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Lesson plan: Week 1 Day 1, Introduction to Lani Garver

Objectives: By the end of class today, students will:

• have a greater understanding of the themes and issues we will be discussing throughout
the course of the unit
• develop prediction skills with the Prologue read-along activity
• begin to explore the differences between stereotypes and gender identity and its
implications in the real world

Materials needed:

• class set of What Happened to Lani Garver? by Carol Plum-Ucci


• Prologue read-along activity and Claire’s identity worksheets
• White board and marker to write themes during large group discussion

Activities

Attention getter (5 minutes)


• Show class a 30 second Animoto animation containing major themes of the text: identity,
stereotypes, gender roles/identity
• Quick write about what they saw, what do you think the text we’re about to read may be
about?
• Large group discussion, what did you see in the attention getter?
• Collect quick write

Pass out books/worksheets (3 minutes)


• Get three student helpers to assist me in passing out books
• I will pass out the Prologue read-along activity worksheet
• Direct all attention to worksheet

Prologue read-along activity (20 minutes)


• Go through worksheet with students, ask if there are questions
• Have students following along as they read and adding to the “while you’re reading”
section of the worksheet
• Read the prologue aloud with appropriate dramatic emphasis
• Allow students to finish the “after you’ve read” section of the worksheet
• Class discussion about what they think might happen next (What is the effect of knowing
what will happen before the story begins? What do we know? What don’t we know?
What do you think might happen in the novel?)
• Pass out Claire’s identity worksheet
Claire’s identity worksheet (10 minutes)
• Emphasize that this is a recurring worksheet that we will work on after every section of
new reading
• Have students fill out the “where she starts” portion of worksheet
• Place identity worksheet in class folder with their name on it
Begin reading chapters 1-5 (remainder of class)
• Allow students to read silently until the bell, let them get into the book so they’re more
inclined to read for homework
• Homework for Monday: read chapters 1-5

Assessment of lesson plan goals


• Assess understanding of larger themes by collecting quick writes from attention getter
and making sure there are no questions about the themes before moving on from the large
group discussion.
• Assess development of prediction skills by circulating while students complete
worksheet, asking scaffolding questions during large group discussion, and ensuring that
everyone has a chance to participate in large group prediction. Emphasize that prediction
is a great reading strategy to help keep you actively engaged in what you’re reading and it
minimizes the time spent re-reading passages.
• Assessment of understanding of difference between gender stereotypes and gender
identity is a recurring theme throughout the unit and will be checked with multiple
assignments and activities. Informal assessment through class circulation and discussion
is enough at this time.

Standards

NCTE #5
ISBE #1 C 3d
Lesson Plan: Week 1 Day 3, Gender expectations, Character
map, and popularity

Objectives: By the end of class today, students will:

• have a greater understanding of gender as a social construct


• be able to create and use a character map showing relationships between
characters
• have a greater understanding of the difference between popularity and being
secure in one’s identity

Materials:
• Slideshow of photos of androgynous/cross dressing men and women mixed with
mainstream images of men as masculine and women as feminine
• Chart paper and markers to create a character map and chart popularity vs.
security

Activities:

Gender Expectations Slideshow (20 minutes)


• Brainstorm on the board what characteristics are stereotypically masculine and
feminine; how do you know someone is male or female?
• Read aloud Claire’s first encounter with Lani: why can’t she decide if he’s male
or female? Discuss how male does not equal masculine, nor does female equal
feminine
• Have students take out paper and something to write with and number the sheet 1-
10. Tell them they will have five seconds to look at each picture and then write
down whether the person is male or female
• Go through the slideshow again revealing the answers about the models
• Which men are feminine? Which women are masculine? Why did you think these
things? Discuss

Character Map (15 minutes)


• Draw a line dividing the page in half vertically. Label the top of the left side
“Hackett” and the other side “Outside world”
• Call on students to add characters to the map and connect them to other characters
with their relationships
• How many relationships cross the line of Hackett/Outside world? Is this
dangerous? Predict what might happen to those with lines outside of Hackett.
Popularity vs. self identity (10 minutes)
• Break class into two groups, one group make list of characters that are popular,
one make list of characters that are secure in their self identities
• Come back to large group, make Venn Diagram on chart paper of results. Does
anyone overlap? What can we expect to see change throughout the novel? Are
there any “popular” people who are sure of themselves? Who? Which of these
characters would you most like to be? Discuss until bell

Assessment of lesson plan goals


• Assess understanding of gender as a social construct in discussion after the
slideshow, and the next day with the box activity.
• Assess knowledge of use of character map by large group discussion and
checking for comprehension before moving on
• Assess understanding of popularity vs. security in identity by circulating during
small group work time and in large group effort to make Venn diagram, which
will be used and changed in later lessons.

