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Using online legal resources

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Part of  JEA’s Scholastic Press Rights Commission’s Constitution Day lessons and activity package:

by Chris Waugaman
Three primary Common Core state standards addressed

(see http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy )
• CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.2a Introduce a topic; organize complex ideas, concepts, and information so that each new element builds on that which precedes it to create a unified whole; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., figures, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.

• CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

Brief goal/outcome statement:  Intended to be a lesson for use after initial introduction lessons in Scholastic Press Law for journalism I students. Students should be familiar with the Hazelwood case before beginning lesson plan.

  • Students will use their skills at gathering information and using online sources to guide them in times of legal uncertainty.
  • Students will learn how to make critical decisions regarding their press rights by applying the case outcomes they learn in this lesson.
• COMPREHENSION • PRACTICE •APPLICATION • REFLECTION
  • Gathering Information
  • Evaluation of Online Source Credibility
  • Documentation
  • Note-taking

 

  • Using web as resource
  • Responding to questions
  • Documentation
  • Related scenario for our school

 

  • Describe the process of using online resources
  • Discuss any questions you may still have

 

 

 

 


 Unit: Scholastic Press Rights
Lesson – Using Online Legal Resources

Length of lesson: One 90 minute block (35 minutes instruction/45 minutes activity/10 minute reflection)

Resources/Equipment:

Handouts/Internet/Computer

I. Introduction & Instruction: The instruction aspect of this lesson includes instruction in how to access legal information on the web. Begin with three scenarios/questions written on the board using recent student press cases.

Do police have the right to confiscate staff photos of an event involving criminal acts?

Article Describing What Happened:

James Madison University’s student newspaper – The Breezehttp://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/04/19/jmu-newsroom-raid-police_n_542707.html

Article Describing Legal Outcome:
http://splc.org/news/newsflash_archives.asp?id=2099&year=2010

Should an editorial critiquing the PE requirements at a school be grounds for censorship under Hazelwood 

Article Describing What Happened:

Albermarle High School’s student newspaper – The Revolution –
http://www.schillingshow.com/2010/06/24/phoenix-rising-banned-albemarle-high-school-editorial-re-published/

Article Describing Legal Outcome:
http://splc.org/news/newsflash_archives.asp?id=2108&year=2010

Can college publications print alcohol advertisements?

Article Describing What Happened:

Virginia Tech and the University of Virginia–the Collegiate Times and The Cavalier Daily –
http://www.collegiatetimes.com/ and 
http://www.cavalierdaily.com/ 

Article Describing Legal Outcome:
http://splc.org/news/newsflash_archives.asp?id=2063&year=2010

  • Briefly explain what happened in each of these cases from 2010.
  • Ask students to predict what they think that the court decided in each of the cases.
  • Lastly reveal the results and the impact that it had on the paper.
  • As a final element to the 35-minute discussion ask the students to conclude if these cases have or will impact our publication and work

At the end of each case explanation show them the linked pages included above to reveal the outcome. Key pages such as the SPLC web page will be introduced as a primary source for research as it involves the law of the student press.

List of helpful websites:
http://www.collegefreedom.org
http://www.firstamendmentschools.org/
http://teachfirstamendment.org/
http://www.freedomforum.org/
http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org/
http://www.nfoic.org/
http://jeasprc.org
http://www.splc.or
g

Sometimes this will take longer than 35 minutes.

II. Practice: Students will select a topic from a hat that involves a student press related dilemma (i.e. censorship, libel, prior review, etc. – for a list of topics visit SPLC.org). If there is a shortage of computers, or if students work better with a partner, have them pair up. No more than two people working together.

Students will then be instructed to use the internet to find one case within their topic area that has happened within the last ten years. They need to answer the following questions:

  1. Who does the case involve?
  2. What happened in the case? How does it involve your topic?
  3. Who has made the decision regarding the outcome of the case?
  4. Was there a precedent in this case? What was it?
  5. How did this case set a new precedence?
  6. Name and document all of your sources from the web, including web address.

III. Application:

Option One – Students for homework will then write a brief paper describing how a similar scenario to the one that they have researched could develop in their own school setting. The paper should be able to answer the same six questions as listed above only they would create hypothetical people and scenarios. The final aspect should explain how one of the staff members could access information to resolve the situation while protecting herself legally.

Option Two – Students will revise a current editorial policy either by changing the current language or adding additional language that addresses each of these scenarios should they arise in the students’ school.

The policy changes should be made to protect/cover the student journalists on staff. They will be shared with the class/staff the following period.

IV. Reflection: Have students write in their logs details about the process of finding online sources for information regarding scholastic legal issues. It can be as structured as you would like or as open as “what did you learn during the process of researching your topic that you did not realize would happen simply by following the examples explained at the beginning of the lesson.”

IV. Assessment: Credit for completing questions on researching topic. Credit for hypothetical scenario. Credit for reflection in daily log. Each assignment is worth 33% of the total unit grade. See RUBRIC ON NEXT PAGE.

IV. Assessment: Credit for completing questions on researching topic. Credit for hypothetical scenario. Credit for reflection in daily log. Each assignment is worth 33% of the total unit grade.

 

Grade A (100) B (90) C (80) D (70)
Questions on Selected Topic All questions are answered thoroughly with great detail included about case and sources (Special Attention Ques 6). All questions are answered adequately with some detail included about case and sources (Special Attention Ques 6). Most questions are answered. Question 6 must be answered. Some questions are answered. Question 6 must be answered.
Paper with Scenario The created scenario must be on topic with a great amount of detail included about case and sources (Special Attention Ques 6). The created scenario must be on topic with enough details to answer questions from activity one (Special Attention Ques 6). The created scenario addresses topic and answers most of the questions from activity one (Special Attention Ques 6). A scenario is created and it answers some of the questions from activity one (Special Attention Ques 6).
Reflection The reflection includes details about the process of online research. Some details are included. It reflects an understanding of the process and a response to the activity, The reflection addresses the process of online research. It reflects an understanding of the process and a response to the activity, The reflection shows an understanding of the process and a response to the activity, It responds to the activity,

 

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