Free Speech or Hate Speech?
This lesson plan is designed to be used with the film The Fire Next Time to look at what happens when free speech dissolves into hate speech. The hour-long documentary looks at a two-year period in the life of a dangerously divided town and shows how heated rhetoric can devolve into hate, intimidation, and violence. Students learn about first amendment rights and limitations, and conflict management skills.
Curriculum Link: http://www.pbs.org/pov/film-files/pov_thefirenexttime_lesson_lesson_plan_0.pdf Author: McCrel (Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning)
Expected Student Outcomes/Objectives
In this lesson, students will:
• Know the difference between protected and prohibited speech as guaranteed by the First Amendment.
• Understand why free speech is essential to a democracy.
• Consider how best to deal with speech they find offensive.
• See how speech can escalate or de-escalate a conflict.
• Craft a speech code for their school.
Description of Activities
After reviewing what kinds of speech are protected or prohibited by the First Amendment, students review the Amendment and Supreme Court commentary before watching the film, “The Fire Next Time,” or excerpts from the film. Students then discuss the issues raised by the film and brainstorm ways to deal with speech that might be offensive but not illegal.
Culminating Activity and/or Assessment
Based on what they have learned about what is legal and the potential impact of hate speech, assign each student to write a speech policy section for your school's student handbook. Be sure they include responsibilities of "speakers" as well as rights.
Instructional Materials Needed
Instructional Materials Provided
handout and DVD
Curriculum type: Lesson
Academic subject areas: History/Social Sciences; English
States' Career Clusters: Law, Public Safety, Corrections & Secruity; Government & Public Administration
California Industry sector(s): Public Services
Duration: 3-5 class periods
Grade Targets: 9, 10, 11, 12
Level of Expertise for CTE: Concentration/Skill building
Standards Addressed: Detailed documentation of alignment with Common Core, NGSS, C3 or CTE Standards provided
Related Website(s): http://www.pbs.org/pov/thefirenexttime/