Standards

NCTE #1
ISBE #1 C 3c
ISBE #1 B 3a
Lesson plan: Lani Garver Week 1 Day 4, Box Activity

Objectives: By the end of class today, students will:

• have a greater understanding of stereotypes and the dangers that come with them
• have a greater understanding of gender as a social construct
• be able to recognize the difference between describing someone and labeling
them

Materials:

• Student copies of Lani Garver


• Cards with descriptions of characters from the novel
• Boxes with different labels on them
• “When I was a Boy” by Dar Williams w/ lyrics sheets
• Stereo

Activities

Song activity (20 minutes)


• Pass out lyrics sheet as students walk into class
• Tell students to listen to the song and follow along with the lyrics as it plays
• Have students free write ideas about the song, how they felt about it, if they can
identify, etc. in large group discussion

Box Activity (20 mintues)


• Have students turn to page 45 and read aloud until “I supposed he was trying to
tell me that I was using boxes again. I kept quiet.” (46)
• Large group discussion: what does Lani mean by boxes?
• Pull out boxes labeled boy, girl, young, old, genius, popular, dork, gay, and
straight
• Read aloud from character cards the top section, don’t let students see the second
half of the cards and have students decide which box each person belongs in
• After all are sorted, have students pull out cards and read the rest of it. What parts
of people are ignored if we put them in only one box?
• Discuss difference between description and stereotypes, i.e. “You are an
intelligent person” vs. “You must be a genius” or “You are attracted to members
of the same sex” vs. “You’re just some gay kid.”

Reflection (5 minutes)
• Have students choose a box and write a paragraph about what happens to the
people placed in it. Brainstorm ideas on how to change these stereotypes.
Paragraph will be due the next day.

Assessment of Lesson Plan Goals


• Assess understanding of stereotypes informally through large group discussion
and comprehension checks; assess personal understanding through paragraph due
the next day
• Assess idea of gender as a social construct informally through discussion and later
gender bias paragraph that is due, which has a research component.
• Assess idea of description vs. labeling in large group discussion and personal
paragraph due the next day.

Standards

NCTE #1
NCTE #2
Lesson plan: Week 2 Day 4, Teaching confessional poetry
with Lani Garver

Objectives: By the end of class today, students will:

• have a greater understanding of the term catharsis and its literary history
• have a greater understanding of confessional poetry and how it has impacted
writing today
• be able to creatively apply knowledge of catharsis and confessional poetry to a
character in the novel or their own life

Materials:
• Catharsis/confessional poetry PowerPoint
• Handout of Sylvia Plath’s poem “Mad Girl’s Love Song”
• Song “The Night” by Disturbed
• Handout of lyrics to “The Night”
• Speakers

Activities

Song activity (10 minutes)


• Pass out lyrics worksheet, have students listen to the song while they read along
• Take two minutes to brainstorm ideas of theme, similarities to Claire, what
purpose could it serve, etc.
• Discuss song, transition to ideas of catharsis and confessional poetry

Catharsis and confessional poetry slideshow (10 minutes)


• Go over history of catharsis from Greek theatre, Oedipus plot overview, ask for
examples of other texts that use catharsis to check for comprehension
• Go over history of confessional poetry in America in 1950-60s, discuss how it
changed poetry forever, discuss legacy of this in both contemporary poetry and
prose
• Brief bio of Sylvia Plath to transition into poem

Plath’s “Mad Girl’s Love Song” compare and contrast (15 minutes)
• Break students into small groups of five
• Read poem in small groups, compare and contrast to Claire and her basement
lyrics
• What of Plath’s life is in her poetry? What of Claire’s life is in her lyrics? What
elements are cathartic?
• Come back to large group and discuss, check for comprehension

Cathartic/confessional poetry assignment (10 minutes)


• Introduce assignment, tell students they can write from a character’s point of view
or their own and write a confessional poem
• Allow students to work on poem for remainder of class, due in class the next day

