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Program in the Humanities

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

CK12 News | September


Featured Curriculum

READ-STRICTED: Get ready for Banned Books Week!

“Having the freedom to read and the freedom to choose is one of the best gifts my parents ever gave me.” Judy Blume

Banned Books Week (September 25 – October 1, 2016) is the national book community’s annual celebration of the freedom to read. Banned Books Week was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. More than 11,300 books have been challenged since 1982 according to the American Library Association. There were 311 challenges reported to the Office of Intellectual Freedom in 2014, and many more go unreported.

Find engaging lessons and activity ideas below. You’ll also find a special opportunity to receive FREE CLASS SETS of Banned Books Trading Cards from the Chapel Hill Public Library (only while supplies last!)

Celebrate Banned Books in your classroom, media center, or schoolwide by utilizing some Carolina K-12’s Resources!

The Right to Read: Exploring Book Challenges and Bans and accompanying PPT

Every year, there are multiple attempts across the country to ban or restrict access to various books. Is this a violation of the First Amendment, or an example of community members exercising their First Amendment rights? In this lesson, students will learn about the First Amendment and explore how it plays a role in their freedom to read. Students will learn about various challenged and banned books and why they have been considered by some as inappropriate, as well as explore the history of book banning and censorship. This lesson culminates with a project in which students imagine that they are an artist who has been hired by the local library to create a set of trading cards representing challenged and/or banned books.

To Ban or Not to Ban the Invisible Man: A School Board Simulation

In September, 2013, the Randolph County School Board received a complaint from the mother of a high school junior regarding the book Invisible Man. The School Board initially voted to ban the book from the schools’ libraries and curriculum, but after public outcry, reversed the decision later the same month. In this lesson, students will explore themes of First Amendment rights and the freedom to read, while also gaining an active understanding of the roles of School Board members and the responsibilities of active community members, by participating in a School Board simulation where they grapple with the same choice: whether or not to ban Invisible Man.

Ideas for Celebrating Banned Books Week

This document contains lots of ideas that can be used to celebrate Banned Books Week, or integrated throughout the school year to ensure student understanding of the freedom to read. (For more information about Banned Books Week, go to or

***Creation of these resources was funded by the Freedom to Read Foundation’s Judith F. Krug Memorial Fund. For more information about the Freedom to Read Foundation, go to


Chapel Hill Public Library is able to send out FREE classroom sets of its 2015 Banned Books Trading Cards to educators across the state. If you’d like to order up to 30 sets of the cards (there are 7 different cards per set – click here to view the cards) for use in your classroom, contact Susan Maguire at Teachers will either need to pick up the sets, or if they are to be shipped, pay for the postage.

For those not able to pick up the cards, they can be mailed via media mail, which is around $2.61 per 30 sets of cards. This Library will generate a Paypal invoice for teachers paying for shipping.

To order the cards, e-mail the following information with the subject line REQUESTING BANNED BOOKS TRADING CARDS:

  • Name
  • School
  • Shipping Address (including city and ZIP code)
  • Email address
  • Number of card sets desired (teachers can request up to 30 sets; each set contains 7 different banned books cards)
  • NOTE WHETHER YOU WANT TO PICK UP THE CARDS OR PAY FOR SHIPPING (The cost to mail 30 sets of the cards is $2.61. Upon receiving and paying the invoice for shipping, the card sets will be mailed to the shipping address provided.)

These trading cards can be used in combination with Carolina K-12’s lesson plans on banned books, can be used as banned books teaching tools, or make great giveaways for students during Banned Books Week! Electronic images of this year’s trading cards (as well as sets from previous years) are available on the Chapel Hill Public Library’s website.  (If you are in the Chapel Hill area, an exhibit of all of the entries for this project will be on display in the Library during Banned Books Week and will remain on display through October.)

Ideas for utilizing Banned Books Trading cards are available in the Consortium’s Ideas for Celebrating Banned Books Week” and The Right to Read: Exploring Book Challenges and Bans.

