Free Speech Essentials

Do your students know what they’re free to say online? At school? On a public street corner? From censorship to cyberbullying, the First Amendment and the freedoms it protects are as hotly contested as ever. This EDCollection explores 16 free speech debates ranging from the founding of our nation to recent headlines to illustrate what free speech actually means, where it comes from, and how far it can go. Whether you’re a social studies teacher looking for a complete unit or an English teacher looking to spend a single class period on free expression, there’s something for everyone. Free registration required.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit), Primary Sources
  • Subject: Foundations of Democracy
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

New York Times Co. v. U.S. (1971)

Did the government’s efforts to prevent two newspapers from publishing classified information given to them by a government whistle-blower violate the First Amendment protection of freedom of the press? The Washington Post published classified information despite a court injunction. That information changed American perception of the Vietnam War effort.

  • Resource Type: Research (Digests of Primary Sources)
  • Subject: Judicial Branch/Supreme Court
  • Grades: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Media Literacy: Making Sense of the 24/7 News Cycle

A free press is essential to the success of a democracy. As the media has evolved over time to include radio, television, internet and now smart phones and social media apps, the ability in “being capable to read them” needs examining. This lesson guides students through analysis of social media posts, the definition of terms relevant to the media, and provides tools for identifying quality sources for examination of current political issues. This lesson accompanies the Talking Turkey: Taking the ‘Dis’ Out of Civil Discourse program as well as YLI and American Evolution’s First Freedom Wall.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans
  • Subject: Media Literacy
  • Grades: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Media Literacy Booster Pack

Staying fresh and fluent in today’s media landscape isn’t easy. This collection of resources offers tools to tackle eight pressing challenges, from recognizing bias and propaganda to leveraging your role as a media contributor.

Free registration is required to access this resource.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Media, Photography, Primary Sources, Timelines, Video
  • Subject: Media Literacy
  • Grades: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Evaluating Election Ads

In this activity, students examine some of the techniques political campaigns use in ads to persuade voters, including assertions of fact and appeal to emotion. Students evaluate these techniques over time by comparing and contrasting historic and contemporary political ads.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Media
  • Subject: Media Literacy
  • Grades: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12