You know what I really hate?

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SWBAT develop ideas, build consensus, and develop propaganda to support their "cause."

Big Idea

To understand the roots of censorship, students should probe their own preferences and prejudices.

Latin Roots Warm Up

10 minutes

This is our daily warm up, wherein students work with two or three Latin roots per day.  The resource that I use to get my roots is Perfection Learning's Everyday Words from Classic Origins.

Every day, when the students arrive, I have two Latin roots on the SmartBoard.  Their job is to generate as many words as they can that contain the roots, and they try to guess what the root means.  After I give them about five minutes, we share words and I tell them what the root means.

The students compile these daily activities in their class journals.  After every twelve roots, they take a test on the roots themselves and a set of words that contains them.

Opening Question

10 minutes

To kick off this lesson, I ask students to make a list of the things they really hate.  Hate, of course, is a strong word, but I ask them not to focus on people (though celebrities, bands, and television shows are allowed) but instead on those things that they would avoid, if they could.  

While they were writing, I am writing my list and projecting it on the smart board.  I start with "tomatoes" and move on to "slow walkers, the Disney Channel, waiting in line at the grocery store," etc.  The kids really get into this and they are scribbling away.  I give them five minutes.  Almost everyone finishes with a healthy list, and some will go onto second pages.  Then, I ask if students want to share.

Inevitably, when someone is sharing out, there is some student in the class who is visibly outraged "How can someone hate chocolate milk?!?!" (This is part of my evil plan: I want kids to realize the dangers of allowing personal preferences and prejudices to shape policy.)



Working with the Ideas

30 minutes

After we hear from many students (only the ones who offer to share,) I tell students that they have five minutes to build a coalition of like-minded individuals.  This means that they have to find as many people as they can who want to "ban" their loathed item.  This causes chaos, but students quickly find each other and group up.

Once they have located those people, they have 15 minutes to prepare a poster (I use 11 by 14 paper for this), complete with slogan and symbol and prep for a quick, improvised presentation.

What am I looking for?  I am looking for passionate presentations, and I am curious about who will back up his claim with evidence.  Part of this book banning lesson is about how it's wrong to ban something, just because you don't like it.  But that's what happens all the time, when people challenge library and school books.

After a brief preparation time, students present their posters to the class.

Looking ahead

5 minutes

Before we wrap up for the day, I ask the students this question...

So, today we have had some fun talking about things we would banish from the face of the earth, if we could.  But, seriously...

Is there ever a good reason to ban a book?  

While the connection to what we are doing in class is obvious to the observer, I don't make the connections for the kids.  I ask them to respond "exit ticket style" in their notebooks and we will take up the question tomorrow.