This required course for eleventh graders develops students' skills in the areas of reading, writing, speaking, and listening. The reading material places an emphasis on the entire range of American Literature. Students are given the opportuntiy to study important writers representing the rich diversity found in American culture. This course culminates in the writing of a research paper or research activities.
AP Language and Composition
An AP course designed to engage students in the careful reading and critical analysis of American literature, poetry and non-fiction. Through the close reading and use of other AP learning strategies, students will deepen their understanding of the ways writers use langauge to provide both meaning and pleasure for their readers. This course follows the College Board curriculum and invovles extensive reading and writing. Course participants will be prepared, but not required, to take the Advanced Placement test to earn college credit.
Should Books Be Banned?
With this WebQuest, students will research a selection of books banned by school boards around the country. Pairs of students will research censorship and the controversy behind Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451. Then each group will decide whether the book should be banned in their school district based on the information found. Each group will present on their findings for the class.
Throughout our years as students, we are all required to read several books. However, some people do not always agree with the books that are included in the school's curriculum. Some works of literature are challenged for the content they contain, be it too sexual, religious, anti-religious, or a number of other complaints. So where do we draw the line? Who has the right to decide what books are appropriate for students to read in a classroom? In this webquest, you will have the responsibility of making that decision about a book that we have read as a class. Should it be banned?
You and your partner will take on the role of your town's school board. A concerned citizen has brought before you a request to ban Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 that is part of the school's 11th grade English curriculum due to the book's questionable content. It is up to you, the school board, to research the book and both sides of the controversy and come to a decision based on your research: teach the book or ban it? Once you have come to a conclusion based on your research, you will present your findings to the town (class) with a PowerPoint presentation.
The first step to making a decision about a topic is to research and develop an understanding of the topic's history and present implications. With your partner, review the following websites for background information about censorship and book banning.
Read this article for an overview of the issues surrounding banning books from school curriculums. You will find information essential to making your decision as a school board.
Here you will find a list of challenged and/or banned books and some reasons why they were challenged and/or banned.
The American Library Association cosponsors the "Banned Books Week" every fall. Read about the most frequently challenged books in the past few years. Use the links on the left under frequently challenged books to explore.
Answer these questions while reading (Hint-Answering these questions will help your group come to a decision): When is censorship appropriate? What are some common themes among banned books? How does your book fit into these themes? Why do you think these themes are considered offensive? Why do certain governments, organizations, or individuals wish to screen others from these themes? Should anyone be allowed to possess that type of power—to decide what others can or cannot read and consume? If so, who is eligible to receive such power? Click here for printable worksheet.
Now that you are familiar with censorship, it is time to research the challenged book. As we have already read Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 as a class, you already have an understanding of the text. These websites will expand this knowledge in order to assist you in making an informed decision.
This website will supply background information about the text, the author, and its controversial history.
Here is Ray Bradbury's response to the censorship of his book about censorship.
Read this article about a student and her father challenging her town's inclusion of Fahrenheit 451 in the high school curriculum. How is that town's school board handling the situation?
Using the information that you have reviewed regarding censorship, banning books, and Fahrenheit 451, it is now time to come to a decision. Hold a majority vote amongst your school board to decide whether or not Fahrenheit 451 should be banned from your school's curriculum. Why or why not? Be sure to come to this decision based on facts from your readings as well as your personal views.
Before making your decision, review the questions first posed to you when reading about censorship: When is censorship appropriate? What are some common themes among banned books? How does your book fit into these themes? Why do you think these themes are considered offensive? Why do certain governments, organizations, or individuals wish to screen others from these themes? Should anyone be allowed to possess that type of power—to decide what others can or cannot read and consume? If so, who is eligible to receive such power?
Does your explanation of the board's decision answer all of these questions?
Finally, having compiled and thoroughly researched your specific book and the issue of censorship in general, synthesize your findings into an intelligent argument, which you will present to the class (town), acting as the school board. You will present a Powerpoint presentation that should convey a convincing argument for or against banning the book, relying on your research and personal experience with the book. Be sure to include specific information and quotes from your research to support your argument. If you need help with developing a Powerpoint presentation, I am available for consultation. Grades will be based on effort, appropriateness, and development of the argument.
Content Accuracy and Use
Information is completely false and only opinion is used to support the argument.
There is little accurate information taken from the research materials, and there is little factual information used to support the argument.
The presentation content is mostly accurate, can be found in the materials given for research, and is used appropriately to support the argument.
The content of the presentation is completely accurate, can be found in the research material, and is used appropriately to support the argument.
Group Work Skills
Did not work well with group, and was more trouble for the group than help. Did little or no work.
Had many problems working with group, and did not do enough work compared to the other group members.
Rarely had problems working in a group. Good attitude, but could have divided the work more evenly.
Always worked well in group setting. Shared the work evenly with other members of the group.
Presentation is ordinary, unorganized, and looks thrown together. Little or no effort shown.
Presentation is relatively ordinary, with some organizational problems and shows some effort.
Presentation is creative, organized, and shows a good amount of effort.
Presentation is very creative and unique, well put together and shows a great amount of effort .
Now that each group has presented their argument for or against the banning of Fahrenheit 451, take the time to reflect individually about the project. Were your initial views changed because of the information that you found? Did you find more support for your views and did you develop a better way to express these views? If this book were to become a subject for debate in your town, would you choose to join in the debate?
Adapted from https://www.myteacherpages.com/webpages/DEdick/webquests.cfm?subpage=1169693