If you have any questions about the Banned Books Trading Card project or have trouble placing your order, please contact, Susan Brown at

Other websites to consult for information and resources on the freedom to read include:

American Library Association –
The ALA offers information about banned and challenged books, including definitions and lists of frequently challenged books and authors. A timeline, 30 Years of Liberating Literature, is available at

Library of Congress: 
The Library offers a Books That Shaped America online exhibit

National Coalition Against Censorship –
NCAC aims to educate and mobilize the community against acts of censorship. NCAC’s Youth Free Expression Program defends the rights of young people to explore, learn, and question. The Kids’ Right to Read Project, a key YFEP initiative, confronts challenges to books in schools and public libraries, advocates against book rating systems, and opposes censorship in school curricula. The site also offers timely articles on censorship and banned books (i.e.,, a First Amendment in the Schools Resource Guide ( and Myths of Banned Books Week (

School Library Journal
The SLJ offers ideas and resources for celebrating the right to read at and

Get Ready for the 2016 Elections 

Attention High School Civics Teachers:   The 2016 elections provide an amazing opportunity to teach your students one of the most valuable lessons they will learn in their high school careers: how to be a thoughtful, educated and active member of their democracy.  First Vote NC (formally Kids Voting NC), in partnership with Carolina K-12 (formerly the NC Civic Education Consortium) and EdNC, is launching a project-based, student-led, and standards-aligned initiative that will energize your students to become civically engaged! First Vote will provide:

  • An online voter platform, designed by EdNC

This customizable platform will allow all students to participate in mock federal, state and local elections, as well as participate in an exit poll and answer issue-based questions. The online platform will be easily customizable by your school, and all that is needed to participate is internet access. Election results and exit poll responses will be available immediately following the election.  Results will be provided and able to be filtered not only by individual schools, but by other schoolwide demographic information as well.  

  • Accompanying lesson plans and activities, created by Carolina K-12 (formerly the NC Civic Education Consortium)

Carolina K-12 will provide numerous lessons and activities, aligned to the Essential Standards for American History: Founding Principles, Civics, and Economics. These resources will provide activities for implementing the First Vote program into your classroom, as well as academic content about democracy, voting, and the electoral process. The materials are designed so that teachers can implement as much or as little as their time allows. Can your school participate in the online voter simulation without doing any of the lessons? Sure. Can you utilize the lessons without participating in the online vote? Yes. But the far better option is to try and plan for both!

All of this is being offered free-of-charge. We hope you will bring this nonpartisan resource to your high school campus this fall! Sign up today for First Vote: The final program and resources will then be provided to you via e-mail upon their completion this month!

Current Opportunities

1. Attend a Humanities Seminar at a Discount
Our parent organization, the UNC Program in the Humanities, has a fantastic line up of weekend seminars this fall. The best part is that they love teachers as much as we do!
To show their appreciation for everything that you do, teachers receive: a 50% tuition discount on all Adventures in Ideas Weekend Seminars, 1.0 CEU credits, AND a $75 travel stipend (currently employed full-time teachers, librarians, and administrators in K-12 public and private schools and community colleges are eligible for one stipend a semester). Unlike Carolina K-12 events, these lectures do not come with lesson plans, but they’re still a great way to acquire content knowledge. Click the titles below for more information about each seminar:
Jesus Before the Gospels: Distorted Memory and the Historical Jesus – September 16-17
An Encore Seminar featuring Distinguished Scholar Seminar Bart Ehrman
World War II’s Important but Forgotten Battles – October 15
A Distinguished Scholar Seminar featuring Gerhard L. Weinberg
History, Social Commentary, and Arthur Miller’s The Crucible – October 22, 2016
In collaboration with the PlayMakers Repertory Company’s production of The Crucible
Innovation in the Renaissance and Early Modern Europe October 29
The Art of Science and the Science of Art November 18-19
A Special Seminar celebrating Joel Kingsolver 

