Back to Social Studies Home

Civics and Government In Action...
A New Approach to U.S. Studies and Citizenship

Over $5.8 Million in the Making!

Click HERE to view an entire DVD from this series.
(requires Windows Media Player 9 or higher - Download Windows Media Player 9)

Learners pursuing the study of civics, citizenship or social studies now have an alternative to the traditional textbook and lecture approach: On Common Ground. This new series is an ideal companion series to Crossroads Café, the widely acclaimed television and print series, now airing on PBS, that teaches English to speakers of other languages.

The fifteen half-hour On Common Ground videos, packed with intense, thought-provoking dramas, offer viewers a rich opportunity for the lively consideration of civics concepts, and meaningful discussion and debate. The backdrop for the anthology of stories that unfold is the City Hall of a medium-sized city. The characters that are central to the series, like the audience for On Common Ground, are both native and foreign born - a blend of ethnicities, races, ages, and backgrounds. The dramas themselves reflect the real-life choices citizens face as they strive to maintain a civil society. They do not shy away from issues that may be "uncomfortable," or lack a single "right" answer. "Our goal," says Sally Beaty, executive producer of the series, "is to encourage learners to probe multiple layers of complex civil issues so they will come to understand and appreciate what the principles of constitutional democracy in the United States really mean."

Toward this end, the emphasis is not on memorization of isolated facts, but rather on what it means to be a citizen of this country, and the rights and responsibilities associated with citizenship. The historical underpinnings of the nation are linked to the themes of the stories in short documentaries called "Turning Points." These segments, which conclude each episode, focus on a sequence of events or a pivotal situation in the history of the United States that proved to be a turning point in the evolution of our constitutional democracy. College and secondary level instructors - in civics, government, political science, and history - will find On Common Ground a valuable addition to their curricula. At the adult and continuation school levels, the series will serve as a vital teaching resource in support of GED or ABE, social studies, citizenship, and advanced ESL instruction.

On Common Ground was designed to support the national standards for civics and government developed by the Center for Civic Education and key history standards developed by the U.S. History Curriculum Task Force. Each episode is correlated with an On Common Ground multi-level Worktext chapter that focuses on specific themes, concepts and vocabulary. In addition, separate Teacher's Resource Books support teaching with the series in a classroom or at a distance.





1. Domino Effect

City Hall comes under siege when an unemployed worker blames the government for his legal and financial difficulties and takes revenge.

Why government is necessary; the purpose it serves

Events leading to the war for independence.

2. Like Taking Candy From a Baby

Law enforcement and city personnel attempt to infiltrate a telemarketing boiler room scam that preys on elderly immigrants.

The U.S. Constitution as the basis for the rule of law

The colonists set about to form a "more perfect Union" based on the rule of law-the Constitution

3. For the Greater Good

The city is polarized when a proposed highway project threatens homes in the Latino section of the city.

Individual rights versus the public or common good.

Why the first ten amendments, the Bill of Rights, were added to the Constitution.

4. Between a Rock and a Hard Place

When compliance with federal law threatens the city with financial disaster, the city comes into direct conflict with the disabled community and the judicial branch of the federal government.

Separation of powers among the three branches of government, checks, and balances

Constitutional principles that guard against the abuse of power by government officials.

5. Collision Course I

When an avowed anti-immigrant extremist plans to speak at a rally, the city grapples with difficult freedom-of-speech issues.

Freedom of expression and immigration

Reasons for immigration; patterns of immigration

6. Collision Course II

A law firm headed by two immigrants is divided over representing someone who espouses anti-immigrant sentiments.

Freedom of speech; equal protection under the law

A test case for the First Amendment: Does it really protect the expression of ideas we don't like?

7. A Delicate Balance

An investigative reporter has information that could convict a rapist, but only if the reporter divulges the source of the information.

Freedom of the press

The significance of freedom of the press: it role, importance and limits in a representative democracy

8. Rules of the Game

Following the drug related death of a high school student, law enforcement officials take questionable measures in seeking justice.

Due process of law and limited government

The "fairness" doctrine...what due process of the law means to people who live in the United States

9. Sticks and Stones I

An immigrant businessman who has been physically assaulted by a member of an influential family seeks justice.

Fourth Amendment limitations, right to privacy and criminal due process

How the Constitution protects the rights of people suspected and accused of committing a crime

10. Sticks and Stones II

When a young man from a wealthy family goes on trial for assault, the truth emerges from an unlikely source.

The judicial system

The steps government must follow to protect the rights of the accused

11. A House Divided

The race for a City Council seat causes deep divisions, especially among black residents of the district.

Popular sovereignty, the right to vote, hold office and participate in the political process

The historical battle to broaden the definition of "voter" to include blacks, women and 18 to 21 year-olds

12. Fall From Grace I

Flagrant abuses in the inner city apartment building lead to charges of corruption in City Hall.

Limited government and consent of the governed

Historic concepts, from other countries and times, form the cornerstones of the U.S. [political; system,

13. Fall From Grace II

As facts about the deplorable conditions in an inner city apartment building become public, citizens organize in opposition to the city council member who owns the property

The contract of trust between elected officials and voters

What happens if government officials violate the terms of their "contract" with the people they sever

14. Skin Deep

Community tensions run high when an immigrant's controversial small business ignites the anger of neighboring business owners.

Economics rights

How immigrants who came to this country to find work and a better life have contributed to the economy

15. Hidden Agenda

The city is embroiled in a civil rights controversy involving city hall workers, and a TV new anchor fights her own civil rights battle.

Diversity, civil liberties, and equal rights

Striving to achieve the ideal: how civil rights struggles and laborite unrest have helped to promote positive change.

Click Here to View Chart with Key Civics
and Government Concepts Standards

15 Video Series on DVD : $69500

For Public Libraries, the videos can stand alone.

Worktext A for Schools (Videos 1 thru 7) $1395

Worktext B for Schools (Videos 8 thru 15) $1395

Teacher's Resource Guide: Classroom Edition $2995

Teacher's Resource Guide: Distance Learning Edition $2995

On Common Ground Transcripts $2500

Campus Digital Delivery Rights Pricing

Donor states Florida, California and New York
call for special pricing.

To Order, Contact:

Video Resources Software

11767 South Dixie Highway
Miami, FL 33156