Launching the Module: Identity and Transformation: Then and Now | EL Education Curriculum

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ELA 2012 G7:M2B:U1:L1

Launching the Module: Identity and Transformation: Then and Now

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Long Term Learning Targets

  • I can determine the central idea of a text. (RI.7.2)

Supporting Targets

  • I can make inferences about the central idea of Nadia's Hands.
  • I can build a working definition of identity. 

Ongoing Assessment

  • Identity journals
  • Identity anchor chart
  • External Identity mind map
  • Internal Identity mind map
  • Reader's Notes: Not Much, Just Chillin': The Hidden Lives of Middle Schoolers, pages 105-106

Agenda

AgendaTeaching Notes

1.  Opening

     A.  Identity Entry Task/Unpacking Learning Targets (5 minutes)

2.  Work Time

     A.  Nadia's Hands (10 minutes)

     B.  Who Am I on the Outside? External Identity (12 minutes)

     C.  Who Am I on the Inside? Internal Identity (12 minutes)

3.  Closing and Assessment

     A.  Revising Identity Anchor Chart and Reviewing Learning Targets (6 minutes)

4.  Homework

     A.  Read the excerpt from Not Much, Just Chillin': The Hidden Lives of Middle Schoolers, pages 105 and 106. Complete the homework questions. 

  • This lesson launches Module 2B and lays the foundation for the module's exploration of identity. Students begin to build a working definition of identity first by exploring their own identities, and then framing the concept through cultural identifiers.
  • For homework in many lessons in this unit, students usually read in their independent reading book. The lesson plans assume that you have launched the independent reading program with your students, and that all students have books to read and understand the routines of reading and logging their reading. See two separate stand-alone documents on EngageNY.org: The Importance of Increasing the Volume of Reading, and Launching Independent Reading in Grades 6-8: Sample Plan, which together provide the rationale and practical guidance for a robust independent reading program. If you have not launched independent reading yet, you could either work the launch into this unit, by adding days, or you could pause and launch the program before starting this unit. Refer to the Unit 1 Overview for more details.
  • Sample Cultural Identifiers is a list of common aspects of identity developed by the National Association of Independent Schools and the Diversity Awareness Initiative for Students. Note that although these are titled simply "cultural identifiers," they cover multiple aspects of identity that are useful to consider.
  • This lesson prompts students to begin thinking about identity in terms of internal and external characteristics. This is intended to be a simple way to parse the complex topic of identity. This language of "internal" and "external" will also serve as a means of analyzing the transformation and evolution of the main characters in Pygmalion, which students will study in Unit 2.
  • As the module continues, students will notice that many of the categories and characteristics of identity overlap and inform one another; these observations should be honored and encouraged.
  • The identity journal is an ongoing interactive writing activity that allows students to make personal connections with the texts and the topics in the unit. It is intended as the formal space for "text to self" connections, since students will generally be eager to connect this topic to their own personal identities and identity formation. It will be essential to honor these connections wherever possible, yet without digressing too far from the ultimate purpose of comprehending the texts of the unit.
  • Conversely, due to the personal nature of the topic, there may be some students for whom conversations about identity, or specific aspects of identity, may become uncomfortable. Consider which of your students may have an issue with this and think ahead about how to handle those situations sensitively. 
  • Note that when students begin to discuss internal identity, they may bring up situations in which a momentary emotion seems to be evidence for an internal identity trait. (For example: "He was angry when she dumped orange juice on him, so he must be an angry person.") Students will participate in a mini lesson designed to help them determine the difference between momentary "feelings" and the longitudinal, stable preferences and attitudes of internal identity in Unit 2, but be aware of this error now. Knowing the difference between singular reaction and identity is crucial not only to understanding the concept of identity, but also to understanding character development in literature, such as Eliza Doolittle in Pygmalion.
  • The concept of identity is introduced by reading the children's picture book Nadia's Hands, a fictional story of a young Pakistani-American girl who is undergoing the tradition of hand-painting, or mehndi, for her cousin's wedding. In the book, the girl struggles with integrating this custom into her worldview, but succeeds in the end. Using children's books is a powerful tool to introduce complex concepts in a way that is engaging and accessible and helps build schema for more complex texts. The use of children's books supports all learners, but particularly struggling readers and ELLs.
  • Students record their thinking about identity using an Identity anchor chart. Anchor charts provide a common point of reference and a place to hold class thinking about a particular topic. They can be created and updated in either an electronic format or on a large piece of chart paper.
  • The homework in this lesson is intended as a simple pre-assessment tied to the three main CCLS: RI.7.1, RI.7.2, and RI.7.3. Review the directions for presenting this homework to the students.
  • In advance:

-   Preview the lessons in this unit and consider what structure you will use for the independent reading check-in scheduled for Lesson 5. As you review homework daily with students, make sure they are clear about what they need to have completed before and bring to class that day. Understanding the in-class routine for checking in on independent reading will both motivate students and hold them accountable.

