Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Considering Identity (created by Beth Day, Furman University)

Considering Identity

American Born Chinese, Gene Luen Yang (graphic novel)

Supplemented by:

Anne Frank's Diary, Anne Frank

Number the Stars, Louis Lowry

Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry, Mildred Taylor

The Wringer, Jerry Spinelli

Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan

Essential Questions: What does it mean to have an identity? What is your identity? What does it mean to fit in or to be an outsider?


· Identity through

· culture

· gender

· friends

· family

· religion

· Bullying


· The teacher and class begin reading American Born Chinese as a class.

· Each day, the teacher poses one question about the text, and encourages the students to pose questions as well.

· The teacher allows students to choose a novel to supplement American Born Chinese, to be read at home or in provided free reading time.

· The teacher is prepared to help the students draw connections between the texts, and helps facilitate classroom discussions based around how the characters are outsiders and concerned with identity.

· The teacher is also prepared for the possibility of students who have been bullied responding to these texts by sharing their experiences. The teacher may bring in a school counselor to address bullying in relation to the texts, or use other available bullying-prevention tools provided at their school.

· The teacher has, if possible, arranged a video conference online (using a program like Skype) with students from another culture. This will allow students to talk to students from a very different culture (as you can Skype with people around the world) and learn from students' their own age, as well as hopefully increasing a respect for people different than themselves.

Student Products:

· Students begin by reading American Born Chinese with their teacher in the classroom and at home.

· Eventually, the supplemental books are introduced, and for homework, students come up with questions from their reading.

· Students interview friends and family about incidences in which they have felt like and outsider and instances in which they have fit in. Students then write about incidences in their own lives.

· Students respond to online prompts in time provided in media labs at school. These prompts could be on any variety of topics related to the texts and classroom discussions. The change in medium for response provides students that don't usually respond in class a chance to voice their thoughts, and allows the students an opportunity to plan, revise, and edit their contributions before submitting them.

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