Lesson Plan : Censorship! Fahrenheit 451

Teacher Name:
 K. Houston
Grade:
 Grade 7-8
Subject:
 Literature Activities

Topic:
 Censorship, Book Bannings, and Book Burnings
Content:
 Key Concepts: Federal, State or Local government control over individual freedoms. School control over students' time and communications. Group control over what the individual can read. Vocabulary: Censorship - the use of state or group power to control freedom of expression. Book Bannings - books are challenged for different reasons such as subject matter and declared prohibited for the public or a group to read. Book Burnings - the practice of ceremoniously destroying by fire one or more copies of a book or other written material.
Goals:
 The learner will: *express individual perspectives in response to personal, social, cultural, and historical issues. *interpret and synthesize information. *critically analyze print and non-print communication.
Objectives:
 The learner will respond to expressive materials that are read, heard, and/or viewed by: *demonstrating an understanding of what is read, heard, and/or viewed. *making connections between works, self and related topics. *drawing inferences and/or conclusions. *offering personal opinions confidently orally in a group setting and/or by generating a learning log or journal.
Materials:
 For this lesson you will need: *to prepare ahead of time by contacting the nearest Fire Department to ask for their help in putting on a "Hook". *to schedule a time when your principal can come to your classroom to be part of another "Hook". *a class set of books that have been discarded or no longer used. *copies of the novel Fahrenheit 451. *copies of handout for students. (and good warm weather!)
Introduction:
 Take the students outside into the nice warm sunshine to complete an Anticipation Guide on the old book you are not going to read. I had a nice sidewalk and curb to the bus parking lot outside my classroom door.
Development:
 Students will gather outside in an open area to complete an Anticipation Guide on an old book that is no longer used. (They think this is the book we are going to read.) While students are working the fire trucks, with sirens blaring, pull up to us. The Chief proceeds to question the material we are reading, accusing us of breaking the law by having it in our possession, while his men are taking the books from the students. The firemen put the books in a barrel and burn them, while the chief writes us a citation declaring we could go to jail or be put to death. At first I act afraid and intimidated because I have been caught with something illegal. But then I become indignant and argumentative over the taking away of my right to read or teach whatever I choose. The second day, the principal comes in and interupts the class discussion of the previous day to tell the students that the school board is considering issuing a new policy which will prohibit students during the school day from sending e-mails or talking in the halls about matters not related to school or their studies. He/she go on to explain that is not a punishment, but is intended for the benefit of the students. With the principal, I am supportive of the idea and relay to the student that I think it is a good idea which will make them much stronger students. I tell them it will be only a matter of time before they will be required to do the same at home. I explain to the students that the taking of the books and burning them was the act of banning and burning books. I say I feel that is wrong because I ought to be able to freely choose what I want to read. Switching to the other side, I tell them I believe in the policy of only texting and talking about school related topics and would enforce it because it would make them better students. Besides, school is what you need to be talking about at school. This riles them up and I explain to them that this is a form of censorship along with the taking and burning of the books.
Practice:
 *Class discussion on censorship and banning & burning of books, discussing famous forms of censorship and book burnings. *Cooperative learning groups where they will discuss in their groups 2 questions: 1. What books, current movies, videos, or television shows do you think are inappropriate for people you age to read or view? Should our community (a)ban them, (b)make them off-limits to certain people, (c)not worry about them, or (d)discuss them with an open mind? Explain your answers. 2. What is accomplished by censorship and banning or burning of books? Play pro (positive accomplishments) and con (negative accomplishments). *Come back together as a class to share our thoughts and generate more discussion and questions.
Accommodations:
 Differentiated instruction comes in at the beginning by completing a unit on an above grade level book. Differentiation also takes place in groups with their peers and in their expressive writing. These students are exposed to material and/or issues that are sometimes controverial and challenging because they are always doing above grade level material.
Checking For Understanding:
 Initially, their journals will be read, then they will write a more formal paper that will be assessed by a rubric.
Closure:
 This activity leads into the reading of the novel Fahrenheit 451 which is about everything we have just covered.
Evaluation:
 Student success will be measured in this activity by evaluation with a rubric of a formal writing.
Teacher Reflections:
 If I continue to do the first hook for this novel, I will have to come up with some other reading material such as a pamphlet I make up for the "illegal" material. (I do not have many books left). I, at some point, might have to use a policeman instead of a fireman. I would also like to find some way to get the point across to my skeptics that the taking of the books could be a real possibility. It has happened in the past and could happen again. This is what gives authors their ideas for writing.

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