-   Consider how students will organize their materials for this module. Some materials, such as the identity journal, will be worked on over a series of many classes; students will need a safe, easy, and neat way to store them. For example, printing both the identity journal and the subsequent Reader's Notes for all of Unit 1 and collating them in a packet ahead of time may save time and help keep students organized.

Read over Nadia's Hands. Pay special attention to the pronunciation of the Urdu words in the book; the "Note" in the beginning provides a pronunciation key and definitions. 

-   Determine the best way to present this book to the whole class. A document camera and/or a class set of copies of the text may be useful.

-   Review Fist to Five in Checking for Understanding techniques (see Appendix).

-   Print and post the Sample Cultural Identifiers anchor chart for the duration of the module.

-   Post the Identity anchor chart for the duration of the module.

  • Post: Learning targets.

Vocabulary

identity, metaphor, mehndi, internal, external, identifiers

Materials

  • Identity journals (one per student)
  • Identity anchor chart (new; teacher-created; see supporting materials)
  • Identity anchor chart--student version (one per student; first page of identity journals)
  • Nadia's Hands (one for teacher read-aloud)
  • Sample Cultural Identifiers anchor chart (new; teacher-created; see supporting materials)
  • Who Am I on the Outside? recording form (one per student)
  • Who Am I on the Inside? recording form (one per student)
  • Not Much, Just Chillin': The Hidden Lives of Middle Schoolers, pages 105-106 (excerpt; one per student)
  • Reader's Notes: Not Much, Just Chillin': The Hidden Lives of Middle Schoolers, pages 105-106 (one per student)
  • Reader's Notes: Not Much, Just Chillin': The Hidden Lives of Middle Schoolers, pages 105-106 (answers, for teacher reference)

Opening

OpeningMeeting Students' Needs

A. Identity Entry Task/Unpacking Learning Targets (5 minutes)

  • Distribute the identity journals and have students put their names on the front cover. Tell them that they will use these journals throughout the unit.
  • Have students independently fill out the first task on the first page (Entry Task, Lesson 1):

*   "What does the word identity mean?"

*   "What is included in someone's identity?"

  • Cold call a few students to share their answers. Listen for such things as "Identity is a sense of who I am," "The groups I belong to (family, friends, society) help define my identity," and "My identity is determined by my personality and my choices."
  • Direct students' attention to the Identity anchor chart. Record their ideas on the chart and let them know that this is their "first draft" of what identity might be. Have students copy the information down on their Identity anchor chart--student version, on the first page of their identity journal. Inform them that they will be returning to this chart repeatedly to add to, revise, or change their class definition of identity.
  • Explain that this module is about the concept of identity: who we are, what influences us, and how we grow and change. Connect this concept to students' experience as seventh-graders; they are just beginning adolescence, which psychology has shown to be a time when young people begin to think deeply about who they are and what they believe. Tell students that this module topic should be very interesting, especially since they will read and think about many texts that deal with the teen experience.
  • Direct students' attention to the learning targets:

*   "I can make inferences about the central idea of Nadia's Hands."

*   "I can build a working definition of identity."

  • Show them the cover of Nadia's Hands. Let them know only that it is a picture book about a Pakistani-American girl and that you will read it together shortly. Ask students to turn and talk:

*   "Make a prediction together from the clues on the cover of this book about how this story might help us achieve our learning target of defining identity today. In other words, how could this story help us understand what identity is?"

  • Cold call two or three students for their answers. Listen for them to discuss the patterns they see on the hands in the cover illustration and to provide hypotheses about how the patterns might reflect cultural or personal choices of identity. 
  • Research indicates that cold calling improves student engagement and critical thinking. Prepare students for this strategy by discussing the purpose, giving appropriate think time, and indicating that this strategy will be used before students are asked questions.
  • Some students may benefit from being privately prompted before they are called on in a cold call. Although cold calling is a participation technique that necessitates random calling, it is important to set a supportive tone so that use of the cold call is a positive experience for all.
  • Consider scaffolding the entry task further for students with emergent literacy or for ELLs--for example, providing an example of an aspect of identity and asking students to relate themselves personally to it. It's important, however, to not give the definition wholesale at this point. Students are using this lesson to work toward their own concept of what identity is.
  • When possible, have students who need physical activity take on the active roles of managing and writing on charts or handing out the materials.

Work Time

Work TimeMeeting Students' Needs

A. Nadia's Hands (10 minutes)

  • Ask the class whether anyone has had experience with the Middle Eastern/Asian tradition of painting hands (mehndi). If so, have students briefly share those experiences.
  • Read the book Nadia's Hands aloud to the class. For each set of pages, after reading the text aloud, conduct a brief class discussion about what the students notice about the accompanying picture and about the definition of new words that may be on the page (such as mehndi or kabab).
  • Have students return to their identity journals and independently fill out the second task on the first page (Nadia's Hands, Lesson 1):

*   "Several times in Nadia's Hands, Nadia expresses the feeling that her hands look 'as if they belong to someone else.' The last line of the book, however, says, 'They looked as if they belonged to her.' What does this last line show about how Nadia's sense of identity has changed?"

