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Sharing your state law with others


by John Bowen and Lori Keekley


Sharing your state law with others


State laws protecting student press rights mean nothing if students, administrators, school boards and others don’t know what they mean or how they impact the community. For this lesson, students will create an action plan for the various groups in their community about the state legislation.


  • Students will evaluate what their state law covers and identify key points to share with others.
  • Students will research key points of their legislation, outline them and seek ways to effectively present them.
  • Students will synthesize these steps into Action Plans for sharing key points with various local communities.

Common Core State Standards

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.11-12.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze how an author uses and refines the meaning of a key term or terms over the course of a text (e.g., how Madison defines faction in Federalist No. 10).
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.9-10.1.D Respond thoughtfully to diverse perspectives, summarize points of agreement and disagreement, and, when warranted, qualify or justify their own views and understanding and make new connections in light of the evidence and reasoning presented.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.11-12.1.D Respond thoughtfully to diverse perspectives; synthesize comments, claims, and evidence made on all sides of an issue; resolve contradictions when possible; and determine what additional information or research is required to deepen the investigation or complete the task.


50 minutes

Materials / resources


State Law (see list at the end of the lesson for state links)

Lesson step-by-step

Step 1. Warm up — 5 minutes

The teacher should ask the class if they had last minute questions about their state law. Discuss them as needed, or tell students they will move on create an Action Plan to sell the new state law to administrators, community and board of education.

Step 2. Large group — 5 minutes

Tell students they will create an Action Plan to convince groups, administrators, community and board of education, the value of the new state law. Students can refer to the State Law Sheet and the role play from the earlier lesson.

An Action Plan would be an outline of the arguments, process and rationale for each they would use to explain the importance of having the state law to discuss this with selected community groups. Its contents might well vary depending on the group being addressed.

Step 3. Small groups — 40 minutes

The teacher will divide the class into a group for each of the categories, administrators, community, school board, and ask students to choose one they feel most comfortable with. Remember, each group will target a different audience to inform.

Each group will appoint a team leader (a student with journalism experience or editor would be best) to lead discussion and to record role and process.

Suggested talking points would include:

  • A timeline for the presentation session and which students would present information
  • A plan for publicity to invite members of their target audience
  • Securing a place for the presentation
  • Presentation materials effective for each targeted audience
  • Research need and student responsibilities for that material
  • A script for the presentation
  • Arrangements for sound, lighting and visuals as needed
  • Plans to have publicity/reporting of the presentation

Each team would also plan for future meetings to create materials and finalize times and places. The class, with input from the teacher, would ultimately decide the timeline for presentations (most likely, though, the presentation to the board of education would come last).

Teacher note: Depending on the class composition, this lesson may take more than one day. The students may need an additional day to create the presentation.

State Laws and Codes:

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