Students will be able to:
- Comprehend the individual rights and responsibilities of news consumers and news outlets
- Understand why the News Consumers' Bill of Rights and Responsibilities is necessary
- What are the rights of a news consumer?
- Why is it important for a news consumer to have rights?
- A copy of PEN America's News Consumers' Bill of Rights and Responsibilities for each student
- Pencils and paper for students
Consumer [kən-so͞o-mər] (noun) a person who purchases goods and services for personal use
Right [rīt] (noun) a moral or legal entitlement to have or obtain something or to act in a certain way
Responsibility [rə-spän-sə-bil-ə-tē] (noun) a thing that one is required to do as part of a job, role or legal obligation
source: adapted from Google Dictionary
This is one of a two-lesson series designed to help students explore the content and contemplate the impact of PEN America's News Consumers' Bill of Rights and Responsibilities. The other lesson in this series is listed under "Related Resources." This is also one of several lessons developed to help teach the skills and competencies outlined in the Teaching Tolerance Digital Literacy Framework.
This lesson focuses on PEN America's News Consumers' Bill of Rights and Responsibilities. Students will read the bill of rights, rephrase some of the rights and responsibilities, and rank the rights in order of importance. Finally, students will work together to construct a short dramatic skit that shows the significance of one right of their choosing.
1. Hand out a copy of PEN America's News Consumers' Bill of Rights and Responsibilities to each student.
2. Draw students' attention to the title of the document, and read through vocabulary together. Check in with students to make sure they understand the definitions. Explain that PEN America is an organization made up of writers and people who are passionate about freedom of expression and who defend the liberty to share ideas.
3. Engage students in a shared reading of the document. Encourage them to circle rights and responsibilities that stand out as especially important to them as they read. Check in with students throughout the shared reading to assess comprehension and elaborate when necessary.
4. Split students into groups of two to four. Instruct each group to choose at least five rights or responsibilities to put into their own words. Circulate through the room to make sure students are properly interpreting the text.
5. Once students are finished, instruct them to rank their paraphrased rights and responsibilities based on which rights they feel are most important.
6. Allow each group to share their rankings with the class and explain their choices for the most important right or responsibility.
7. Tell students that, in their groups, they will be creating a dramatic skit that shows why they feel their top right or responsibility is so important. If students require additional guidance or support, you may suggest that they use their skits to show what journalism and consumption of news might be like without the particular right they're highlighting. If you need more information about using skits in class, refer to the instructions and rubric in "Act Up! Drama for Justice!"
8. Have students present their skits at the end of class. Alternatively, have them finish the skits for homework to be presented the next day.
9. Engage the entire class in a brief discussion after each skit. What did each group do to show why their right or responsibility was important for consumers?
10. If your classroom situation does not allow for dramatic performances, an alternative activity would be for each group to create a comic strip that communicates the importance of their choice of right or responsibility.
Alignment to Common Core State Standards
Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text
Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.
Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary specific to domains related to history/social studies.
By the end of grade 8, read and comprehend history/social studies texts in the grades 6-8 text complexity band independently and proficiently.
Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 6 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.
Interpret information presented in diverse media and formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) and explain how it contributes to a topic, text, or issue under study.