  • Cold call three or four students to share their answers aloud. Listen for them to indicate that the last line implies that Nadia was struggling with her Pakistani heritage throughout the book, but at the end, she accepts and enjoys her cultural identity in her aunt's wedding.
  • Collect the identity journals. 
  • Be aware that due to political tension between the United States and Pakistan, students may bring up negative connotations or stereotypes of Pakistan or Pakistani culture. Although it is important to have these discussions, for the purpose of this lesson, keep students focused tightly on the topics of the book only.
  • Consider providing or using additional audio or visual materials to supplement the students' background knowledge of mehndi, such as YouTube videos or Google images.
  • Informally assess the students' answers to the first and second tasks in the journal as a means of assessing where the students are on the continuum of meeting the two supporting learning targets. A list or graph of students' names may be helpful for future planning around these standards.

B. Who Am I on the Outside? External Identity (12 minutes)

  • Distribute the Who Am I on the Outside? and Who Am I on the Inside? recording forms to the students. Tell them they will start with the Outside recording form.
  • Walk students through the directions, Parts I and II. If needed, consider modeling by completing a portion of the mind map about yourself.
  • Point out the Sample Cultural Identifiers anchor chart, which repeats the same information from the "Who Am I On the Outside?" recording form. Let students know this anchor chart will remain up as a reference for them throughout the rest of the module.
  • As students work on their External mind maps, circulate and offer individual assistance where necessary. Have the students bear in mind that this work will not be formally assessed, but that you will collect it. Assure them that if they are completing the mind map with information that is personal, they will have a choice as to whether they share it in class; also indicate that you will be the only person looking at the maps and will keep them private.
  • After students complete Part II (revising their initial mind map based on new information), invite students (if they are willing) to place their mind maps visibly on or in their workspaces. Students who would prefer to keep their mind maps private may put them away but should still participate in the rest of the activity. Allow students to get up, stretch, and then move through the classroom to view other people's mind maps, keeping in mind what they "notice" and what they "wonder." This activity should take no more than 2 or 3 minutes.
  • Ask for volunteers to share their observations. 
  • The External and Internal mind maps ask students to think about and share personal information about themselves. Honor a student's need to keep this information private, if he or she expresses concern about sharing this information publicly.
  • Mind maps can be easily augmented or differentiated with drawings or other artwork for students who are artistically inclined or have limited vocabulary.

C. Who Am I on the Inside? Internal Identity (12 minutes)

  • Walk students through the directions for Sections III and IV. If needed, consider modeling how to complete the mind map by filling out a portion about yourself.
  • As students work on their Internal mind maps, circulate and offer individual assistance where necessary.
  • After they complete Part IV (revising their initial mind map based on new information), again invite students (if they are willing) to place their mind maps visibly on or in their workspaces. Students who would prefer to keep their mind maps private may put them away, but should still participate in the rest of the activity. Allow students to get up, stretch, and then move through the classroom to view other people's mind maps, keeping in mind what they "notice" and what they "wonder." Again, this activity should take no more than 2 or 3 minutes.
  • Ask for volunteers to share their observations.
  • Collect the mind maps. 
  • The External and Internal mind maps ask students to think about and share personal information about themselves. Honor a student's need to keep this information private, if he or she expresses concern about sharing this information publicly.
  • Mind maps can be easily augmented or differentiated with drawings or other artwork for students who are artistically inclined or have limited vocabulary.

Closing & Assessments

Closing

A.Revising Identity Anchor Chart and Reviewing Learning Targets (6 minutes)

  • Direct students' attention to the ideas recorded about identity. Conduct a whole-class debrief using these prompts:

*   "What did you learn from Nadia's Hands that adds to or changes what is on our Identity anchor chart?"

*   What did you learn from the mind map activities that adds to or changes what is on our Identity anchor chart?"

  • Record student responses on the anchor chart. If an answer sounds inaccurate, bounce it back for reconsideration:

*   "What does someone else think about that answer?"

  • Have students assess the supporting learning targets by using the "Fist to Five" Checking for Understanding technique.
  • Distribute and review the homework briefly. Let students know that these are the kinds of questions they will be learning to answer well in this module. As a result, this set of questions is meant to be "help-free"; you want to be able to get a sense of what students already know about identity and what you can help them with as the unit progresses. Anticipate for them that they may find these questions challenging, but your only expectation is that they do their best to answer them completely. Inform them that this not a graded assessment, but you will collect it in the next class.

Homework

HomeworkMeeting Students' Needs
  • Read the excerpt from Not Much, Just Chillin': The Hidden Lives of Middle Schoolers excerpt, pages 105 and 106. Complete the homework questions.
  • In general, this is a very engaging and understandable text. Challenging words are defined at the bottom of the homework questions, however, and some students may benefit from having them previewed.
  • Questions 1-3 are tied to the standards listed and are intended as a simple pre-assessment of students' ability to meet those standards. Do not differentiate or modify them.

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