In high schools across America, many books have been challenged and sometimes successfully banned from the curriculum or school libraries. In class, we have discussed at length the reasons people ban books and the pros and cons of removing certain controversial texts from shelves. Let’s continue the conversation!
First, research what your assigned book is about. Look up a written or video summary and read through some analysis to get some context. Next, research when, where, and why the book was banned or challenged. You may even want to read the different perspectives of individuals who may have already written their opinion for or against banning the book. Explore to see if there are any news video clips discussing the issue.
For your post, start by listing the Title and author of the book using this format:
Title: Animal Farm
Author: George Orwell
Next, briefly summarize in a sentence or two what the book is about. Then, explain what you learned about when, where, and why the book has been banned. Finally, discuss your own opinion. Do you think challenging this book was fair or appropriate, why or why not? Cite and reference any of the articles that influenced your opinion in your post and include a list of the links you visited while researching the book.
As you read over your peers’ posts, seek out titles or reasons for banning that resonate with you. Argue for or against your peer’s thoughts on why the book was banned. Think about what these books have in common and the benefits/consequences of their being banned.
At the end of this unit, your big narrative writing assignment will be to write your own allegory. Your allegory should explore a problem or conflict that you want to make a point about. The conflict could be anything you want it to be, but should have a moral, political, social, historical, technological, or religious focus.
For this blog post, discuss or propose an idea (or several) about what conflict you might want to explore for your allegory assignment. You could choose a real-world conflict from any era in history. For example, write an allegory mirroring the events that caused WWI, explore the water crisis and civil wars in Sudan, or write a piece that reflects the most recent United States presidential election. The conflict you explore might be something more personal. For instance, you might write a story that exposes the truth about bullying, cliques in school, school uniforms, or gang violence.
Explain which conflict you’d like your allegory to explore. Do some research into the event or into a topic related to the conflict that might help you plan your allegory. For example, if you wanted to write an allegory exposing the truth about bullying, do some research into severe cases that might serve as models for parts of your story. Include a link to your research and reference it in your response.
Great speakers throughout history are those who possess certain qualities or talents that capture us. These speakers lead thousands with the simple power of their words and their presence. Choose a great leader or speaker from history who has made speeches before a crowd. You can research a political figure, an activist leader, or anyone who you consider worthy of analyzing as a spectacular orator.
Choose one or a few of the speeches they have made that you felt were particularly powerful and analyze what techniques they use to successfully move an audience. Don't focus on body language or the way their voice sounds, focus on the text they have written itself. Do they create a certain mood or tone through their word choice? What powerful images or language do they use and how do these affect their audience. Cite specific pieces of their speech(es) to support your analysis and include a link to the full text of the speech and/or a video of them making the speech that you analyzed.
In your comments, try making some connections! Do any of the leaders in Animal Farm use similar techniques when they address the animals of the farm? Do you notice any common threads among the techniques these great orators use?
Research a historical revolution that interests you. It could have occurred during any era of history and anywhere in the world, but be sure you are able to find at least one credible web source to discuss and cite in your post. Discuss what caused the revolution, who was involved, and the effects of it. Compare what you learn about this revolution with the one on Animal Farm. What similarities and/or differences do you see in the cause, effects, circumstances, etc. of each uprising?
Remember to post a link to the article you referenced in your response.
Choose one of the 8 statements from your "Animal Farm Anticipation Guide" that you would like to expand upon. Explain your stance thoroughly, careful to explain your reasoning. Do some research on the topic and include the link to a relevant article that provides support for your personal argument (explain how it supports what you're trying to say), a counter argument (explain your rebuttals), or a new and fascinating perspective that helped changed the way you thought about the topic. When you make comments on your peers' posts, try to respond to at least one person who wrote about a different topic than you.
Here are the 8 statements:
1) All humans are equal.
2) Some people are smarter than others.
3) Usually the best and brightest people are leaders.
4) A dictator can control everything in a country.
5) The government usually does what is best for the most people.
6) You should always believe everything you’re told.
7) People who cannot read are easily controlled.
8) People always have the ability to make their own choices.
Research real world examples of how kids around your age or grade level have helped to improve their community. You might choose to stick to local news stories, or expand your search to a national, or even global level! Share an article, program/organization website, or video that you found particularly inspiring or thought provoking. Summarize the content of the your web source briefly, highlight an excerpt or two that you found surprising or interesting and explain why.
In both your post and comments, share your reactions to the community improvement project and try to make connections to your own community and what might be done to improve it.
This week, we will begin our exploration of fiction elements. As we prepare to study setting, we will stretch our creative writing muscles and bring a setting to life. Start by finding an image online that depicts a given setting. The image can be a photograph of a real place that you’ve visited, or a picture of any environment that inspires a story. Write a 8-10 sentence description of this setting. Write your description as it were an excerpt from a longer narrative that provides exposition to establish setting. Include details that help your reader visualize the setting clearly.
Provide a link to the image that inspired your story. The link cannot be to any social media site or other website that would be blocked on school computers. The content should be school appropriate.
There are three examples below:
To make comments this week, you will select two setting descriptions to read. DO NOT LOOK AT THE PHOTOGRAPH UNTIL AFTER YOU READ THE SETTING DESCRIPTION. Read your peer’s description, then look at the picture, and in response, compare how you visualized the setting with the real thing. Discuss what details in their description helped you visualize the image in a way that was similar too or different from the actual image. Add any ideas you had that could help develop this into a full story!
Over the course of this unit, we will be studying narratives and plot. Start by thinking about your favorite fiction author. State who they are and what they've written, and then provide a brief analysis of what techniques they use as a story teller that make their plots, characters, tone, or writing style so intriguing to you. Discuss at least one specific example. Provide a link to a sample of their writing that you cited in your response, an article analyzing their writing style that you have summarized or referenced in your response, or a biographical article that you referenced that provides relevant insight to something that has influenced their writing style.
For this week’s post, you will have a few options to choose from. The topic for this week is stereotypes. Before you choose your response format, remember that this topic is a sensitive one. Be sure to stay respectful and open minded as you discuss the topic with your peers this week.
Find a poem or song that expresses a theme related to one of the spheres on the Identity Web. Remember that theme is more than just a topic. It is a universal truth or lesson the author intends for the audience to glean from the text. For example, "love" isn't a theme. "Love conquers all," is. Include a link to the full text of the poem or song lyrics, or find a school appropriate video in which the piece is performed. Discuss the theme of the piece and how it relates to the sphere in the identity web. Chose at least one line/stanza that helps develop that theme to analyze in depth. Explain it's significance in building on the theme and what it means to you.