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Password-protected resources are available only to teachers who participate in The Free Lance-Star's NIE program. If you do not know your password, please email a request to us. Include your first and last name and school.

Social Studies

Teaching Civics?

Textbooks tell you how government is supposed to work.
Newspapers show you how.

Planning is easy with teacher-created and teacher-endorsed lessons and activities.

Election Scrapbook Project - Covers SOLs CE.5a-f.
Citizenship and the First Amendment
Political Process and Media
Branches and Structure of Government

Ready-to-use, block-schedule lesson plans with interactive slides (password required)

Character Traits of Good Citizens
Sols: CE 4 a-e & 1a
Lesson plans
Class notes for students
Good Citizen Collage Activity
Interactive slides

Influencing Public Policy
Sols: CE 9a, 9b, 3b
Lesson plans
Class notes for students
Worksheet: Ways Interest Groups Influence Public Agenda
Rubric: Influencing Policy (letter-writing)
Rubric: Ways Media Sets Public Agenda (collage)
Good Citizen Collage Activity
Interactive slides

3 Levels/3 Branches of Government
Sols: CE 1a, 1b, 6a, 7a, 8 a-c
Lesson Plans
Class notes for students
Rubric: 3 Levels/3 Branches (collage)

Interactive slides

Bonus Day 3 Review
Lesson Plans
Class notes for students

Interactive slides

Search The Free Lance-Star Archives

There are several options for searching archives:

Search fredericksburg.com by date or keyword for local stories published after February 2001    

Search Google News Archive
 • Search by timeline to access newspapers from 1920 through November 2006
 • Search historical papers - The Free Lance (1885-1926) and The Daily Star (1893-1926). Type the name of the paper (Daily Star, The Free Lance, or The Free Lance-Star) in the ‘Source’ field along with any other search parameters, such as date range or exact phrases.

Subscribers to the print or e-edition have access the e-edition archives, dating back to September 2008.

Political Cartoons
 • Explore Constitutional Issues through Political Cartoons!
 • Toon Talk Read Clay Jones’ blog about his-and other's-cartoons

Web Links

Compare Today’s Front Pages
The Newseum displays daily newspaper front pages from 592 newspapers from the U.S. and 56 other countries.

Links to Online Newspapers around the world

University of Virginia Center for Politics Youth Leadership Initiative
Register for FREE access to rigorous, teacher-developed civics and government lesson plans correlated to SOLs. Suggested NIE lessons: Detecting Bias in Media, Political Cartoon Analysis, Campaign Advertising

Bill of Rights in the Daily Headlines
Read breaking news related to the Bill of Rights, gathered daily from major news sources across the country and chosen for ease of use in the classroom.

Lesson Plans for Teaching the First Amemdment:
These lessons address constitutional principles and contemporary issues involving the First Amendment. They will draw young people into an exploration of how their freedoms began and how they operate in today's world.

Factcheck.org is a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. It's companion Web site Fact CheckED serves teachers and students.

Curriculum Guides

We the People in the News - All activities listed in this guide are based on lessons from "We The People: The Citizen and the Constitution" - high school edition: Center for Civic Education, 5146 Douglas Fir Road, Calabasas, CA 91302-1467; Phone: 800-350-4223. All of these activities can be conducted without the program provided by the Center for Civic Education but it is strongly recommended that you contact the Center to obtain the book on which these lessons are based. It is further encouraged that you provide information about the program to your local school system. If your local school is participating in either We The People or Project Citizen, these activities will be of significant usefulness in developing an NIE program to help your local schools. (49 pages - 40 lessons that can be modified for use in intermediate grades. NAA Foundation, 2002)

We The People Unit 1 and Unit 2 - An excellent resource for teachers covering The Constitution. These units provide in-depth information on the individual units in the We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution - middle school edition. Each offers newspaper activities to help educate students how this historic document is very much alive and still relevant today.

Target Date U.S.A. - Scavenger Hunts: A Newspaper In Education Activity Guide - Scavenger hunts have long been a popular NIE activity. This publication presents 50 scavenger hunts - one for each state in the Union. (52 pages - NAA Foundation, 2006)

Project Citizen - a 5-part series based on the program and text by the same name. We the People: Project Citizen is offers students a better understanding of how our government works, especially the development of public policy.

Newspapers Maintain the Brain - a teachers' guide to enhance basic skills. (42 pages - Activities at the elementary, middle and secondary levels, and activity handouts for younger students. NAA Foundation)

Newspapers Now - This guide provides a variety of lessons and activities to help students develop their comprehension and research skills. The materials are for both middle and high school students and special activities are included for elementary students. There are a total of 15 lesson plans with student activity sheets. (53 pages) NAA Foundation, 2009 Plus, 5 in-paper ads/flyers (2 column x 10 inches)

The Rule of Law - originally created for Law Day, 2008 the PDF file contains 1 introductory promotion piece and 5 features highlighting landmark court cases that originated in New York State. Each feature gives some background, a brief description of the issues and the court verdict in each case. Each also has a newspaper tie-in activity. The five cases are: King v. John Peter Zenger - 1730, Gibbons v. Ogden - 1824, Lochner v. New York - 1905, Engel v. Vitale - 1961, New York Times v. US - 1973. Student worksheets are also available to download here.

