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Lesson Plan

What Are My Rights? Exploring and Writing About the Constitution

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Grades 9 – 12
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Three 1-hour sessions
Lesson Author

Leslie Harper Blatteau

New Haven, Connecticut


International Literacy Association



From Theory to Practice



Studying the Constitution can seem less than vital to students who are most interested in issues that directly affect them. This lesson engages students in a study of the First Amendment by using it to explore youth curfews, demonstrating the impact that the law can have on their everyday lives. Using the text of the First Amendment as a starting point, students discuss whether youth curfews are constitutional. They then use a case study to closely examine both sides of the issue, debate the issue with their peers, hypothesize about the possibility of a youth curfew in their own community, and create a blog about the issue.

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Deans, T. (2000). Writing partnerships: Service-learning in composition. Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English.

  • The pedagogic shift in recognizing "writing as a social act" encourages students to "write themselves into the world through producing rhetorical documents that intervene materially in contexts beyond the academy." Thus, educators will ask students "to write purpose-driven documents for audiences beyond the classroom."(pp. 8-9)

  • Socially inclined nonacademic writing theory is important to our understanding of service-learning composition courses because students will recognize writing as a social and rhetorical act rather than just a packet of portable skills.

  • In addition to advancing compelling rhetorical goals, the writing-for-the-community approach to composition encourages meaningful connections between school and society, knowledge and experience, and individual and community.

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