1 for All is a national nonpartisan program designed to build understanding and support for the First Amendment freedoms of religion, speech, press, assembly and petition. 1 for All provides teaching materials and lesson plans at 1forall.us to help everyone learn more about their First Amendment rights.

1 For All Challenge winners use First Amendment as building block in the classroom

Sarah Segal was just one of the 40 secondary-school educators honored with $1,000 for her innovative First Amendment teachings in the classroom. The 1 For All First Amendment Challenge winner teaches sixth-grade literacy, language arts and social studies of the ancient American cultures at Hood River Middle School in Hood River, Oregon. She also teaches sixth- through eighth-grade enrichment courses, including Constitutional law, Oregon history and museum design.

Students in Segal’s class researched the history of Japanese-American incarceration during WWII and interviewed community members in their town.

“For this project, my middle school students delved first-hand into the entire First Amendment process, learning about the original reasons behind the Founding Father’s creation of the five freedoms all the way through taking civic action in the form of free speech.”

Students learned that Minoru ‘Min’ Yasui recognized that his rights as a U.S. citizen were being violated, and, therefore, it was his responsibility to intentionally challenge the government’s Executive Order 9066.

Yasui was a Japanese American lawyer from Hood River. After the bombing on Pearl Harbor, Yasui fought laws that directly targeted Japanese Americans and Japanese immigrants. His case was the first to test the constitutionality of the curfews targeted at minority groups. His case made it all the way to the Supreme Court, where his conviction for breaking curfew was affirmed. In 1986, his criminal conviction was overturned by the federal court. Segal said the students exercised their First Amendment freedoms through advocating for Yasui to be recognized as a national hero.

Segal said every community has heroes who employ their First Amendment rights for the betterment of the United States, the environment and humanity as a whole.

“I encourage journalism teachers and their students to discover these heroes,” she said. “Research their circumstances, interview people, learn their stories, and encourage students to connect to why and how these heroes intentionally exercise the First Amendment.”

She said it is important that students reflect on their learning, how their First Amendment hero influences them and how they might purposefully use their individual power of expression in their lives.

“I feel like the Min Yasui story must be told, and it must be part of a national discussion and curriculum,” Segal said.

In addition to teaching the First Amendment, Segal integrated the five freedoms across all teaching units. By quarter, these units include Mexican-American Patterns of Migration, Civil Rights Movement, Rise of Nazism and Native-American Experiences. Within each of these curricular units, materials accessed included Supreme Court cases, activist oral or written testimony, and art and music analysis.

As a teacher, Segal said it is more important than ever that students understand that they can purposefully exercise their rights and responsibilities through the use of technology. Segal said these constitutional rights come with a great deal of responsibility.

“Middle school students are continually testing boundaries through expression of clothing, choice in music, negotiation with adults and interactions with peers,” she said. “However, adolescence, now more than ever, has potential access to almost unlimited free speech via various forms of technology.”

Nick Popadich received the 1 For All honor after using online polling and social media to teach students about court cases dealing with the First Amendment. Popadich teaches sophomore through senior English at Grand Blanc High School in Grand Blanc, Michigan.

“The more we can keep current on court cases and modes of sharing that knowledge, the more articulate our students will be about their rights,” he said.

Popadich asked students to read articles from the First Amendment Center and then create brief polls on three cases in language their peers would understand. Afterwards, students responded with their thoughts on how each case was handled through social media. The students tweeted these polls to their friends and then analyzed their results.

“Students came away from the assignment not only knowing more about First Amendment protections dealing with social media, but they were able to use social media to inform and engage their peers,” he said.

Popadich said he encourages his students to provide a unique student voice in their publications, even about topics that are controversial.

“Too often students are ready to self-censor themselves when they sign up for a publications class,” he said. “They don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.”

Popadich said student publications are trusted with starting that dialogue between the administration and the students.