NIE Week 2010 - Newspaper In Education: A 21st Century Learning Tool - a teaching guide focused on critical thinking skills using the topics of financial literacy, nutrition, the environment, character education and information technology. The guide is divided into three levels (Grades 3-5, 6-8 and 9-12) and includes reproducable student worksheets. (47 pages - NAA Foundation, 2010) See pages 9-32 for classroom activities arranged by subject and level.

Just Think - a newspaper activity guide that focuses on the development of higher-level thinking skills in children. (34 pages - the activities in this guide focus on the top three levels of Bloom's Taxonomy of Educational Objectives: Analysis, Synthesis and Evaluation. NAA Foundation, 2004)

Give Them the Keys - This guide is organized by units, so teachers can pick and choose what works in conjunction with their curriculum and students. Each unit includes several lessons that can be taught consecutively in two, three, four or five days, or used independently. Each lesson is specifically designed to include instructional objectives, applicable standards, a list of materials, an anticipatory set, instructional procedures, a formative assessment for each lesson within a unit and resources associated with that particular lesson, if applicable. Adaptations and accommodations for ELL students and those with special learning needs are provided, as well as summative assessment tools.(126 pages, modified, adapted and reprinted from a 2002 edition of "Give Them the Keys", NAA Foundation, 2011)

Game On - The materials to create two board games, "The Bill of Rights Game" and "Freedom Wheel." Each invites students to use the local newspaper to get in the game of civics and acquire a better understanding of the basic rights of each American citizen as granted by the U.S. Constitution. (Good for elementary through high school - created by Anne Coburn-Griffis of The Lima (Ohio) News and Laura Coburn, Education Consultant)

Flushing Remonstrance - this single feature was created to celebrate the 350th Anniversary of the Flushing Remonstrance. The remonstrance was a petition delivered to Peter Stuyvesant by the people of Flushing, New Netherlands protesting treatment of the Quakers. It is argued by some that the Flushing Remonstrance was the forerunner of the First Amendment to U.S. Constitution. (NYNPA NIE Program, 2007)

First Things First - a newspaper activity guide that teaches the freedoms of the First Amendment. This guide features one elementary activity, one middle-school activity and one high-school activity for each “freedom.” (56 pages, NAA Foundation, Updated from the 2001 version with the Common Core State Standards and uniform lesson plan structure.)

Critical Thinking Through Core Curriculum - Using Print and Digital Newspapers - a teachers' guide covering five themes: Financial Literacy, Nutrition, the Environment, Character Education and Information Technology. The guide provides an opportunity to teach critical thinking skills through subjects that will be vital to students' success as adults. The student activities are available in three levels - Grades 3-5, 6-8 and 9-12. (47 pages - NAA Foundation, March 2010) Community Connections with Geography and the Newspaper - Geography is at the core of social studies. Whether the subject matter is history, economics, civics or current events, students must begin with a sense of where things are and how they fit into the world. The “Community Connections” curriculum is divided into two levels. Level One blends mapping skills with a discussion of various communities to which everyone belongs as individuals. As students learn to make and interpret maps, the curriculum addresses local, regional, state and national identity, as well as government and community. This section is written with elementary students in mind, but the clarity of language will be helpful for anyone working to grasp these basic elements. Level Two is designed for students with a basic knowledge of maps and a sense of the levels of government and geographic division. It expands that understanding while discussing how communities create and maintain their identities, and while emphasizing how geography affects local economies, lifestyles and community identity. It is written with middle school and older children in mind, but younger students who can grasp the more complex concepts are likely to understand the language. (59 pages - NAA Foundation 2011)

All Together Now - an activity guides that looks at the role the newspaper can play in developing children's literacy skills in a multicultural society. (37 pages - 12 lessons that reflect the national standards in many different content areas. Modifications for English Language Learners. Can be adapted to fit multiple grade levels. NAA Foundation, 2005)

UPDATED: Citizens Together - A five-day lesson plan, revised and refreshed according to Common Core State Standards, integrates newspapers into study of the Bill of Rights. This curriculum guide for middle- and high-school students can be used for Constitution Day on Sept. 17, or at other times when teachers focus on the nation’s founding documents and their significance today. NAA Foundation, 2012. (63 pages)

Your Newspaper, Your Town Hall: Lessons related to the newspaper’s coverage of town/city government and the local community.

Keep It Real: Introduces students to the function and organization of newspapers; the “why” of news stories, your right to know, marketplace of ideas and more.

Newspapers Inspire and Enlighten A great resource for introducing students to newspapers. Topics include news gathering, newspaper sections, types of writing, advertising, production, history, careers and terms.

Learn and Serve: Supplemental newspaper-based activities to use with Service–Learning Programs.

Speaking of a Free Press: 200 years of notable quotations about press freedoms

Get Ready To Get Involved - Click Here to download the PDF


The website, Vocabulary University, was created in May '97 with the idea that free puzzles with pleasing, interactive graphics would draw participants into learning vocabulary words at all levels. The site to go to is http://www.myvocabulary.com/