Writing to Read Democracy: Guided Document Analysis

in Writing to Read Democracy in New York State & The United States
Activity 1

Created by Prof. Seth Halvorson & Dr. Erica Kaufman
Bard College Institute for Writing & Thinking

NYS Common Core Grades 7 & 8:
History of the United States and New York State I & II

This document-based sequence of activities invites students to chart the dialog between the New York State Courts, the Federal Courts, and other State Courts regarding the scope of individual rights. Generally speaking, New York State Courts are more protective of individual rights than Federal Courts and more so than other State Courts as well. The central question is: How have the New York State Courts understood the scope of individual rights? 

Focusing on the New York State Constitution, this activity blends IWT’s writing to read strategies with students’ understanding of what the rights of NYS citizens are through individual and collaborative critical thinking.

This lesson plan meets the following guidelines of New York State’s Common Core Social Studies Framework (2016):

  • The Constitution in Practice: 7.5a
  • Domestic Politics and Reform: 8.9b, 8.9e

Lesson Overview PDF

IWT’s Core Writing (& Reading) Practices PDF

Document Packet PDF

Freedom of Expression in the NYS Constitution PDF

The Historical Society’s website contains a wealth of related resources related to this unit.

New York State Constitution

Image Citation: Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, LC-DIG-det-4a10836.

Writing to Read Democracy: Written Conversations & Dialectical Notebooks
Collaborative Close Reading

Lesson 2
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