“Along with training them in ethics, libel and privacy issues, I have them read model publication policies from places like the Student Press Law Center and encourage them to use the service if they feel like they need to,” he said. “Most importantly, I have them create a good rapport with our administration and support staff so that they can get the information they need without having to file a FOIA request.”

“Our First Amendment rights are at the core of our democracy,” Popadich said.  “I am proud to have helped students stand up for those rights.”

For more information on the Challenge or a complete list of winners, check out a previous article from SchoolJournalism.org. The 1 for All First Amendment Challenge was funded by a generous grant from the Robert R. McCormick Foundation. 1 for All is a national nonpartisan programdesigned to build understanding and support for the First Amendment freedoms of religion, speech, press, assembly and petition. 1 for All provides teaching materials and lesson plans at 1forall.us to help everyone learn more about their First Amendment rights.

Challenge winners incorporate technology into First Amendment teachings

“The First Amendment is more complex than most students first recognize, and it affects their everyday lives,” Jo Boggess Phillips said.

Phillips teaches 12th-grade civics, AP U.S. government, politics, and state and local government at Ripley High School in Ripley, West Virginia. Phillips said current events help students make sense of the First Amendment by allowing them to understand the issues Americans face every day.

The Constitution dominates her lesson plans throughout the school year, so Phillips submitted several different activities to the 1 For All First Amendment Challenge earlier this year. In May, the American Society of News Editors awarded 40 secondary-school educators $1,000 each for their innovative efforts while teaching the First Amendment in classrooms across the country. Phillips was one of the educators who received the honor.

One activity Phillips used in the classroom involved a letter that was sent to to the board of education and dealt with freedom of religion.

“Our school district dealt with a challenge to several religious symbols and activities, which were located or occurring on public school property,” she said.

The letter outlined the First Amendment concerns regarding the establishment clause and included photos of the religious symbols in question. Phillips said it sparked a meaningful dialogue in the classroom.

“The lesson allowed students to see how the First Amendment can be applied in terms of court rulings and board procedure,” she said.

Phillips said the debate over where to draw the line regarding the “wall of separation” between church and state was intense and educational.

In another class activity, Phillips asked students to create infomercials to explain the First Amendment to classmates. Students created short videos to explain one of the five parts to the First Amendment.  Phillips said the project allowed students to incorporate technology with their knowledge of the First Amendment.  Several students also decided to draw on First Amendment issues at school to help with their explanations.

“I am very passionate about making sure students understand the U.S. Constitution and become informed citizens with the ability to make good choices, which will make America a better place to live,” Phillips said. “Making sure our future citizens understand the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution gives them the capacity to perpetuate our American liberties.”

Heather Jancoski teaches at South Mountain High School in Phoenix, Arizona, and also received the 1 For All First Amendment Challenge honor. Jancoski teaches advanced broadcast journalism to ninth through 12th grades, in addition to yearbook, radio and video classes.

South Mountain High School has a weekly student news broadcast. Thirteen Jaguar News students compiled different stories to create a First Amendment-themed broadcast. Jancoski said students focused on the five freedoms and their relationship to current events, as well as the civic responsibilities of citizens.

The broadcast included a piece about Mary Beth Tinker and the Tinker Tour at Arizona State University. Jancoski said a few students decided to put the piece together after realizing that many of their school peers did not know much about the First Amendment.

“After the show aired, I had a lot of students come up and ask questions to myself and the U.S. government teachers about how it impacted their lives,” she said. “The students were very much unaware prior to the show of what they could do at school with their rights and how they were limited or granted, especially when it came to clothing issues that could be within the guidelines of the school dress code.”

Jancoski said students need to learn about the First Amendment and their rights so they are set up for success upon graduation. For more information on the Challenge or a complete list of winners, check out a previous article from SchoolJournalism.org.

