Day 2 Law and First Amendment lesson

Prepared by: Jami Williams, Mexico High School, Mexico, Missouri

Students will be understand the freedoms guaranteed to scholastic journalists under the First Amendment.


  1. Group project with teacher as guide and facilitator
  2. Collaboration and presentation


  1. Level 1 (Proficient) application of the knowledge learned during the individual research project
  2. Level 1 (Proficient) discussion and discourse that exemplifies understanding of Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier


  1. Students will need to have their Everything You Need To Know graphic organizer
  2. A method for dividing students into two groups
  3. Index cards
  4. Sharpies
  5. Point/Counterpoint hand out

Steps to check for student understanding

  1. Teacher will do frequent comprehension checks in the form of Classroom Assessment Techniques (thumbs up, thumbs down; exit slip in the form of post-it note summary); for more CAT’s go here:
  2. Summative assessment in the form of a group presentation.


  1. Suggested bell ringer: After researching the Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier case last night, do you feel that the right decision was handed down?
  2. Teacher will separate the class into two groups and continue with the activity below.
  3. BE PREPARED to wrap up the end of the lesson with a discussion of what the Hazelwood decision means for public school journalism and why as well as how your state treats prior restraint as some states in recent years have changed.


  1. This activity will give students the opportunity to use the information they discovered last night.
  2. Teacher will separate the students into two groups.
  3. Teacher will assign one group to be the “lawyer” for Hazelwood; the other group will “lawyer” for Kuhlmeier; use Point/Counterpoint handout to help students organize.
  4. The groups will be given time to prepare their case. Each group will be asked to give an opening statement saying what they are going to prove.
  5. One by one, the students will face off with points and counterpoints, each one explaining why their case should win.
  6. When you as the guide feel that all of the relevant points have been discussed, you should stop and explain the significance of the Hazelwood case.


  1. Exit slip: In one sentence, sum up why you feel freedom of the press is such an important freedom in today’s society.