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Ethics workshop offers videos, lesson plans

Posted by on Oct 12, 2016 in Blog, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments




by Candace Perkins Bowen, MJE

When Kent State University and The Poynter Institute team up for their annual ethics workshop, they don’t forget high school journalism teachers and students who can’t come to Ohio for a day of top speakers and plenty of exploration into some aspect of media ethics.

Again this year, with Social Justice Journalism as the theme, they have provided detailed lesson plans to go along with some of the day’s events.

Keynoter — and the subject of one set of plans — was Jose Antonio Vargas, the opening speaker at the National High School Journalism convention in Los Angeles in the spring. Archived videos of his very personal and passionate talk about being an undocumented immigrant plus videos of all the other panels of the day are now available online.

A lesson plan about Vargas’s situation and one of a panel focused on the Flint water crisis — and what those could mean as student media topics  — are downloadable here.

Archives for previous workshops on topics such as Enduring Trauma, That’s Entertainment, Dirty Politics and Foul Play (sports issues) are also available along with lesson plans. (Archives in the top purple bar)

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Set a good example:
Credit others’ work

Posted by on Dec 3, 2014 in Blog, Law and Ethics, Uncategorized | 1 comment


by Candace Perkins Bowen, MJE

Part 2 of a 2-part blog on teacher plagiarism and copyright issues

As the first part of this series noted, we teachers can sometimes be the most innocent thieves. That lesson plan we found online, the handout with another teacher’s name whited out, the great final project – when are we borrowing and when are we stealing?

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Celebrate Scholastic Journalism Week
with lesson plan gifts for others

Posted by on Feb 12, 2013 in Blog, Law and Ethics, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching, Uncategorized | 0 comments


by Candace Bowen
It’s time to celebrate! Feb. 17-23 is Scholastic Journalism Week. Did your staff make 45 cookies, each with one word from the First Amendment on it? Wear staff t-shirts?  Sign the TAO pledge?

That’s great, but celebrations also need gifts and how about some for your colleagues, the other teachers down the hall? It’s likely some of them could use a great last-minute lesson plan, so how about letting THEM see how well journalism skills apply to their content areas, not just in your classroom? The links below are a good start.

• Some think math and journalists don’t mix, but unfortunately, they must because stories have numbers —  everything from budgets to school levies to percentages on standardized tests., edited by Dr. Deborah Gump, is full of useful goodies, but one of its teaching resources is “Math for journalists – and readers.” Included are math story dilemmas (READ: story problems) journalists – and their readers – face frequently. Yes, the answers are there, too – and so are two PowerPoints.

• is THE site for lesson plans for you, but it includes plenty to share with others in your building.  One is perfect as a gift for a history teacher. JEA Illinois State Director Stan Zoller, who attended the ASNE Institute at Hampton University in 2003, created “Watergate: The Coverage and the Aftermath.”

• Concordia University’s HotChalk offers a range of lesson plans tied to rather generic but probably useful standards. For instance, for social studies teachers “Do Something about…Teen voting/civic engagement”  gives examples of using writing to spur others to action.  Activities include role playing as muckrakers and creating blogs while seeing what impact those can have on civic engagement in the real world.

• The  New York Times and Learning Network is just full of lesson plans, all formatted and complete with accompanying materials.

• How about sharing a lesson plan on the history of Valentine’s Day with materials from articles in that publication.

• The economics teacher might like “Here Comes the . . . Bill,” a lesson plan on the cost of milestone events.

• Do teachers in theater classes have students study reviews? Offer them a lesson plan from the New York Times that discusses the pros and cons of using movie reviews to choose what to see.

Use Scholastic Journalism Week to build some good will with these gifts for your fellow teachers. And my gift to you? Some sites you may not have known about, full of additional lesson plans for you!








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Constitution Day lesson plans, resources for 2011

Posted by on Sep 11, 2011 in Blog, Law and Ethics, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments


Constitution Day Lesson Plans for Sept. 16, 2011

The Scholastic Press Rights Commission works to provide information and resources on legal and ethical issues to journalism students, teachers and administrators. SPRC members also work to promote the First Amendment rights of students across the nation. It is a commission of the Journalism Education Association.

Our Constitution Day lesson plans provided here are designed to help students celebrate the Constitution and Bill of Rights, as mandated by Congress. Legislation requires schools to offer lessons on the Constitution and how it affects all Americans. Our lesson plans emphasize the First Amendment and particularly the freedoms of speech and the press.

The first unit has two parts. The first is intended as an overview of the First Amendment while the second applies Freedom of Speech as addressed in a Philadelphia Inquirer article by Michael Smerconish. A PDF accompanies this article (or you can download it as a PowerPoint) and there is an extensive list of additional resources.

The second unit includes a quick discussion of interpreting the Constitution and then explores off campus speech using real and hypothetical scenarios. Possible solutions for the scenarios will be available early this week.

The third unit examines a 2011 Washington court case that established schools are not liable for what student newspapers publish as long as the content is not reviewed by school administrators prior to publication. We will have more on this court decision in the coming months.

The fourth unit addresses the importance of the 1969 Tinker v. Des Moines court case to student expression and includes several court cases for students to reference. A PowerPoint on the Tinker decision accompanies this lesson.
We are confident these lessons will interest students while making them aware of how the Constitution is still a significant part of society (and their lives) as well, and welcome your feedback and suggestions.

Lori Keekley
for JEA’s Scholastic Press Rights Commission and the Constitution Day Committee

Constitution Day Committee:
Megan Fromm, Ph.D.
Lori Keekley, teacher, St. Louis Park High School (MN)
Jeff Kocur, teacher, Hopkins High School (MN)
Chris Waugaman, teacher, Prince George High School (VA)
John Bowen and Mark Goodman, Kent State University (OH) contributed resources

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Building stronger reporting practices

Posted by on Jan 31, 2011 in Blog, Law and Ethics, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments


As teachers prepare for Scholastic Journalism Week and look for special lessons, articles from the Committee of Concerned Journalists could lead to lessons or teaching activities. Any or all of the concepts mentioned in the articles could lead to stronger reporting and practices.

As too many advisers and journalism programs have learned, it is not enough to show administrators that students have a right to free and responsible expression. Sometimes it requires demonstrating how journalism creates professional practices, meets educational standards and how these principles fit into the overall mission of schools.

Perhaps one or more of these articles might accomplish those goals for you:

• Don’t know much about history – and why that matters

• What the campaign is teaching me: The opposite of hate is journalism

• Yikes! The sky is falling and we’re all going to die!

• The quaintness of fact-checking in the blogosphere

• Do you know your stuff?

• What’s not being said

• Passion for journalism

• Learning from our mistakes

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