The 1 for All First Amendment Challenge was funded by a generous grant from the Robert R. McCormick Foundation. 1 for All is a national nonpartisan program designed to build understanding and support for the First Amendment freedoms of religion, speech, press, assembly and petition. 1 for All provides teaching materials and lesson plans at 1forall.us to help everyone learn more about their First Amendment rights.

1 For All First Amendment Challenge winners encourage students to speak out

Mark Ford teaches 12th-grade humanities and social studies at Casco Bay High School in Portland, Maine. Ford received the 1 For All First Amendment honor after using speeches, court cases and free speech acts to show students how easy and empowering it is to speak out.

“Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg recently said, ‘Fight for the things you care about, but do it in such a way that people will want to join you,’” Ford said.

After analyzing speeches and free speech acts for their rhetorical effectiveness and constitutionality, Ford’s students wrote their own persuasive pieces to perform in Monument Square.

“Working with the Portland Arts and Technology High School (PATHS) carpentry program, students built soapboxes to stand on,” Ford said. “The soapboxes were then decorated in ways that enhanced the student’s message or related to free speech and were the physical platforms that provided students a hands-on way to engage with the project and built on the historical tradition of exercising our First Amendment rights in the public marketplace of ideas by stepping up and speaking out.”

Ford said his students began the school year by studying recent Arab uprisings in which the class looked especially at individuals who spoke out against their governments.

“With those heroes in mind, we end the school year examining the rights we have in the United States that we often take for granted and ask ourselves what obligations we have to ensure our democracy remains vibrant and our role as citizens stays active,” he said.

Ford said given the opportunity, any student will rise to the occasion and share their voice with the world.

“I asked my students to take a big risk by speaking out in public, and the award was recognition for the work we did together,” he said.

Shelley Job teaches 10th through 12th grade at Hanover-Horton High School in Horton, Michigan.

In her journalism class, students took an online quiz to test their knowledge of the First Amendment on “We the Students Constitution Day.”  Job said the class analyzed the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.

She asked students to answer the following question in an essay: “Since you were born, has America moved closer to or further away from the ideals outlined in the Declaration of Independence?”

“The essay made them realize we still have a lot in common with a document that was written in 1776,” she said. “We have advanced as a society with technology, but we still need to protect our rights that are the foundation of our country.”

In Job’s film studies and 10th-grade English classes, students also reviewed several movies that involved civil rights, including “The Long Walk Home”, “Ruby Bridges” and “42”. The class discussed each movie and what rights were denied before writing essays on the films.  Job said students learned that even though citizens have founding documents and rights, sometimes they are denied.

“I think when you realize how many people fought and all the different ways people fought to protect our rights, it becomes more relevant to them,” she said. “It isn’t until you lose those rights or are denied rights that you understand how important they are to you.”

Job said she was shocked to hear she had received the honor for her work in the classroom.

“We have to ignite a passion so they will become productive citizens and be proud of our country, and most importantly not to take our freedoms for granted,” she said.

In May, the American Society of News Editors awarded 40 secondary school educators $1,000 each for their innovative efforts while teaching the First Amendment in classrooms across the country. For more information on the challenge or a complete list of winners, check out a previous article from SchoolJournalism.org.

The 1 for All First Amendment Challenge was funded by a generous grant from the Robert R. McCormick Foundation. 1 for All is a national nonpartisan program designed to build understanding and support for the First Amendment freedoms of religion, speech, press, assembly and petition. 1 for All provides teaching materials and lesson plans at 1forall.us to help everyone learn more about their First Amendment rights

Challenge winners display power of First Amendment in the classroom

In May, the American Society of News Editors awarded 40 secondary school educators $1,000 each for their innovative efforts while teaching the First Amendment in classrooms across the country. To learn about the First Amendment, students completed creative and educational projects, including videos, posters, newspaper articles, editorials, raps, artwork and presentations, and some students even worked to support legislation that protects student press rights.

