B*NN*D: A Project-Based Learning Initiative on Book Censorship
Help me give my students a selection of contemporary young adult novels that have been frequently banned or challenged, so we can responsibly and appropriately study their contents and prepare a proposal to school officials.
My students live in a rural community with minimal exposure to careers beyond the family farm, production plants, and chain restaurants. Higher education also receives minimal exposure beyond the local community college, as many students do not have a college attendant or graduate in their families.
Despite these challenges, my students desire a better life for themselves - a life with more opportunity - and work to achieve it.
In class, my students rise to my rigorous standards in each lesson and activity. Out of class, they rise to their own rigorous standards by requesting teacher assistance, joining study sessions, and welcoming constructive criticism.
And when my students' school lives conclude, their home lives begin, replete with the responsibilities of caring for siblings, supporting the family income, and even being the English language liaison between their parents and the everyday English speaker.
Altogether, my students are impressive, valuable, and worthy of a Donor's Choose project.
In my English Language Arts class, students explore social consciousness - the awareness of and ability to affect society - through project-based tasks on authentic, real-world problems.
In this project-based task, students use the requested donation of banned and challenged books to evaluate the purpose and validity of censorship, ultimately proposing to school officials whether the content of each book (which currently is not censored in the school) warrants its censorship.
Importantly, students first read two opposing arguments on book censorship. Then, students research the justifications for challenging or banning the donated books.
With that context, students then read, with teacher facilitation, the donated books to determine the author's purpose for including the controversial content. By understanding the existing arguments on book censorship and evaluating the intended purposes of the content, students can develop an evidence-based, well-reasoned proposal to school officials.
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