Reflection: Relevance Argument Essay Prewriting - Section 4: Assign Essay Prompt


Some may wonder why the prompt is worded as "omitting" To Kill a Mockingbird instead of "banning," especially considering the unit my students explored about the practice of book banning prior to starting To Kill a Mockingbird (book banning lessons here, here, here, and here).

Here's my thinking:  If the question were to ban or not to ban, this would demand a focus on the controversies inherent in the book (such as the use of racial slurs and rape).  In order to successfully address such a prompt, my students would need to spend considerable time and effort addressing those topics, which could be deemed inappropriate for eighth grade.

Thus, by presenting the possibility of the book simply being omitted from required reading lists, my students are free to approach the many lessons inherent in the book instead of being relegated to addressing the controversial topics.  Students, of course, may still decide to include the controversies in their essays, but this will be their choice as opposed to it being the requirement.

  Omitted, Not Banned
  Relevance: Omitted, Not Banned
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Argument Essay Prewriting

Unit 13: To Kill A Mockingbird Part III
Lesson 4 of 10

Objective: SWBAT brainstorm lessons learned from reading To Kill a Mockingbird as a prewriting exercise for an argument essay.

Big Idea: Students explore how a book can stay with them for the rest of their lives.

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