Kymberli Wregglesworth teaches at Onaway High School in Onaway, Michigan. Wregglesworth received the 1ForAll First Amendment honor after using rap music to help students remember the five freedoms of the First Amendment in her eleventh grade Civics class.

“Since rap is an art form that is often criticized, I thought it would be a great example of freedom of speech,” she said.

Wregglesworth used the mnemonic RAPPS (Religion, Assembly, Press, Petition and Speech) to help students remember the five freedoms. She challenged students to use one or more of the five freedoms as the basis for an eight-line long rap song. Wregglesworth said the lesson allowed her students to learn more about why the First Amendment was necessary for a free and democratic society.

“The ability of citizens to criticize the government, to try to get the government to fix problems in society, to print opinions and information without fear of reprisal, to assemble in support of or in protest against something, and to practice or refrain from practicing the religion of one’s choice creates the freedom we enjoy in this country,” she said.

Mitch Eden of Kirkwood High School in Missouri was also honored for his innovative teaching efforts. Eden teaches yearbook, newsmagazine and online media to tenth through twelfth grade students.

Eden helped sponsor a speaker series with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch where professional journalists, including the Pulitzer Prize winning photojournalist team who covered events in Ferguson, Missouri, discussed ethics and the 21st Century media.

“These speaker series events were invaluable as students heard from the pros about real-life situations involving the right to publish, ethical debates and the good and bad of modern day media,” he said.

Eden said he thinks the most effective way to teach the First Amendment is to bring in daily discussions of issues around the country. Eden’s students presented slideshow presentations to the class on different court cases, such as Morse v. Frederick, and discussed how each case impacted student journalism.

“If we do not teach it, there is more likelihood of misunderstanding our rights and freedoms and, even worse, not knowing them at all,” he said. “Teenagers especially need to be well-educated on what rights they have to publish.”

Eden organized a fall workshop at two district middle schools promoting scholastic journalism and awareness of the First Amendment. Additionally, during Scholastic Journalism Week, a different media program went on announcements and shared information about their program, the First Amendment and how it impacts teenagers.

“One day, more than 150 student journalists wore black armbands to celebrate the Tinker v. Des Moines Supreme Court ruling and to share this story with peers,” he said.

Eden said it is important to arm students with the tools, educate them and then let them go.

“Give the power to publish to the kids and some amazing things can happen,” Eden said. “If students know it is truly theirs, they will rise to the expectations and produce some amazing journalistic content.”

For more information on the challenge or a complete list of winners, check out a previous article from SchoolJournalism.org.

25 students win $1,000 scholarships in #PictureFreedom contest

Twenty-five students will receive $1,000 scholarships for sharing original photos and artwork on social media as part of 1 for All’s Picture Freedom contest. The weeklong scholarship contest celebrated the five freedoms of the First Amendment, speech, press, religion, assembly and petition.

“It was truly gratifying to see the range of ways students pictured the five freedoms of the First Amendment,” said Ken Paulson, president of the Newseum Institute’s First Amendment Center, dean of the College of Mass Communication at Middle Tennessee State University and founder of 1 for All. “This competition was a vibrant reminder of how free expression fuels creativity.”

The contest was organized by 1 for All, the American Society of News Editors, the Journalism Education Association, and the John Seigenthaler Chair of Excellence in First Amendment Studies at Middle Tennessee State University, with funding provided by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

“The judges, all members of the Journalism Education Association, were quite amazed with the creativity of the Picture Freedom submissions, for sure,” said Mark Newton, president of JEA. “More importantly, the judges were impressed with the strong messages of freedom in the submissions. When young adults use their First Amendment freedoms to articulate those very same five freedoms with a creative social media voice, those freedoms rumble and those young adults are empowered.”

The winning students were selected from hundreds of entries based on originality, creativity and clarity in conveying the theme of freedom. Students posted original photos and artwork using the hashtag #PictureFreedom to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter from Feb. 22 to 28.

 Click here for more information on the winners.

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