Lesson Plans and Teaching Resources

The Tinker case — which affects the lives of young people in a very direct way — has always made for a lively discussion of the role of the First Amendment in American life. There are a number of curriculum resources available. These are a few good ones:

annenbergThe First Amendment Game: Tinker v. Des Moines by the Annenberg Institute for Civics.  Using the landmark case about students’ right to free speech, this game launches students on a journey to the U.S. Supreme Court. Along the way are mini-games and challenges that teach about the First Amendment, the Tinker case, legal concepts and how the federal courts work.

Education4Freedom.bannerEducation for Freedom: Lesson Plans for Teaching the First Amendment, created by the Freedom Forum’s First Amendment Center, a nonpartisan center dedicated to the understanding and appreciation of the values of the First Amendment. These lessons (beginning and advanced levels) address constitutional principles and contemporary issues involving the First Amendment and include a specific unit on the Supreme Court’s 1969 decision in Tinker v.DesMoines Indep. School Dist.


TEACHING TOLERANCE lesson puts “Tinker” in the context of civil rights and human rights

Also, check the First Amendment Center’s links on the First Amendment

and recent NEWSEUM blogs related to “Tinker”


icivicsFounded by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor in 2009, iCivics strives to reverse Americans’ declining civic knowledge and participation. Securing our democracy, O’Connor believes, requires teaching the next generation to understand and respect our system of governance. Their curriculum includes a lesson discussing the impact of the Tinker ruling on student dress codes.

ACSAmerican Constitution Society for Law and Policy has created materials that help volunteer law students teach high school and middle school students about free speech in schools and the impact of the Tinker case.

New York Times: 10 Cases Every Teen Should Know

Media Law Resource Center:  Curriculum on Censorship


JEA Constitution Day Curriculum:  http://jeasprc.org/constitution-day-2013-teaching-materials-and-lessons/

One response to “Lesson Plans and Teaching Resources

  1. I was around for Tinker and then around for Hazelwood (and one of the Supreme Court justices involved that decision had been editor of the student newspaper I have advised for 50 years and another was the father of two of our editors) and what I always think about is how these decisions very much aligned with the times. Tinker came at a time of much activism among young people, optimism about effecting change, and dynamic high school education. Hazelwood came in when a more solemn and even grim mood began to take over high school administration and education. I’m from St. Louis and knew the adviser involved, who truly was an innocent victim, and was so proud of the Post-Dispatch publishing the censored portions of the Hazelwood issue of the school paper. Also, being from St. Louis, I am aware of how unreliable the Supreme Court and all courts are in protecting freedom and the rights of expression. It was in St. Louis that a slave was denied his right to freedom in the long ago, a long ago which in some ways is still with us right now.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s