Assessment of Lesson Plan Goals


• Assess understanding of catharsis and its literary history informally in class
discussion and also through circulation during small group exploration of Plath
• Assess understanding of confessional poetry and its impact on modern poetry and
prose informally in class discussion and through circulation during small group
exploration of Plath
• Assess ability to creatively express catharsis and confessional poetry in personal
poem that is due the next class

Standards

NCTE #1
Lesson plan: Week 4 Day 4, Teaching close reading with
Lani Garver debate

Objectives: By the end of class today, students will

• have a greater understanding of close reading skills through the debate assignment
• be able to form their own opinion about the end of the novel/what happens to Lani’s
character
• develop paper outlining skills using the thesis “Lani Garver is/is not a floating angel as
evidenced by ________, ________, and ________.”

Materials needed:

• copies of Lani Garver debate worksheets


• student copies of text

Activities

Define close reading (10 minutes)


• Ask students if anyone can define close reading
• Elaborate on student answer/explain to students the definition of close reading
• Choose a passage and close read it as a large group, check for comprehension

Explain debate assignment (15 minutes)


• Go over formal outline format on the board, check for comprehension
• Introduce debate: students will be placed in a group, one arguing that Lani is a
floating angel, one arguing that Lani is not a floating angel. Students will have to
come up with a formal outline for their debate as though it were a paper with at
least three pieces of evidence. Students in each group can then decide amongst
themselves which students will close read and find examples for which piece of
evidence.
• Break students into groups

Work on outline/debate (rest of class)


• Circulate around the classroom and offer help to both sides if necessary
• Look for outline completion before students begin close reading work

Assessment of Lesson Plan Goals


• Assess student understanding of close reading skills in large group discussion and
in circulating around the class after they have developed their formal outlines.
• Assess formation of personal ideas in part through circulation in the classroom,
but also later on when students turn in their personal reflection of their work in
the debate.
• Assess development of paper writing skills/outlining by ensuring that no student
moves on to close reading and finding evidence until the outline has been
approved by me.

Standards

NCTE # 3
Claire’s Identity Worksheet

We will use this sheet as we go through Lani Garver to track Claire’s growth and
development as a character.

Where she starts:

Write two sentences about what we know about Claire’s past to this point.

Write three adjectives that you think describe Claire at this point.

How do you think Claire will change throughout the novel? What are you basing this on?
Reference at least two specific plot points from this section that you think will have an
impact on Claire as a character.
Chapters 6-11

Write two sentences about what we know about Claire’s past to this point.

Write three adjectives that you think describe Claire at this point.

How do you think Claire will change throughout the novel? What are you basing this on?
Reference at least two specific plot points from this section that you think will have an
impact on Claire as a character.
Chapters 12-18:

Write two sentences about what we know about Claire’s past to this point.

Write three adjectives that you think describe Claire at this point.

How do you think Claire will change throughout the novel? What are you basing this on?
Reference at least two specific plot points from this section that you think will have an
impact on Claire as a character.
Chapters 19-26:

Write two sentences about what we know about Claire’s past to this point.

Write three adjectives that you think describe Claire at this point.

How do you think Claire will change throughout the novel? What are you basing this on?
Reference at least two specific plot points from this section that you think will have an
impact on Claire as a character.
Chapters 27-33:

Looking back on what you’ve written, how has Claire developed as a character? Did you
like her better then or now? How has she changed? Who do you think she will associate
with now? Write a paragraph to summarize the changes Claire has undergone in this
novel, and what you think about them.
Lani Garver Final Project
Creative Assessment
We have discussed many different topics throughout this unit, many of them
controversial, and this is your time to make your personal voice heard and tell us where
you stand on one of these issues. Choose a gender/identity stereotype from Lani
Garver and come up with a creative interpretation at least two minutes long, like
Claire and her song lyrics, to break down the stereotype or raise awareness of it. You
may also choose to make your creative interpretation more like the confessional poetry
we read and relate it to your life and your identity.
A list of topics we’ve discussed:

• Masculinity

• Femininity

• Sexual orientation

• Gender identity

• Age

• Popularity

• Depression

• Eating disorders

• Hazing/bullying
You may also choose your own topic from the text so long as you clear it with me first.
Your creative interpretation should be in the form of a song, poem, rap, dramatic
monologue, or other artistic representation. You may also choose another medium so
long as you clear it with me first.
Reflection
Along with your creative assessment, you will write a 3-4 page reflection where you
discuss your thoughts on the issue you’ve chosen and how your creative assessment
relates to the action in the novel. This is not a formal paper, you are allowed to use the
first person, but you should still be quoting from the text. The reflection is due on the
day you present.
Grading
Creative assessment: 50 points

