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

Should Social Media Go to School?

Social media—web-based and mobile technologies that people use to have interactive communication with others—are a part of everyday life in the twenty-first century. The policy at issue in this lesson recognizes the importance of technology in students’ lives by allowing all public high schools to use web-based social media as teaching and communication tools.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit)
  • Subject: Rights and Responsibilities
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

NewsFeed Defenders

NewsFeed Defenders is a challenging online game that engages players with the standards of journalism, showing you how to spot a variety of methods behind the viral deception we all face today. Join a fictional social media site focused on news and information, and meet the challenge to level up from guest user to site admin. This can only be achieved by spotting dubious posts that try to sneak in through hidden ads, viral deception, and false reporting. In addition to maintaining a high-quality site, you are charged with growing traffic while keeping the posts on topic.

  • Resource Type: Games
  • Subject: Media Literacy
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Dealing With Controversial Issues/Social Studies in Action Library

This program examines how social studies teachers in any grade level can encourage open and informed discussions with their students while dealing with controversial issues. Topics range from stereotypes and gender–based discrimination to the conflict in the Middle East. Through clearly identifying issues, listening to multiple perspectives, and formulating personal positions, teachers explore strategies that can be used to teach challenging issues such as these in their own classrooms.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Media, Modules (Teaching Unit), Research (Digests of Primary Sources), Video
  • Subject: Citizenship
  • Grades: K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

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

Cyberbullying: Should our democracy allow schools to punish students for off-campus cyberbullying?

The U.S. Supreme Court has held that students do not “shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.” What about bullying that happens outside of school? New technologies such as the Internet, cell phones, and social media have made bullying possible anytime and anywhere. This lesson provides students with background information and arguments for and against. Students are encouraged to deliberate the issue and come to their own conclusions.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit)
  • Subject: Rights and Responsibilities
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Creating Effective Citizens/Social Studies in Action Library

Watch lesson plans in the video, “Creating Effective Citizens,” from the Social Studies in Action Library, that teach students how to become active and effective citizens. Students participate in role-play and simulations that model civic action, discuss controversial laws about gender discrimination and individual rights, explore what it means to be a global citizen within a democracy, and engage students in local and national issues.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Media, Modules (Teaching Unit), Research (Digests of Primary Sources), Video
  • Subject: Citizenship
  • Grades: K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12