2. Holocaust Speakers Bureau Launches a New App

The Center for Holocaust, Genocide and Human Rights Education for North Carolina (Holocaust Speakers Bureau) assists North Carolina educators and organizations with teaching the challenging topics of the Holocaust, genocide, tolerance, and human rights. They offer free short documentaries of North Carolina based Holocaust survivors, as well as accompanying lesson plans designed by Carolina K-12 (formerly the NC Civic Education Consortium.) View the short films and lesson plans here:

Recently, the Holocaust Speakers Bureau has launched a new mobile app to be used in conjunction with survivor presentations and/or their films. The app features a “Stories” section, which gives insight into each survivor’s life and struggles throughout the Holocaust, as well as a “Map” section, which gives a geographical view into the survivor’s journeys to freedom and safety. There is also a “Timeline” section providing chronological perspective on the historical events of the Holocaust as they connect to and the survivor’s personal events. Also included is a “Discover” section, in which contemporary human rights violations are featured in order to highlight the injustices that occur today. Check out the following link to download the app for free on iTunes for either your iPhone or iPad:  

3. Amazing Webinars from the National Humanities Center
Since 1978, the National Humanities Center is the only independent research institute in the world dedicated exclusively to the humanities.  Their work in education and outreach aims to leverage this scholarship to build a deeper understanding of best practices in teaching and learning in the K-16 classroom.

This year, they’re hosting the fabulous America in Class webinar series. Each week starting in October, they will introduce a leading scholar to discuss and share insights on a compelling topic in the humanities.  Supported with text recommendations and primary source collections, each session also identifies inquiry-based strategies for introducing these concepts to younger students.

Some highlights include:

  • Rock and Roll and American Fiction of the 1950s – October 4; 7:00-8:30pm
  • Rushmore Series: Washington as Leader, Jefferson as Leader, Lincoln as Leader – October 6, October 11, November 17; 7:00-8:30pm
  • Gender in Antebellum African American Autobiographies – November 10; 7:00 – 8:30pm

For a full schedule and to register, visit:

Each webinar is 90-minutes long, and all registration fees are waived for teachers by using the promo code NHCED.  CEU credit is available upon completion.  Virtual seats are limited, however, so early registration is strongly encouraged.  We also can create a group registration with interested districts or schools.

Keep your ears to the ground because the NHC will be announcing several new projects in the coming months that recruit and assemble humanities educators from across the country to work closely with NHC scholars and staff on curriculum design and innovative technology.  Their goal is to support teacher agency – and to build a strong network community of humanities advocates.

4. Apply to attend Middle East PD in Western NC for FREE
Date: October 14-16, 2016
Deadline: September 15
The Duke-UNC Consortium for Middle East Studies offers two travel grants for NC educators to attend the fall meeting of SERMEISS (Southeast Regional Middle East and Islamic Studies Seminar) at the beautiful Valle Crucis Conference Center in Banner Elk, NC. SERMEISS is a professional society for educators whose common connection is the study or teaching of some aspect of the Middle East or Muslim World. The academic conference is small, very welcoming, and addresses all sorts of topics related to Middle East and Islamic Studies. Also, it’s in a GREAT location! This is a GREAT opportunity for you to be a student for the weekend! Grants allow teachers to go for FREE and are open to secondary education instructors. Deadline for applications is Sept 15. Visit for more info. For the application, visit and scroll to SERMEISS TRAVEL GRANT for more information, or email me at
5. It's Not to Early to Register for the 2017 NCCSS Conference 
Date & Location: March 2-3; Greensboro, NC
It’s not too early to begin thinking about registering for the 2017 NCCSS Conference in Greensboro, March 2-3. Teachers LOVED last year’s conference and this one is sure to be even better!
Get those PD fund requests in before it’s too late! Register here:

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