FC: -Freedom to Read- Why do people Censor what we read?
1: Relation to the Alberta Program of Studies Freedom to read is a nation wide campaign that deals with the censorship of the written word. This issue is heavily debated and affects students, parents, teachers, and the public. This topic will relate to the Alberta Program of Studies in the section of grade 5 that outlines skills needed in the dimensions of thinking. 5.S.1 develop skills of critical thinking and creative thinking: -analyze significant local and current affairs from a variety of sources, distinguishing between fact and opinion -evaluate ideas, information and positions from multiple perspectives -re-evaluate personal opinions to broaden understanding of a topic or an issue -generate original ideas and strategies in situations of individual and group activities -seek responses to inquiries from various authorities through electronic media -recognize that information serves different purposes and that data from electronic sources may need to be verified to determine accuracy or relevance for the purpose used.
2: The Social Studies strand most affected by this Controversial Issue Study is: Culture and Community Exploring culture and community allows students to examine shared values and their own sense of belonging, beliefs, traditions and languages. This promotes students’ development of citizenship and identity and understanding of multiple perspectives, issues and change. Students will examine the various expressions of their own and others’ cultural, linguistic and social communities ( Alberta Program of Studies).
4: Rational and why I choose this Topic This topic is relevant to the grade 5 program of studies because it will allow students to look at an issue that affects; authors, students, parents, teachers, libraries and schools. What makes this topic interesting is the multiple perspectives on the issue of censorship. The censorship topic relates to specific books in question. These books have been removed from either school or public libraries in North America for various reasons. These challenged books are questioned for different reasons but carry some common themes that cause objection, most for homosexuality, explicit language or violence. Students will get to evaluate these reasons, use judgment, critically analyze, and take on a view point that they might not personally agree with. The goal of this current event and controversial issue is not to have students make up their mind one way or another and stay firm on their choice. Rather, to have them evaluate multiple perspectives and accept the differences we have in opinion. These opinions and mind sets are what make up our culture and society and students should be critical thinkers when it comes to making choices and setting opinions. In grade 5 I think this will be valuable for students to learn to make choices in relation to facts and well thought out opinions. During this topic of study students will learn that its okay to, “agree to disagree,” but be able to do so in a respectful, accepting, and responsible manner.
5: Why do you read? | Is reading a right? | Do you read? | What do you Read?
6: What is Censorship? Censorship: is the suppression of speech or other communication which may be considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, or inconvenient to the general body of people as determined by a government, media outlet, or other controlling body. Today censorship can be found in libraries that pull questionable books from the shelves, or in protests that take place where people may burn books that they feel should not be allowed to be read. The following page has a link to the Edmonton Public Library's list of "challenged" books. These books have strong written complaints against them and the content inside the books. Take a look at these books and evaluate the reasons why people have complained.
8: Visit the website below to see an article about what censorship is, who it involves, and who it affects. http://childrensbooks.about.com/cs/censorship/a/censorship.htm Ask yourself: Is censorship okay?
9: Parents Point of View PABBIS: stands for Parents Against Bad Books In Schools. Below is a section of the website that talks about why parents feel strongly about what is available to young readers. http://www.pabbis.com/whattodo.html This blog link shares the feeling of a father concerned over library materials available to his children. http://homeschoolblogger.com/stevewalden/31086/
11: Kids Point of View Below is a website where concerned students have expressed their views on banned or censored books. http://www.kidspeakonline.org/index.html Below is a Youtube video that shows a newscast story about a student who disagreed with a book that she needed to read for a class. In this story both sides of the issue is shown. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yUq2d2OFRkk
12: See the Washington post story about this photo: http://onfaith.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/undergod/2010/09/book_burning_a_terrible_freedom.html?referrer=emaillink
13: Below is a Youtube news cast that covers this controversial story about burning the Quran. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DVMG71ptRwk Can this example of book burning be compared to book censorship in schools or libraries?
