Category: Class Resources

Banned Books Week 2015, courtesy ala.org/bbooks
Banned Books Week 2015, courtesy ala.org/bbooks

Every year, the last week in September becomes the focal point for a concerted effort to celebrate the freedom to read.  In this country, the First Amendment’s right to free speech must contend with a long history of censorship – promoted by individuals, organizations, and government.  Banned Books Week is organized by the American Library Association (ALA), the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), and a host of non-profits, publishers, and legal defense funds.  It is supported by myself, among much of the reading world, and, through this week’s Extra Credit opportunity, by you!

To receive Extra Credit for Banned Books Week, you must choose one of the following options, and use professional images, symbols, designs, or media:

A) Create a Poster to celebrate the week, using the three requirements below:

  • Include the title Banned Books Week, in flashy color/font to catch the attention of passerby
  • Include a quote about censorship from this video provided by Simon & Schuster Books: Celebrate the Freedom to Read
  • Include suggestions on how to celebrate Banned Books Week in school or at home

B) Create a Handout to share information about banned and challenged books, using these criteria:

  • A list of frequently challenged books (Here’s a resource from the ALA)
  • Reasons why books are often challenged (Resources from the Huffington Post, in 2012 and 2014)
  • A checklist of frequently challenged books – check off as many as you’ve read!

C) Compose a 1 page essay (typed – 12pt font, TNR, double-spaced) on To Kill a Mockingbird as a challenged book.  Why (and where/when) has it frequently been challenged?  What might be ironic about wanting this book censored?  What is your reflection on reading the book – how might you oppose or defend a challenge to this book at our school?

Whichever option you choose, it must be submitted by the end of the day Thursday, October 1.  To be eligible, you must follow the requirements for each option, as well as aim for professional quality (Mom would put it on the fridge, and so would I!).  Successful efforts will be awarded 20pts, and above-average efforts 30pts (each option is worth more than a homework assignment!).  If nothing else, you can celebrate this week by finishing TKAM, and moving on to a new book which, having been published, probably has found someone to challenge it by now!

F(READ)OM!!

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Admin Class Resources Reading Picks

Illustration by Vladimir Radunsky, from On a Beam of Light by Jennifer Berne (see BrainPickings link below)
Illustration by Vladimir Radunsky, from On a Beam of Light by Jennifer Berne (see BrainPickings link below)

First Day of Fall!  A Happy Birthday to the Boss, a fond farewell to Yogi Berra (even though he signed with the Empire of Evil) and some links to ponder.  It’s important, especially for those of us living in a seemingly-remote corner of the world…(They say there are things to do, and I think that there are things to do, but students still tell me there’s “nothing to do”.  Doesn’t seem to equate more homework getting done…).  Anyway, it’s important for those of us who live in insular societies to join the larger world.  No one’s experiences are in isolation!  We as human beings are all part of a larger, circular order to criss-crossing paths and degrees of separation.  Like a spider’s web, movement on one end of our connective tissue affects somebody else.  I call posts like these “Threads” to connote this link up.  Here are some helpful links to get you up to date on food for thought and shout-outs to glory.

Burns, Wyoming’s First All-Girls FTC Robotics Team! – Marissa, et al are taking extracurriculars to new heights and radioactive, fan girl awesomeness.  Geronimo, allons-y and all that!

Brain Pickings! – Curated by Maria Popova, this all-learning, all-the-time resource from the greatest minds on happiness, intelligence, serenity, adventures, and the benefits of being alive.  This is a great site I visit frequently (sign-up for the newsletter to get a weekly rundown!) that informs my reading, teaching, and all-around efforts to share genius and mindfulness.  Excelsior!

Here are some of my favorites to get you started:

The Importance of Leisure in a Workaholic Society

Amanda Palmer Recounts Neil Gaiman’s Philosophical Dream

Fifteen Inspiring Picture Books Celebrating Famous Thinkers

Finally, the Unemployed Philosopher’s Guild.  Ladies and gentlemen, I give you: all your holiday shopping, from Halloween to Valentine’s Day and back!

Thanks for reading, and keep an eye out for Extra Credit opportunities here soon!

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Admin Class Resources

World Science Festival - Why We Tell Stories
World Science Festival – Why We Tell Stories

Hey, Intro Lit!  Here are the links to the Jonathan Gottschall videos from class today.  They make fantastic resources for future papers on our yearlong theme.

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9th Grade: Intro to Literature Class Resources

12th Grade: European Literature 9th Grade: Intro to Literature Admin Class Resources