Resources4Teaching #Ferguson: Individual Rights and Individual VOICES

Resources for teaching a unit on the events that have occurred in Ferguson, Missouri with a focus on empowering individuals to realize the importance of their Voice, not only in a time of crisis, but as an ongoing social responsibility.


    This lesson plan is designed to guide discussion in the classroom about the events that have occurred in Ferguson, Missouri following the shooting of Michael Brown. It is not designed to promote any particular views of the events. It is designed to prompt students to explore their own thoughts about the events in Ferguson, how the Traditional and New Media varied in the coverage of the events, and their beliefs in having their own voices heard in this world. 

    Teachers are encouraged to add additional resources to their unit plan that will best serve the needs of their students. Please share these resources in the comments below so that others may reference them as well.


    1. What are Human Rights? How do they protect, or fail to protect, individual humans around the world.
    2. What is the First Amendment of the United States of America? How does the First Amendment compare to the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights?
    3. How do the events in Ferguson, Missouri relate to the UN Human Rights? to the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment? to the U.S. Civil Rights Act?  
    4. What are effective ways in which we can share our voices with the world? 
  2. VOICES from ALL: Individuals Interviewed by Mainstream Media

    PBS New Hour EXTRA starts off the conversation of what is happening in Ferguson with a short video that asks people from Ferguson how they feel about the situation. The 
  3. Warm up questions
    Where is Ferguson, Missouri?
    What have you heard so far about the Michael Brown shooting?

    Critical thinking questions
    How does freedom of the press play a role in an event like Michael Brown’s shooting? 
    How does it affect freedom of the press to detain or arrest journalists?
    What should the police do during protests? 
    What is their responsibility to the community, and how can they fulfill it?

    Additional QUESTIONS
    How did the people interviewed for the video get the opportunity to speak about their feelings?
    What does it take to own a Traditional Media (mainstream media)?
    How can individuals who do not have the resources to own a traditional media company share their ideas with the world? (Think NEW MEDIA)

    GLOBAL FOCUS: HUMAN RIGHTS: What are they? 

    The discussion can begin at a global level: what are the basic human rights for all? The United Nations has identified 30 basic human rights. As the events in Ferguson begin to focus upon an investigation into Civil Rights violations, allow students to process how this event fits into the bigger picture. 
  5. The Story of Human Rights: A 10 minute Video

    A 10 minute video looking at the history of the global agreement of Human Rights. Yet, at 6:30, the questions begin: if these are universally accepted, how can so many around the world suffer from a lack of these basic rights? A great jumping off point for discussion of Rights.

  6. The Story of Human Rights
  7. US FOCUS: The FIRST AMENDMENT and The Right to Assemble 

    The majority of the events covered by the media in Ferguson revolved around the gathering of individuals protesting AFTER the shooting of Michael Brown. Do students understand the rights provided to US citizens within the 1st Amendment? 
  8. LESSON PLANS on the First Amendment from @1forALL

    Check out the website below for simple to use worksheets and discussion ideas to help students think through exactly what rights we are all given through the 1st Amendment.
  9. Video of the 1st Amendment in Spoken Word Poetry Format from @1forAll

    Consider using as a review of the 1st Amendment language.

    Who do you recognize in the video? 
    Why do you think 1 For All chose these individuals to recite the 1st Amendment?

    1forAll and The Newseum have excellent lesson plans and simple worksheets for promoting students exploration and understanding of the First Amendment. Click on the links provided in the tweets below.
  11. VOICES from ALL: SOCIAL MEDIA: Its Effect in Ferguson (Still in Progress) 

  12. Warm up questions
    What is social media?
    How many of you use Facebook, Instagram, Tublr, YouTube and Twitter (include other social media sites that your students may be using. Also ask them what other sites they use.)
    What is a hashtag? How is it used? How is one created?
    What is the hashtag #IfTheyShotMeDead? How was it used to affect the reporting of Michael Brown's shooting?

    Critical thinking questions
    How does Social Media play a role in an event like Michael Brown’s shooting? 
    How does Social Media and Voices from citizens affect an event like this?
    What is the responsibility of community members while sharing the events on Social Media? 

  13. READING: ARTICLES from NEWSLEA on the USE of SOCIAL MEDIA TO AFFECT the MAINSTREAM reporting of the events in Ferguson

    Have your students read these two articles about the use of Twitter and hashtags on creating conversation about the mainstream media coverage of the shooting of Michael Brown and events that happened after it.
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