15: What are other reasons why people would want to burn or ban books? See the following articles, and video links http://www.thefrisky.com/post/246-will-there-be-a-bookburning-in-wisconsin/ http://news.yahoo.com/s/ynews/ynews_ts3726 http://www.cbc.ca/canada/calgary/story/2007/12/05/book-pulled.html The American Library Association is against book banning and believes in the "Freedom to Read" Here is their viewpoint. http://www.ala.org/ala/issuesadvocacy/banned/bannedbooksweek/index.cfm http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xa1aUmjf2ns
17: Safe Libraries View Point Safe Libraries is the name of a group that seeks to keep Libraries safe for children. They are concerned with the accessibility of obscene and explicit content to young readers. See the opposition to the American Library Association below. http://safelibraries.blogspot.com/
18: Summary of Articles See resource reference section
19: Activity Guide 1. Class Collaboration Once students have examined the online scrap book, videos and articles, initiate a class discussion by drawing a large T chart on board, smart board, or poster at front of class. -Divide the T chart into two sections "Fact" & "Opinion." -Ask students to contribute to the chart with statements that will fall in either "fact" or "opinion" categories. Once this initial class brainstorm is complete ask students to view the following two pages. They should select a photo and free write. Here they can articulate their current opinions, or question ideas and reasons for why they feel a certain way about censorship.
20: What does this picture suggest? How can it be related to censorship?
21: What does this picture suggest? How can it be related to censorship?
22: 2. Extend ideas Divide students into the following groups of people who represent the varying opinions on this issue. Group 1: Parents Against Bad Books in Schools Group 2: Citizens for safe Libraries Group 3: West Bend Parents for Free Speech Group 4: Kidspeak: Students against Censorship Group 5: School Librarians Group 6: American Library Association Group 7: Christian Civil Liberties Union Ask students to work within their groups to develop an argument on which their social action group stands. Provide students with additional background information and encourage them to utilize technology to find out more about their designated group.
23: 3.Explore ideas Challenge students to come up with at least 5 great questions to ask their social action group and help students find ways to get their questions answered. Questions can be answered by: -writing letters -arranging interviews (ie. principal, public librarian, school librarian,) -Organizing a skype conference with a representative from an organization who may be willing to visit the class? * Side suggestion: If possible it would be great to get an "authors perspective" on censorship. Teacher should arrange for a guest video/skype conference with an author that has written challenged materials, or who can provide an opinion on the matter.
24: 4. Create Once information has been collected, organized, and understood have student "social action" groups create a valid argument from their perspective highlighting: -What is important -Why it is important -What are the factors that contribute to their argument. -Who their social action group represents Project: Ask students to display their organization/social action group, and arguments in the form of one of the following: -Poster -Power Point -Video recorded news cast
25: 5. Share Student groups will then present their assigned perspectives to the class. After all groups have presented Teacher will set up class for a circle discussion. This will take place where a Teacher-guided debate can allow students to express opinions, and facts in a responsible manner while role playing their designated organization. 6. Critical Analysis Following the discussion ask students to place themselves on a U-Shaped continuum with the following placement options: -Strongly for censorship -For censorship -Equally for and against censorship -Against censorship -Strongly against censorship
26: Following student self selected placements on U-shape continuum have the students again re-visit their personal views by writing about their choices and opinions in a reflective journal. Offer a simple guiding questions like: Explain why you have placed yourself in this spot on the continuum? Assessment Utilize the earlier journal entry by students reflecting on the photos to their next entry after their deeper exploration of topic. Have students fill out a self assessment of their own learning. Asking questions like: 1. How well did I work with others during this project?
27: 2. What was hardest for me to understand? 3. What was easy for me to understand? 4. What helped me understand this topic the most? 5. On a scale of 1 to 5 I would rate my research skills a____? Give an example of evidence to support your answer.
28: Difficult Subject Matter While topics such as homosexuality, violence, and explicit language are not being "taught," in this unit of study. These are motivating factors behind why people make choices for or against censorship. I would suggest a conversation taking place with school administration prior to unit to ensure support. Materials and directions of instruction should be clear so that in the event a parent complains the teacher has full support of school administration. By having this conversation with school administration this will allow the teacher to send out an information letter prior to unit if there is concern.
29: Bibliography See resource reference section.