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Ways to celebrate Constitution Day 2018

The Scholastic Press Rights Committee is again excited to provide lesson plans and activities to help you celebrate Constitution Day and the First Amendment. Constitution Day recognized Sept. 17 each year, and we have a trove of new and archived lessons and activities to help you raise awareness of the First Amendment’s rights and applications for students.

Take a look at the new lessons:

Write a Constitution Day letter to the editor (by Jeff Kocur): Have your students engage with your local newspaper to share their free expression experiences as a student in your school or community. Resources include prompts as well as an assessment rubric.

Analyzing what Twitter is and isn’t doing to combat fake news (by Susan McNulty) The principle of freedom of speech allows Americans the right to express opinions without censorship or restraint, and social media provides a 24/7 platform for that purpose. In this lesson, students will review what Twitter is doing — and not doing — to fight fake news.

Student expression rights: What are they, really? (by Matthew Smith): Guide your students through how the First Amendment protections apply to student speech, especially when it comes to walkouts, dress, and publication related to protest.

Examining the importance of scholastic journalism (by Lori Keekley): This advanced lesson will take students through examination and discussion concerning the importance of journalism so students can write an editorial explaining their points. When students publish, they may send the article for inclusion in the JEA/NSPA editorial project e-book, which will appear on JEA’s site.

Constitution day classroom quiz competition (by Matthew Smith): Encourage students to demonstrate their knowledge of the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights through a friendly competition. Resources are provided to conduct the competition using print-outs, Kahoot, or any other presentation tool.

First Amendment Blog (by John Bowen): Keep yourself informed of the importance of the First Amendment to our students and on what you can be doing to strengthen their understanding and practice of their rights.

Constitution Day fill-in-the-blank word search (by Matthew Smith): For a quick brain-teaser activity, see how many facts about the Constitution and Bill of Rights students can answer by finding them in word search. Answers can be found here.

Check out some of the lessons from the previous Constitution Day collections, too, many of which are still powerful and relevant.

Also feel free to send any feedback or questions to Matthew Smith or Jeff Kocur.

Constitution Day Committee
John Bowen, MJE, Kent State University (OH)
Lori Keekley, MJE, St. Louis Park High School (MN)
Jeff Kocur, CJE, Hopkins High School (MN)
Susan McNulty, Mitchell High School (FL)
Matthew Smith, CJE, Fond du Lac High School (WI)

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