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Lesson Plans
Is Everyone Protected by the Bill of Rights?
Overview Procedures for Teachers Organizers for Students


Procedures for teachers is divided into two sections:
Prep -- Preparing for the lesson
Steps -- Conducting the lesson


Prep

Media Components:

Computer Resources:
  • Modem: 28.8 Kbps or faster.
  • Browser: Netscape Navigator 3.0 or above or Internet Explorer 3.0 or above.
  • Macintosh computer: System 7.0 or above and at least 16 MB of RAM.
  • IBM-compatible computer: 386 or higher processor with at least 16 MB of RAM, running Windows 3.1. Or, a 486/66 or Pentium with at least 16 MB of RAM, running Windows 95.
Bookmarked sites:
  • The Legal Information Institute
    http://www.law.cornell.edu/topics/civil_rights.html.
    The Legal Information Institute is a non-profit division of Cornell Law School that provides information about the U.S. legal system. This page presents an overview of civil rights.

  • "Top Military Officers Favor Gays Staying in Closet"
    http://www.cs.cmu.edu/afs/cs.cmu.edu/user/scotts/bulgarians/joint-chiefs-ban.html
    The GAY AGENDA site features a collection of articles concerning gay and lesbian civil rights and liberties. This article is from THE BALTIMORE SUN, February 23, 1993.

  • "Ban on Gays is Senseless Attempt to Stall the Inevitable"
    http://www.cs.cmu.edu/afs/cs.cmu.edu/user/scotts/bulgarians/barry-goldwater.html
    This article, also from the GAY AGENDA, is an excerpt from a transcript of Barry Goldwater's commentary on the military gay ban from February 1997.

  • Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military Research Resources
    http://www.gaymilitary.ucsb.edu/research.htm
    The Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military (CSSMM) is a division of the Institute for Social, Behavioral & Economic Research of the University of California. Their Research Resources page features numerous articles that are useful for understanding the issues surrounding gays in the military.

  • "Will Rumsfeld defend gays in military?"
    http://www.gaymilitary.ucsb.edu/news3_26_01.htm
    Featured on the CSSMM site, this article from the DETROIT NEWS, March 26, 2001 focuses on defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld's role in the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy.

  • "Military Can Improve by Lifting Ban on Gays"
    http://www.gaymilitary.ucsb.edu/news3_24_01.htm
    This article from the SPRINGFIELD-UNION NEWS March 24, 2001, argues for lifting the ban on openly gay people in the military.

  • "Gays should accept limits attached to abnormality"
    http://archive.showmenews.com/2001/feb/20010225comm004.asp
    This letter to the editor from the COLUMBIA DAILY TRIBUNE, February 25 2001 argues in favor of the ban.

  • "Experts conclude that gays can serve with distinction"
    http://www.gaymilitary.ucsb.edu/news3_17_01.htm
    This is a response to the previous letter from the COLUMBIA DAILY TRIBUNE, March 17, 2001; it cites a CSSMM study on gays in the military.

  • "Pentagon acknowledges anti-gay speech widespread"
    http://archive.showmenews.com/2000/mar/20000325news04.htm
    Originally published in the COLUMBIA DAILY TRIBUNE, March 25, 2000, this article reports on a survey about anti-gay speech and Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

  • "Pentagon announces revision of 'don't ask, don't tell' policy" http://archive.showmenews.com/1999/aug/19990814news07.htm
    Published August 14, 1999, this article gives an update to the 1994 Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy.

  • "Antigay Behavior In Military Is Still Common, Report Says" http://www.gaymilitary.ucsb.edu/news3_15_01.htm
    This article from the NEW YORK TIMES, March 15, 2001, addresses antigay behavior in the military.

  • Bill of Rights at the National Archives and Records Administration http://www.nara.gov/exhall/charters/billrights/billmain.html
    The National Archives and Records Administration is an independent Federal agency that oversees the management of all Federal records. This page features useful background information on the Bill of Rights and a collection of Constitutional amendments.

  • NewsHour with Jim Lehrer http://www.pbs.org/newshour/home.html
    This is the Web site of Thirteen/WNET - New York's NEWS HOUR WITH JIM LEHRER program. Use their video clips to teach students about persuasive speech.

Materials:
  •  Photos of non-famous people clipped from magazines.

    Students would need the following supplies:

  •  Paper, pens for note-taking.
  •  Index cards for debate notes.

Steps

Introductory Activity:
Since stereotyping of gays can play a part in their exclusion from certain rights, the instructor must deal with issues of prejudice, stereotyping, and discrimination from the onset of the lesson. Here are two possible introductory activities to sensitize students to the effects of discrimination; choose the one that most suits your students' needs.

  • Bring in a few pictures of average people from a newspaper or magazine. If possible, include a photograph of a teenager wearing typical, casual clothes: baggy pants, large t-shirt, etc. Either display the photos on a bulletin board or pass them around the classroom.

