Club - Reports on local news.

Chalkbeat Chicago - Source for education reporting.

Subject Guide

Profile Photo
Leah Whitesel
Reference Librarian
Philip H. Corboy Law Center
25 E. Pearson St.
Chicago, IL 60611

Lesson Planning Resources


Bill of Rights Institute - Lesson plans on the US Government, and the Constitution, including primary sources. 

The Constitution Center - Lesson plans and teaching resources about the US Constitution.

Constitutional Democracy Project - Run out of Kent College of Law.  Provides resources and programming for students of all ages and levels, including whole units on controversial issues like abolishing the electoral college and defunding the police.

Featured Resource - Landmark Cases - Managed by Street Law, Inc. Includes many Supreme Court cases, with activities based on the text of the case, and the Constitutional issues addressed in the case. 

Street Law - Teaching resources on a variety of law- and government-related issues. 

University of Washington Street Law  - lesson plans from UW's Street Law class. Some of them are outdated, and many are specific to the state of Washington.


Ben's Guide - Created by the Government Publishing Office. Has short lessons about government and elections. Better for younger students, or students new to the subject.

iCivics - Founded by Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. Has activities and games for students of all ages, including options in Spanish. 

Featured Resource - Mikva Challenge - Democracy is a verb! Contains action civics lessons for middle through high school, including the Project Soapbox speech competition, elections, student voice, and democratic classrooms. Mikva also offers lessons based on current events, often the day after they occur.


Ballotpedia - Who represents you? Who is running against them? The Ballot Lookup tool shows who is on your ballot in the next election, including short candidate bios, endorsements, and their positions on issues. Good for federal and state elections, not reliable for local elections.

Chicago Board of Elections - Enter an address and click "Public Officials" to see who represents you, from the national to local level. Before you use this, remember that not all students have a permanent address or want to share their address. Think of alternatives a student could use, such as the school's address.

Open Secrets - Tracks donations to candidates, including top contributors and top industries. - Resources about registering to vote in every state.

Vote411 - Learn where candidates stand on the issues.

Media Literacy

News Literacy Project - Includes lesson plans and a forum for educators to connect with each other, as well as professional development opportunities.

Community-Building and Teaching Strategies

Featured Resource - Facing History and Ourselves - Teaches empathy through historical case studies. Includes full units, lesson plans, and primary sources.  You will need a free account on this website.


Primary Sources

Primary source lesson plans will always take longer than you expect. Choose what is important to you, and budget time accordingly!

Common Lit - Reading-based lessons using primary sources. Filter for legal document and news for law-related lessons. Can also modify for reading level and age of students.

Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History - Wide-ranging collection of US history primary sources. The search function can filter by time period, topic, and type of source.

Library of Congress Primary Source Sets - Includes classroom materials and lesson plans using primary sources from the Library of Congress's extensive collection.

Television News Archive - Run by Vanderbilt University, and includes television clips beginning in 1968 from major US television stations.

Multimedia Resources


60-Second Civics - From the Center for Civic Education. Quick podcasts on civics-related issues.

Civics 101 - From New Hampshire Public Radio. Short episodes of basic civics concepts.

More Perfect - By the creators of Radiolab. Long-form podcasts exploring Supreme Court cases. Check out the one on Marbury v. Madison! 


Center for Civic Education - YouTube channel of the Center for Civic Education. Short videos on a variety of subjects.

Crash Course - US Government and Politics - Short videos about civic issues accompanied by animations.

Mr. Beat's Supreme Court Briefs - YouTube channel with short videos summarizing the facts and holdings of Supreme Court cases.