Censorship Teacher Resources
Find Censorship educational ideas and activities
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In this media read aloud activity, students read a dialogue aloud in pairs. Student A will ask a question about the media, and Student B gives the answer.
In this primary source analysis worksheet, students analyze political cartoons with anti-war messages and respond to 5 talking point questions.
Approach censorship through the controversy of the Syrian government's violence against kidnapped cartoonist Ali Ferzat. Background information gives learners context of the issue, and a link offers further media coverage of the event. Three talking points encourage deeper thinking in analyzing a political cartoon, as well as the inherent controversy and value of political cartoons. More cartoons on this issue are linked for an extension opportunity.
Students examine censorship in the 1920 and 1930s. For this film censorship lesson students compose a summary chart of censorship items.
Eleventh graders analyze censorship in the media and the impact it has on hip hop music. For 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.
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.
In this current events activity, students analyze a political cartoon about Chinese censorship and respond to 3 talking point questions.
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.
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.
“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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Whether new to teaching The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn or an experienced pro, you’ll find useful resources in this teacher’s guide. The 40-page packet includes background information, historical context, an annotated list of characters, a synopsis of the novel, discussion questions, a list of significant quotations, and activities for each block of chapters, writing prompts, and a detailed list of group and individual project ideas. Lists of works of art, music, and film that can be used to create a context for the novel are also included in the packet. The resource would make a powerful addition to your curriculum library.
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.
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.
“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.
Here’s a hugely important video that is difficult to understand and impossible to show in most classrooms. “China is complicated,” says Michael Anti, a Chinese blogger. Anti takes viewers behind the Chinese Internet firewall, to reveal two Internets: the global one we are familiar with, and the Chinese version of the Internet. Anti calls the Chinese Internet the Chinanet, and it here that the fight between government censorship and individual freedom rages. A fascinating look at the workings of a very complex culture.