• Relevance to novel: 20 points

• Creativity: 10 points

• Clear presentation: 10 points

• Time requirement: 10 points


Reflection: 50 points

• Relevance to novel/quotations: 20 points

• Understanding of issue: 10 points

• Organization: 10 points

• Reflection of self: 10 points


Total: 100 points
Lani Garver Debate

Is Lani really dead? Is he a fallen angel? Is it all just a convenient recollection? These
are some questions that are raised by the end of Lani Garver, and we will be debating
the ending in class in lieu of a formal paper. You will use your close reading skills to
build an argument centered around the following thesis “Lani Garver is/is not a fallen
angel as evidenced by __________, ____________, and ___________.” You will be
broken up into two groups, and in those groups you must make a formal outline, as you
would for a paper, and then support each point with the text.
You may not move on to close reading and preparation until I have approved your
outline. You must have at least three strong points to argue or I will consider your
outline incomplete.

Grading

• Participation in group: 5 points

• Completed and approved outline: 5 points

• Personal reflection: 10 points

• Performance/contribution in debate: 10 points


Total: 30 points
Mad Girl’s Love Song by Sylvia Plath

I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead;


I lift my lids and all is born again.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

The stars go waltzing out in blue and red,


And arbitrary blackness gallops in:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I dreamed that you bewitched me into bed


And sung me moon-struck, kissed me quite insane.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

God topples from the sky, hell's fires fade:


Exit seraphim and Satan's men:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I fancied you'd return the way you said,


But I grow old and I forget your name.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

I should have loved a thunderbird instead;


At least when spring comes they roar back again.
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)
Confessional Poetry Info

Confessional poetry is the poetry of the personal or "I." This style of writing emerged in the
late 1950s and early 1960s and is associated with poets such as Robert Lowell, Sylvia Plath,
Anne Sexton, and W.D. Snodgrass. Lowell's book Life Studies was a highly personal account
of his life and familial ties, and had a significant impact on American poetry. Plath and
Sexton were both students of Lowell and noted that his work influenced their own writing.

The confessional poetry of the mid-twentieth century dealt with subject matter that
previously had not been openly discussed in American poetry. Private experiences with and
feelings about death, trauma, depression and relationships were addressed in this type of
poetry, often in an autobiographical manner. Sexton in particular was interested in the
psychological aspect of poetry, having started writing at the suggestion of her therapist.

The confessional poets were not merely recording their emotions on paper; craft and
construction were extremely important to their work. While their treatment of the poetic self
may have been groundbreaking and shocking to some readers, these poets maintained a
high level of craftsmanship through their careful attention to and use of prosody.

One of the most well-known poems by a confessional poet is "Daddy" by Sylvia Plath.
Addressed to her father, the poem contains references to the Holocaust but uses a sing-
song rhythm that echoes the nursery rhymes of childhood:

Daddy, I have had to kill you.


You died before I had time--
Marble-heavy, a bag full of God,
Ghastly statue with one gray toe
Big as a Frisco seal
Another confessional poet of this generation was John Berryman. His major work was The
Dream Songs, which consists of 385 poems about a character named Henry and his friend
Mr. Bones. Many of the poems contain elements of Berryman's own life and traumas, such
as his father's suicide. Below is an excerpt from "Dream Song 1":

All the world like a woolen lover


once did seem on Henry's side.
Then came a departure.
Thereafter nothing fell out as it might or ought.
I don't see how Henry, pried
open for all the world to see, survived.
The confessional poets of the 1950s and 1960s pioneered a type of writing that forever
changed the landscape of American poetry. The tradition of confessional poetry has been a
major influence on generations of writers and continues to this day; Marie Howe and Sharon
Olds are two contemporary poets whose writing largely draws upon their personal
experience.

