Censorship Teacher Resources
Find Censorship educational ideas and activities
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A Songwriter Not Silenced - Lesson 2
Students discuss how a musician's message can influence society and government. They debate if political viewpoints should be publicized in music.
Read loud: The Media
In this media read aloud activity, middle schoolers read a dialogue aloud in pairs. Student A will ask a question about the media, and Student B gives the answer.
Chicago Tribune vs. US (1942): When Does Freedom of the Press Go Too Far?
Students define freedom of the press in peace and war time. As a class, they identify the need for the public to be informed, but discuss where the line should be drawn to protect national security. They develop their arguments and participate in a mock trial simulation.
"Disapproved": Censorship of Film in Pennsylvania
Students examine censorship in the 1920 and 1930s. In this film censorship lesson students compose a summary chart of censorship items.
Censorship and Hip Hop
Eleventh graders analyze censorship in the media and the impact it has on hip hop music. In this music censorship lesson, 11th graders research an online article about censorship and discuss it with their partner. Students write a review for the article and responses to the related questions.
"Disapproved": Censorship of Film in Pennsylvania
Students analyze primary source documents of the 1920s to find the roots of film censorship and understand Pennsylvania's leadership in this movement. They analyze government censorship documents that banned a film in Pennsylvania and compare and contrast their earlier findings to the modern-day rating system used for films.
Cartoons for the Classroom: China's Censorship
In this current events worksheet, students analyze a political cartoon about Chinese censorship and respond to 3 talking point questions.
Individual Rights vs. The Greater Good Within the Scope of War
When, if ever, is the government justified in restricting individual rights? When, if ever, should the "greater good" trump individual rights? To prepare to discuss this hot-button topic, class members examine primary source documents, including Abraham Lincoln's Proclamation suspending the Writ of Habeas Corpus, Supreme Court decisions, and Executive Order 9066. After an extended controversial issue discussion of the questions, individuals present their own stance through an argumentative essay supported by evidence drawn from the documents.
Harry Wu: Forced Labor
Over the course of two class periods, young historians explore human rights issues; specifically, forced labor in China. This resource provides everything you need, including relevant vocabulary, an anticipatory activity, and a small-group project. The entire class responds to preliminary questions to elicit prior knowledge and understanding of this issue, and then they watch a video clip of Harry Wu's "Speak Truth to Power" service announcement. Next, the class is divided into four groups and each assigned an aspect of Wu's experience to research. By the end of the second class period, each group must be prepared to share what they learned in a presentation (collage/poster, role-play, poem, PowerPoint, or song/rap). Not only is this a well-constructed plan, it addresses several Common Core standards and includes extension activities. Some elements are dated, but this does not impact its usefulness.
Who Was More American: Japanese-Americans Who Dissented Against Internment or Those that Supported the War Effort?
Was the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II constitutional? Who was more American: Japanese-Americans who dissented against the internment or those who supported the war effort? Class members do a close reading of primary and secondary source materials to prepare for a Socratic seminar on these questions. The packet includes a rich assortment of primary and secondary source documents.
A Wrinkle in Time: The Board Game
Tackle some big questions about A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle with a board game project. As learners brainstorm for and complete their board games, they consider what helps and hinders Meg on her journey and why she succeeds in the end. For their games, pupils must include specific settings from the story. Once completed, small groups play the games, paying attention to what their classmates included. A board template is provided, but not required.
New! Express Yourself Lesson Seed 3
If you're looking to set your class up for writing effective arguments, try out this idea. While originally created with freedom as a guiding idea, the activity could easily be adapted for other themes. As a class, create a chart of argument characteristics. Next, small groups read one of the two linked articles about video games and complete the included article analysis chart with details from the text. Wrap up by referring back to the characteristics and giving pupils time to write about the article they read.
Symbols and Words of Hate
“Learning to discuss. . . controversial topics in an open and respectful way is a key to ensuring a healthy classroom, school, and community.” Guided by this principle, this resource is structured with a series of exercises that asks class members to explore hate symbols and hate speech. Learners look at the historical significance and harmful effects of these words and symbols, examine the First Amendment and consider how it should apply, and set ground rules for discussing controversial topics “in an open and respectful way.”
Students and Freedom of Expression
Should schools restrict students' freedom of expression? Expert groups examine one of six primary source documents and then engage in a jigsaw discussion of this hot-button topic. Individuals then craft an expository essay, taking a position on the topic and citing evidence from the documents. A great way to prepare for the DBQ portion of the US history AP exam.
Collective Memory and the Re-imagining of Monuments
Using the variety of videos, articles, and other materials provided here, class members explore the importance of monuments, historical narratives, and shared memory. After reading and participating in a Socratic seminar, pupils choose a monument to research, write a paper about, and re-represent either with description or an actual physical product. An involved project that requires critical and creative historical thinking.
Short But Sweet
After analyzing and evaluating news summaries found in the New York Times "Week in Review" section, middle schoolers study the steps for summarizing a news article briefly and accurately. They write two news summaries: one on a newspaper article, and one on another type of informational text. A series of questions guides them through the summary process.
Dollars and Votes: 2012 Election
What comes to mind when learners think about campaign financing? They watch a video (linked) about the fundraising climate during the 2012 presidential election and discuss Super PACs and Supreme Court legislation as a group. Scholars focus on rhetorical device by listening to famous speeches and completing a graphic organizer on persuasive techniques. Next they view four Super PAC ads and complete an analysis of what they see. In a well-formed paragraph, researchers synthesize conclusions based on one of the ads. A rubric is included, and all worksheets are separated into middle school and high school levels. The informational text and resource links here are invaluable.
Cyberbullying: Effects on Teens Across the Nation
Free speech, privacy, and cyberbullying are the focus of a series of activities that cause class members to engage in discussions about these interrelated topics. They view a segment from PBS’s “Cyberbullying—Effects on Teens Across the Nation,” read articles about teens who committed suicide, and discuss the motivations of key players in several scenarios. A powerful topic sensitively handled.
New! The Spread of Enlightenment Ideas
Looking for a simple and straightforward reference on the Enlightenment for your young historians? Check out this list of key terms and important figures from the period, followed by a traditional assessment where your learners will be asked to match historical figures with their appropriate accomplishments and respond to brief constructed response questions. Finally, your class members will read an excerpt from Rousseau's The Social Contract and consider his argument against the use of force as a means of governance.
Was Congress’s Violation of the First Amendment During the McCarthy Era Justified?
“I have in my hand 57 cases of individuals who would appear to be either card carrying members or certainly loyal to the Communist Party. . .” Senator Joseph McCarthy certainly stirred the pot with his claims. The result was a series of legislative actions that put McCarthy in the spotlight and First Amendment rights in jeopardy. Was Congress’s violation of the First Amendment during the McCarthy Era justified? To prepare to respond to this guiding question, class members examine a series of primary source documents including the First Amendment, the Smith Act, and Joseph McCarthy’s speech delivered February, 1950, in Wheeling, West Virginia. After group and full-class discussions, individuals craft an essay using evidence drawn from the documents to support their argument.