For the last week of class, I delved into the First Amendment with an exercise in censorship. Students were to glance through a local newspaper and choose stories that were critical of the government, groups, etc. and cross out passages they deemed critical.
They were asked several questions as to why they chose that passage, what about that passage was critical, and several other questions. Then they were told they were actually participating in censorship. What was left the article after they censored passages? Not much.
I am not much into censorship, but it's important for students to know what it is when they see it. If someone asks them to "take out" something, don't do it unless it isn't factual. How would the reporter feel/react if they knew their story was being cut in the name of censorship? How would they feel if their work was being cut in the name of censorship.
I had a lot of fun developing lesson plans dealing with this subject. The most fun I have had is coming up with activities and lesson plans dealing with fake news. It's the hot-button subject item of the moment and for months, possibly years, to come.
I had a chance to use one of my lesson plan/activities with a pair of high school students. I wrote a couple of weeks ago about a Jeopardy-style game I created. The student came into the newspaper office as job shadows. It was an assignment for their class. They interviewed me for their half of the assignment, then I was to get them engaged in an activity for the second half (about an hour each). The kids really responded to the game unlike I had hoped. One of the students was really interested in the job shadow visit, while the other was, for a lack of a better description, less than enthused to be there. He was just there because he had to be. But when I introduced the game to them both, the uninterested student's participation level and enthusiasm skyrocketed.
I was pleased, to say the least.
It's been a great class - Social Role of the Media. I've learned a lot that I hope to put into practice.