Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Who Needs a Dress Code?

Joan Jackson


Using the Dress Code Guidelines from a Code of Student Conduct, students make notes and create a poster to present appropriate/inappropriate examples of students' grooming/attire, and include comments regarding the need for each guideline.


The student writes notes, outlines, comments, and observations that reflect comprehension of sixth grade level or higher content from a variety of media.

The student evaluates classroom presentations according to volume, stress, pacing, and pronunciation.

The student organizes and effectively delivers a speech using a basic beginning, middle, and end.


--List of “Dress Code Guidelines” for your school or district (1 copy for each student)
--Overhead or Dry-Erase Markers
--Transparency of template for notes or template drawn on dry-erase board
--Poster Board (1 sheet for each small group)


1. Make a transparency of a two-column note template (notebook paper, folded in half lengthwise, with a “Guideline” heading in the left column and “Reasons for Guideline/Examples” heading in the right column), or draw the template on the dry-erase board.
2. Collect a variety of pictures from magazines, catalogs, or newspapers that depict people in a wide range of clothing styles—very informal to very formal.
3. Copy the “Dress Code Guidelines” for each student, or refer each student to his/her copy of the district’s/school’s handbook.
4. Copy the “Public Notice” Peer Evaluation (attached file) for each group to complete immediately following each presentation.
5. Copy the “Dress Code Guidelines” Group/Individual Self-Evaluation (attached file) for each group member to complete at the end of the activity.


Day One
1. Ask students to brainstorm a list of skills they work on in each of their classes. Write the skills on the overhead or board as the students discuss them.

2. Take an informal vote on each skill, rating it according to whether or not the students believe it is important to their lives/careers. Note a “U” beside each skill voted as being unimportant, and an “I” for each skill voted as being important.

3. Discuss how, even though individual students differ on the importance of skills in their individual lives/careers, everyone can come to a decision on the importance of each skill that represents the group as a whole.

4. Show the students several pictures (from magazines or newspapers) of people in a wide range of clothing styles--very informal to formal.

5. Discuss what the person in each picture might be thinking, saying, or doing.

6. Display the pictures and have students vote on which person best represents someone who has an important task to do, but don’t give them any details about the task you have in mind (learning). After the vote, discuss the importance of how different types of dress can affect people's perceptions.

7. Discuss individual opinions and the ability to arrive at a decision for the group.

8. Hand out copies of the “Dress Code Guidelines” to each student.

9. Display a notes template transparency (copy of a sheet of notebook paper, folded in half—lengthwise) or draw one on the dry-erase board.

10. Using the first dress code guideline, model for students how to make notes as you read the text. Write the guideline in the left column, and write a comment in the right column stating why the guideline is needed (“I believe this guideline is necessary because…”). Follow the comment with two examples of clothing/grooming related to the guideline. One example should describe an inappropriate example, and the other should describe an appropriate example.

11. Divide the class into small groups (3 to 5 students) and assign each group one or two guidelines (depending on the number of groups and guidelines). Make sure that students know what is expected of them during the activity. You might want to read over the Group/Individual Self-Evaluation to students before they begin, making sure they understand each item.

12. Have each member in the group use the two-column format (described in Step 10) to make notes (independently) for each guideline assigned.

13. Have group members compare their notes and come to an agreement (for their group) on the inappropriate/appropriate examples of clothing/grooming, and on why the dress code guideline is necessary.

Day Two
14. Create a master list of notes from a class discussion for the entire set of dress code guidelines. Show students how to abbreviate words and use phrases in place of complete sentences whenever possible. Encourage students to make notes for any guidelines with which they have trouble understanding.

15. Give each small group a sheet of poster board, a set of markers, old magazines/newspapers/catalogs, scissors, and glue. Ask the students to use their notes to create a “Public Notice” poster that illustrates their guideline, using both types of examples and the comments about why the guideline is necessary at school.

16. Review speaking and listening guidelines before group presentations tomorrow. Give students a few minutes at the end of class to practice their presentations within their groups.

Day Three
17. Each group presents their “Public Notice”, explaining their graphics and why they selected the comments that explain the need for their guideline.

18. Each observing group completes a “Public Notice” Peer Evaluation for the presenting group (attached file), and each group member completes the “Dress Code Guidelines” Group/Individual Self-Evaluation (attached file).

19. Each group submits students’ individual notes with their group poster to the teacher for final evaluation.


1. Peer Evaluation (with rubric)—This assessment allows each observing group to evaluate the work of the presenting group. (See attached file)
2. Group/Individual Self-Evaluation (with rubric)—This assessment allows each group to evaluate the group members’ performance. (See attached file)
3. Teacher Assessment of Group/Individual Performance—This is the latter part of the Group/Individual Self-Evaluation, which allows the teacher to evaluate group performance and individual achievement.


1. Display the “Public Notices” posters around the school for other students to see.
2. Perform a skit each morning on ITV, featuring a group presenting its Dress Code Guideline to the student body, until all guidelines have been covered.
3. Have students visit the following websites and read material presented at the regarding school uniforms.

ACLU’s “Point of View: School Uniforms” @

Chuck Sambar’s Should Students Wear School Uniforms@

Totem Junior High School’s Uniform Policy @

After reading, students should answer the following questions about school uniforms.
1.Do school uniforms help prevent crime?
2.Do school uniforms promote discipline?
3.Does the requirement of uniforms violate students’ First Amendment right to freedom of expression?
4.Is it fair to require low-income parents to buy uniforms for their children?
5.Do uniforms diminish the influence of gangs in the schools?
Then, have the students agree or disagree with this statement:

I believe that our school should require students to wear uniforms.

Students would then write a letter to the school’s principal or district’s superintendent, persuading him/her to believe the views they have presented regarding school uniforms.

Web Links

Web supplement for Who Needs a Dress Code?

Web supplement for Who Needs a Dress Code?

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