As part of FIRE’s Speech, Outreach, Advocacy, and Research (SOAR) project, our organization is undertaking its largest effort yet to provide educational resources to high school students and teachers. Our goal is to provide students a strong foundation in the principles of freedom of speech before they ever set foot on a college campus, and to provide their teachers with the tools they need to foster a climate of civil discourse and reasoned debate in their classrooms. This week, we’re taking these efforts on the road.
FIRE High School Outreach Fellow Bonnie Snyder and History Research Fellow Gordon Danning will hit four states in one weekend, presenting and exhibiting at social science conferences in Florida, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Texas.
Through Monday, Gordon and Bonnie will present “Teaching Free Speech: What Educators and Students Need to Know,” which teachers will be able to see at the following locations and times:
- Pennsylvania Council for the Social Studies (Gordon)
October 19–21/Presentation: Oct. 20, 9:00–9:50 AM
Red Lion Hotel
4751 Lindle Rd
Harrisburg, PA 17111
- Texas Council for the Social Studies (Bonnie)
Oct. 20–22/Presentation: Oct. 20, 8:30-9:30am
Omni Hotel Mandalay Bay
221 East Las Colinas Blvd
Irving, TX 75039
- Florida Council for the Social Studies (Bonnie)
October 20–22/Presentation Oct. 21, 3:50-4:40pm
Innisbrook Golf Resort
36750 U.S. Highway 19 N
Palm Harbor, FL 34684
- New Jersey Council for the Social Studies (Bonnie)
Monday, October 23/Presentation: 10:30-11:30am
Rutgers University, Busch Campus Center
604 Bartholemew Rd
Piscataway, NJ 08854
Attendees will hear about our forthcoming teaching materials, which will provide teachers with a wealth of material on the history, philosophy, law, and current issues regarding freedom of speech. These First Amendment resources for teachers will include PowerPoint presentations, handouts, critical thinking prompts, in-class activity kits, and a wide range of reading selections and short videos. All of these materials will be made available to teachers free of charge, and we look forward to sharing them broadly in the weeks and months to come.
As we tour the country for these various conferences, we are very interested to hear firsthand perspectives from teachers confronted with the challenges of teaching controversial topics in class and trying to foster an atmosphere of civil debate. We’re also eager to solicit feedback on our in-progress class materials.
Teachers interested in learning more are invited to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We hope to see many of you this weekend!
In need of First Amendment resources for teachers? The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education has you covered. Our “First Things First” First Amendment textbook for college undergraduates explores the fundamentals of modern American free speech law. Meanwhile, our K-12 First Amendment curriculum modules help educators enrich and supplement their existing instruction on First Amendment and freedom of expression issues in middle and high school classrooms. Explore thefire.org for even more First Amendment educational resources.