Assessment of Lani Garver Unit


Reading quizzes: 10 points each, 50 total
Box paragraph: 20 points

• Understanding of concepts in box activity: 10 points

• Original ideas: 10 points


Gender bias paragraph: 25 points

• Research: 10 points

• Original ideas: 10 points

• Works cited: 5 points


Confessional poems: 20 points

• Creativity: 10 points

• Understanding of concepts in confessional poetry: 10 points


First person narrative scene: 30 points

• Creativity: 5 points

• Mimic style of author: 5 points

• Organization: 10 points

• Voice of character: 10 points

• Use of first person narrative: 10 points


Awareness poster: 25 points

• Creativity: 10 points

• Message: 10 points
• Organization: 5 points
Debate: 30 points

• Participation in group: 5 points

• Completed and approved outline: 5 points

• Personal reflection: 10 points

• Performance/contribution in debate: 10 points


Final project: 100 points

• Creative performance: 50 points

• Reflection: 50 points
Total for unit: 300 points

Liana Alcantara
Hilarie Welsh
CI 402
21 April 2011

Unit Plan Rationale

My unit is based around the theme of identity, more specifically how to deal with

identities outside the socially accepted norm. The specific identities we will discuss center

around sexual orientation, gender identification, and popular vs. unpopular. I have chosen Carol

Plum Ucci’s What Happened to Lani Garver? as the main text for this unit, though I will be

supplementing it with an excerpt from Jeanette Winterson’s Sexing the Cherry, a song by Dar

Williams called “When I Was a Boy”, and other identity poems/spoken word pieces we find as a

class throughout the unit.

I could have used many texts for a unit about identity, but I chose Lani Garver because of

its universality of theme. While it deals with potentially volatile topics such as sexual orientation
and gender identity, it does so in a way that makes students really examine whether these things

matter or not. A brief plot summary may help explain. The novel starts with us being told that

Lani was killed by a group of his fellow students because they thought he was gay, and his friend

Claire is the narrator of the story. She is in remission for leukemia, but she’s afraid she may have

relapsed. Lani comes to town and no one is quite sure whether he’s a boy or a girl, but he

befriends Claire and takes her to get tested for a relapse at a city hospital, and from there their

friendship strengthens as Lani helps Claire through her issues. Meanwhile, a bunch of boys from

the small town start harassing Lani because they think he’s gay, although this is never explicitly

said in the novel. In fact, it’s never said whether Lani is gay, straight, male, female, or even

human, as Claire starts to think that he might be what a nurse of hers called a floating angel, one

that doesn’t fight but floats from person to person that needs them, and leaves when they’re not

needed anymore.

With all of this going on, it’s pretty clear why I chose Lani Garver. Lani has a very telling

moment in the novel where Claire doesn’t know what or who he is and is trying to categorize

him, and he accuses her of trying to put her in a box. He points out that gay, straight, genius, and

many other labels are boxes to put people in, and they can be harmful. This is what I want my

students to understand: the harm in labeling everyone we meet. Boxing people up can perpetuate

prejudice and create awful situations like what happens to Lani in the text, but if we look at

people as individual people, we are much less likely to categorize and more likely to understand

a person as they truly are.

As for why I chose this unit for this classroom and these students, it’s precisely because

these issues are universal. I could teach this unit with any class because the topics are important

for every student to learn. More specifically to my students, the novel is not a difficult reading
level, and it goes very quickly. I’ve broken up the novel into five chunks that each leave off at a

bit of a cliffhanger, hopefully to entice students into reading the whole book and not just relying

on classroom discussion. Also, I’ve spread this unit out over five weeks so that there isn’t more

than 70-100 pages due per week, which is perfectly manageable on top of assignments with what

has already been read and students’ other classes.

I think what this unit shows most about my educational philosophy is my great desire to

teach students more than English skills, but life skills in conjunction with them. The topics in this

novel are culturally relevant to our moment, though the novel itself is about ten years old now,

and I truly believe that the discussions we will have based on this novel are discussions that my

students will be having for the rest of their lives. Some of the issues in the novel are highly

controversial, and I also feel that it is important to expose students to these issues in a place

where we can learn and debate simultaneously, so when they have these debates later in life, they

have knowledge to back it up.

Goals for the unit:

1) Students will have a better understanding of identity, both mainstream and otherwise.

2) Students will be more knowledgeable about issues of bullying and hazing based on

difference in sexual orientation or gender identity.

3) Students will brainstorm personal ideas about how to end discrimination based on issues

of identity and will be able to present these ideas in a creative way.

4) Students will have a better understanding of close reading through the debate assignment.

5) Students will have a better understanding of first person narrative, point of view, and

confessional poetry through writing assignments throughout the unit.