Education for Freedom:
Lessons on the First Amendment
The lessons included on this Web site are for teachers in grades 5-12 and are intended to help them develop students' awareness of the rights of identified in the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. The lessons are organized according to the First Amendment right(s) they are designed to cover. Also included is a section on strategies that can be used in the lessons.


  • Carousel: This strategy is advantageous for brainstorming student responses to broad issues or questions, to elicit student analysis of visual data (such as graphs, charts, cartoons, photos), or to encourage small group discussion of a problem prior to individuals writing about the problem.

  • Great Debates: Debates are one of the most effective methods to prove understanding of a content, utilize evidence to support one's point of view, and create a classroom atmosphere which is conducive to an organized exchange of ideas.

  • Human Opinion Continuum: This strategy requires students to take a stand on an issue which involves at least two opposing viewpoints and demands that students verbally justify their stance. It also permits students to exchange ideas and attempt to persuade their peers to change their stance based on logical reasoning and arguments made by others. The strategy can be a brief method to initiate interest in a topic or an extensive exercise in debating the various perspectives or opinions surrounding an historical event or contemporary situation.

  • Paired Reading Activity: Students will learn to tread carefully and critically to retain key ideas and details to share with a partner.

  • Poem for Two Voices: This strategy requires students to put themselves into another person's experiences in another time or place, considering what that individual would say if we could listen to a debate between him/her and an individual from his/her opposing point of view. This strategy can be an effective follow-up to the analysis of primary sources, in which two opposing or contrasting viewpoints were expressed, asking students to quote from the source or rephrase it in their own words, as they write the "poem."

  • Think, Pair, Share: This strategy allows students to individually evaluate information prior to sharing their discoveries with fellow members of the class. The process becomes one that moves from quiet contemplation to class debates over the varying perspectives of class members toward the same set of data. Students will have time to think before having to share their ideas, and eventually, all students will have the opportunity to rehearse in pairs before talking to the whole group.

  • Ticket In/Out the Door: Under this strategy, students write every day, develop critical thinking skills, learn about a time period and review previous learning.

  • You Decide!: Students will be involved in weighing various viewpoints or perspectives toward a historical or contemporary issue and will develop verbal communication skills to express the major arguments reflecting such viewpoints. Students will also be required to come to a conclusion or decision regarding the most appropriate course of action to be taken toward the issue and will verbally defend their decisions in an organized process, permitting equal opportunity for all students to be involved in the decision-making process.

Education for Freedom Lessons

Religion    Speech    Press    Assembly    Grievance/Petition