  • After students have studied the people in the photographs, have them write a description of one of the people; this activity can be done in groups. Ask the students to imagine what it would be like to meet this person; they should answer the following questions in writing:
    • How would this person act?
    • What would he or she sound like?
    • What would be his or her interests?
    • Would the student want to spend time with this person? Why or why not?
    • What is the person's name?
    • Where does he or she live?
    • What is his or her house like?
    • What is his or her family like?

  • Share the writing within the larger group and see what preconceived notions have surfaced from the discussion.

  • Ask the students to put the characters into a setting. For example, ask students to imagine a young man in baggy clothes in an upscale store.
    • What might happen to this person?
    • What would others (not including his peers) think of him?

  • Segue into a discussion with students about how we use our imaginations, past experiences, and information from others to make judgments about people:
    • How accurate is this information?
    • What associations do we make about others just from appearance alone?

  • Elicit students' ideas about how different groups are affected by preconceived notions about them. These groups might include: African-Americans, Asians, women, men.

    HOMEWORK: Reflect on a group that has suffered from discrimination:
    • Why has this group been singled out?
    • What are some of the preconceived notions about this group?
    • What can a group do to fight this discrimination?

    OR

  • This exercise will help students understand what it's like to experience discrimination personally. Begin by dividing the class into two groups based on an arbitrary physical criterion. Here are some suggestions:
    • eye color
    • sex
    • color of clothing

  • One group will be "privileged" while the other group is "oppressed". Assign certain tasks to the oppressed group (cleaning the board, sweeping, etc.) while the other group receives some type of preferential treatment. For example, the privileged group can make a mess and have the oppressed group clean up; the privileged group can play a game while the other group does work. If time permits, reverse the roles.

  • Class free write:
    • How did it feel to be oppressed?
    • How did it feel to be the oppressor?
    • What was the reasoning behind discriminating against one group? Was this a valid reason?

  • In small groups, students will share their responses with each other and identify common features among their partners' answers. Students will also draft a list of groups of people that have been discriminated against in the past and the perpetrators of discrimination. Share commonalities and the list of the oppressed with the whole class.

    HOMEWORK: Reflect on a group that has suffered from discrimination:
    • Why has this group been singled out?
    • What are some of the preconceived notions about this group?
    • What can a group do fight this discrimination?

    Day Two:

  • Allow students to work in groups of three to share their homework. Have each member of the group choose one of the following roles:
    • one person will record the group's findings,
    • one will present the findings and
    • one will try to guide the group in agreeing on certain similarities.
    Students should share each other's homework and try to find common features in the discrimination against the groups they identified. When this is complete, bring the class together and have each group quickly share their responses to the whole class and write these findings down on the board.

  • Using a web technique, write the word "gay" or "lesbian" on the board and ask students to come up with words or phrases that describe this group. The phrases can be anything from stereotypes to first impressions. Discuss with the class that, as with the previous groups they identified, there are negative stereotypes and prejudice directed toward this group of people. As the class develops the web, ask them to identify similarities between the phrases that come up and the list they developed to describe other groups.

    Learning Activities:
    Day Two - Day Three: Internet research on Civil Rights and gays in the military

    Note: This may take two periods (40 minutes each) to complete

    Groups that have faced discrimination have had to defend their civil rights. Tell students that they will examine the issue of civil rights by looking at the issue of gays in the military; their work will ultimately lead to a debate on the fairness of the ban on openly gay people in the military. They will begin by doing research on civil rights at the Web site for the Legal Information Institute, http://www.law.cornell.edu/topics/civil_rights.html.

  • Divide the class into groups of two or three. Before they begin looking at the Web site, distribute and go over these questions with students.
    • What are civil rights? Why do we have them?
    • Who is entitled to civil rights?
    • What is the Civil Rights Act of 1964?
    • What were the "black codes"?
    If students already have ideas about these questions, allow them to share their thoughts with the class. Then, give students time to find and record their answers. Once they are finished, bring the class together to discuss their findings. Develop a definition of civil rights from students' responses.

  • As the class discusses the "black codes," ask for examples of discrimination through exclusion in the U.S. (women and the right to vote; African-Americans and the military; employment discrimination). Then, brainstorm with students about the issue of Gays in the Military. What do they know about the military's position on openly gay people?

  • In small groups, students begin Web research on the issues surrounding gays in the military. Start by distributing these questions; students will both discuss and write their answers. Make sure students know that they will use this information in the culminating activity, the debate.

    Questions:
    • What is the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy?
    • How does the policy affect the way gays and lesbians are treated in the military?
    • Identify at least five arguments for keeping the ban on openly gay people and/or the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy.
    • Identify at least five arguments for lifting the ban and/or the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy.
    • How does the ban and the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy relate to civil rights?
    Articles on gays in the military:

    "Top Military Officers Favor Gays Staying in Closet."
    THE BALTIMORE SUN, February 23, 1993.
    http://www.cs.cmu.edu/afs/cs.cmu.edu/user/scotts/bulgarians/joint-chiefs-ban.html

    "Ban on Gays is Senseless Attempt to Stall the Inevitable," a transcript of Barry Goldwater's commentary on the military gay ban, March 1997.
    http://www.cs.cmu.edu/afs/cs.cmu.edu/user/scotts/bulgarians/barry-goldwater.html

    Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military Research Resources
    http://www.gaymilitary.ucsb.edu/research.htm

    "Will Rumsfeld defend gays in military?"
    DETROIT NEWS, March 26, 2001.
    http://www.gaymilitary.ucsb.edu/news3_26_01.htm

    "Military Can Improve by Lifting Ban on Gays"
    SPRINGFIELD-UNION NEWS, March 24, 2001
    http://www.gaymilitary.ucsb.edu/news3_24_01.htm

    "Experts conclude that gays can serve with distinction" COLUMBIA DAILY TRIBUNE, March 17, 2001
    http://www.gaymilitary.ucsb.edu/news3_17_01.htm

    "Gays should accept limits attached to abnormality"
    COLUMBIA DAILY TRIBUNE, February 25 2001
    http://archive.showmenews.com/2001/feb/20010225comm004.asp

    "Antigay Behavior in Military Is Still Common, Report Says"
    NEW YORK TIMES, March 15, 2001
    http://www.gaymilitary.ucsb.edu/news3_15_01.htm

    Once the groups have completed the exercise, bring the class back together for a discussion. Students will collaborate on a definition of Don't Ask, Don't Tell and discuss how it relates to civil rights.

    Day Four: Learning about the Bill of Rights

  • Students will work in groups of three to learn about the Bill of Rights at the National Archives and Records Administration http://www.nara.gov/exhall/charters/billrights/billmain.html

    Ask them to focus on these tasks/questions as they look at the Web site:
    • Why do we have a Bill of Rights?
    • How does the Bill of Rights relate to civil rights?
    • Identify the articles that protect different (under-privileged or minority) groups from discrimination and/or exclusion.
    • Rewrite these articles in your own words.

    Day Five-Six: Learning how to debate

  • Students will now begin to identify and develop the skills they will need to participate in the debate. Ask them to gather into groups of three for a five-minute brainstorming session: students will list all the good qualities of an effective persuasive argument versus an ineffective one. When they are done, have a discussion with the whole class and write their ideas on the board.

  • Students will now watch a video clip from PBS' NEWSHOUR WITH JIM LEHRER http://www.pbs.org/newshour/home.html to observe some of the techniques that speakers use to advance an argument. Select one or more video clips ahead of time by going to the site's Video Search engine: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/video/index.html. A Keyword search for the word "debate" will offer you a number of different clips to peruse.

  • Provide students with the url for the video clip(s) you have selected. Distribute these questions, which will help them develop criteria for effective persuasive argumentation:
    • What are the speakers' goals?
    • What are the main points?
    • How does the structure of their speeches help them make their arguments? How do they introduce their positions?
    • How do they try to make you care about their positions?
    • How do they use evidence? What kinds of sources do they use?
    • How do the speakers respond to arguments they disagree with? What phrases do they use? What kinds of questions do they ask to challenge their opponent?
    • How do they conclude?

  • Bring the class together for a discussion of their answers; instruct students to take notes. Next, generate phrases that might be used for each of the following purposes:

    To use as an introduction:
    • We would like to address the following issues...
    • There are (two/three/four) main reasons why we take our position: ...
    • To illustrate my point, ... For example, ... Furthermore, ... In addition, ...
    • This is (important/obvious) because ...
    To challenge the other side's arguments (closing statement and questions)
    • The opposing side claims that ..., but this is not the case because ...
    • It may be true that ..., but we must also consider ...
    • While it may be true that ..., we must also remember/insist that ...
    • What the opposing side claims is inaccurate because ...
    • Yes, but on the other hand, ...
    To Summarize:
    • To conclude, we have raised the following points . . .
    • In summary, our side has shown that ...
    • In considering both sides of the argument, we feel that ...
    • Let me repeat our position:

  • Distribute Debate Format and Criteria for Debate handouts for students (see organizers for students). Tell them they will apply what they have learned to this simple format. Review the stages of the debate with them.

    Day SIX: Practice Debate

  • Divide students into an even number of at least four teams of three-four people. Designate teams as either "Pro" or "Con" on the military ban of openly gay people. Using the notes taken from their previous research, students will begin compiling arguments for their side.

  • Allow team members to choose from among these duties:
    • Deliver opening statement
    • Pose questions to opposing team
    • Answer questions from opposing team
    • Deliver closing statement.
    Inform students that all group members should collaborate on writing the statements and preparing questions. While they can write some of their statements ahead of time, they should be ready to adapt what they say to the other team's arguments during the actual debate. When the opposing team speaks, they should take notes and consult on how the team will respond.

  • Each team practices making their arguments. Since they have already researched arguments for and against the ban on openly gay people in the military, they will be able to speculate on how the other team will argue. (If more research is needed, set aside time for students to look at the articles at the Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military Research Resources page, http://www.gaymilitary.ucsb.edu/research.htm) Tell students to imagine what the other team's questions will be and to respond to them.

    Culminating Activity/Assessment:
    Day 7 - Day 8: Debate:


  • Stage student debates.




    Overview | Procedures for Teachers | Organizers for Students

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