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Constitution Day highlights from previous years

As we brainstormed ideas for this version of Constitution Day, we realized how many previous activities and lessons were still relevant today. Here are our top eight. If you’d like to revisit the previous years’ lesson and ideas, we’ve included links to each year at the end of the page.

 

Celebrating Constitution Day (Lori Keekley, 2015): This activity encourages the English, social studies and journalism teachers to engage students in exploring the Constitution’s relevance to their daily lives, facts about the Constitution and understanding the amendments to the Constitution

 

First Amendment School Dialogue (Jeff Kocur, 2017): Guide your students through a class-sized (or whole-school) dialogue about the five freedoms of the First Amendment. Students will identify and evaluate the impact of the First Amendment in their own lives and the lives of others.

 

The Importance of an Independent and Active Press (Matthew Smith, 2017): Expose students to the many possible benefits of independent media in a democracy through quotes and video excerpts of world leaders espousing the necessity of a free press. Students will evaluate and discuss their own reaction to these arguments.

 

Understanding the perils of prior review and restraint (Jeff Kocur, 2015): Click here for the activity. For additional resources and model ethical guidelines and staff manual procedures for this, go here and here.

 

Examining the gray area between political correctness and free speech (Matthew Smith, 2016): Students will explore several topics through peer discussion and real-world examples in small groups followed by a large-group discussion. By Matt Smith

 

The Decision to Report: Because You Can, Does that Mean you Should? (Jeff Kocur, 2013): Allows students to explore the conflict of reporting the truth when that truth may have consequences. Students work with several leading questions and apply them to several scenarios.

 

Our Right to Comment (Jeff Kocur, 2016): Since media organizations have moved to online formats, they have struggled with the practice of hosting online comments next to their content. Many news organizations require posters to meet specific standards, moderate the comments, and reserve the right to remove or delete comments and users. Some organizations even require each post be approved by a human before it can be live on their sites. More recently, NPR is the latest news organization to completely remove comments from its news sites. Students will explore the question whether the ability to comment on news stories creates a more or less informed culture. By Jeff Kocur

 

Takedown demands (John Bowen, 2014): This lesson addresses how to handle takedown requests. Students will work through two scenarios and then create a takedown request policy.

 

Previous Constitution Day lessons and activities by years:

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

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