Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Banned Book Celebration

I have mentioned many times before that we are studying censorship, specifically of reading material, this semester in my English III class to go along with our reading of F451.

My students each chose a banned or challenged book to read third quarter (I directed them to the ALA list of banned classics to start with. They didn't have to choose a "classic," but I told them it should be one that has literary merit. For instance, I accepted The Hunger Games but would not allow 50 Shades of Grey).

Later this year, they will write argumentative essays either supporting or disagreeing with banning their book of choice using support from outside sources.

They had to finish reading these books by last Friday, the end of 3rd quarter. Their weekly blog had to do with posting a book review of their book, and on Friday in class, we celebrated their books. I had each student do a 2-3 min. book talk, where they gave a brief synopsis of the book, followed by a summary of why/when the book was banned and whether or not they agree with banning it for these reasons. The vast majority of my students said no, they didn't agree with banning it. If anything. they thought some shouldn't be taught in the classroom, but rather made available for independent reading.

After each book talk, I snapped their photo holding their banned book. A couple kids chose to not have their faces in the picture, which was fine, so I took a photo of them holding the book which showed only their hands. I passed out colored slips of paper and had them write the title and author on it.

So here is my new bulletin board. I took it from a distance on purpose so that you couldn't see students' faces. Their photo is next to the slip of paper with their book title on it.

I'm really pleased with how it turned out! My students had fun looking at all their photos on display the next day. I thought it was a fun way to celebrate the books my students read and brighten up my classroom.

Do you teach any units on banned books?

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