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  • Lesson plan
  • Grades 11-12,
  • Grades 9-10

What Do I Believe? Considering Controversial Issues Like the Death Penalty

Resources and Standards

RESOURCES

This is a list of organizations, websites, articles and other materials that may be helpful to teachers in developing the lesson, or for students as they are researching.

The Film
POV: Lindy Lou, Juror Number 2
The film's official POV site includes a discussion guide with additional activity ideas and resources, steps to borrow the DVD from the POV Lending Library and other resources.

POV: Media Literacy Questions for Analyzing POV Films
This list of questions provides a useful starting point for leading rich discussions that challenge students to think critically about documentaries.

Capital Punishment

8th Amendment Project
This is the website of a group that works to end the use of the death penalty in the United States and change the national discourse on the issue.

Death Penalty Information Center
This is a comprehensive site that offers statistics, research, issue backgrounders, legislation tracking, a state-by-state database and resources (including in Spanish).

Pew Research Center
The Pew Research Center presents polling results on support for and opposition to the death penalty.

ProCon.org: "Should the Death Penalty Be Allowed?"
This page and its links offer overviews of pro and con arguments on various aspects of the death penalty.

Equal Justice USA
This group provides information on transformative justice alternatives that address trauma, health, racism and victim's services.

Death Penalty Action
This advocacy organization provides resources, as well as educational and direct action activities, including the Annual Fast and Vigil to Abolish the Death Penalty.

Many states have organizations dealing with alternatives to the death penalty. These vary in services but often provide state-specific statistics, legislative updates, policy statements, services and advocacy. Do an Internet search for the name of your state and the phrase "alternatives to the death penalty" to find local resources.

STANDARDS

Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts & Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science and Technical Subjects

English Language Arts: College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Reading: Key Ideas and Details: CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.3; Integration of Knowledge and Ideas: CCRA.R.7, CCRA.R.8; Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity: CCRA.R.10

English Language Arts: College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Writing: Text Types and Purposes: CCRA.W.1, CCRA.W.2, CCRA.W.3; Production and Distribution of Writing: CCRA.W.4; Research to Build and Present Knowledge: CCRA.W.7, CCRA.W.8, CCRA.W.9; Range of Writing: CCRA.W.10

English Language Arts: College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Speaking and Listening: Comprehension and Collaboration: CCRA.SL.1, CCRA.SL.2, CCRA.SL.3; Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas: CCRA.SL.4

English Language Arts: College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Language: Conventions of Standard English: CCRA.L.1, CCRA.L.2; Vocabulary Acquisition and Use: CCRA.L.6

English Language Arts: Reading: Literature: Key Ideas and Details: RL.11-12.1, RL.11-12.2; Integration of Knowledge and Ideas: RL.11-12.7

English Language Arts: Reading: Informational Text: Key Ideas and Details: RI.11-12.1, RI.11-12.2, RI.11-12.3; Integration of Knowledge and Ideas: RI.11-12.7, RI.11-12.8; Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity: RI.11-12.10

English Language Arts: Writing: Text Types and Purposes: W.11-12.1, 12.1.a, 12.1.b, 12.1.d, W.11-12.2, W.11-12.2.a, W.11-12.2.b, W.11-12.3, W.11-12.3.a, W.11-12.3.d, W.11-12.3.e; Production and Distribution of Writing: W.11-12.4; Research to Build and Present Knowledge: W.11-12.7, W.11-12.8, W.11-12.9, W.11-12.9.b

English Language Arts: Speaking and Listening: Comprehension and Collaboration: SL.11-12.1, SL.11-12.2, SL.11-12.3; Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas: SL.11-12.4, SL.11-12.6

English Language Arts: Language: Conventions of Standard English: L.11-12.1, L.11-12.2, L.11- 12.2a, L.11- 12.2b, L.11-12.6

English Language Arts: History/Social Studies: Key Ideas and Details: RH.11-12.1, RH 11-12.2, RH.11-12.3; Craft and Structure: RH.11-12.6; Integration of Knowledge and Ideas: RH.11-12.9; Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity: RH.11-12.10

Content Knowledge: a compilation of content standards and benchmarks for K-12 curriculum by McREL (Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning).

About the authors

Blueshift

Blueshift is a team of education specialists with background in environmental and social impact work. The team recognizes and builds on the power of documentary film in reaching broad audiences to spark energy for deep and lasting social change. The team works with filmmakers, photographers and writers to develop innovative educational strategies, experiences, tools and resources that bring stories off the screen and into viewers' lives.