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Lesson Plan

Alphabiography Project: Totally You

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Alphabiography Project: Totally You

Grades 6 – 8
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Two 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Lisa Storm Fink

Lisa Storm Fink

Urbana, Illinois


National Council of Teachers of English


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  • Published Comments


September 12, 2016

I thought the book and the article were great. We have a lot of students who struggle with their gender and sexual identity and this activity is a good way to bring up those issues and questions in the classroom. Not only that, but since it becomes part of the curriculum, you are showing that 1. you are an ally to GBLTQ students 2. they can write about intimate issues (whether it be about sexuality or something else) without fearing judgement from the teacher's part and 3. that being GBLTQ is normal and not a big deal.
I think it's totally appropriate for the classroom and for middle school students and I will be using it soon.



February 23, 2016

I think the "Totally James" suggestion is very appropriate. Do you think that there aren't middle schoolers who aren't going through those same issues at this moment? Middle School is such an important time in a kid's life because we are really figuring out identity and how that identity is socially perceived. I'm sure there are some gay kids in classrooms, whether they are "out" or not. By saying that homosexuality isn't appropriate in middle schools, you are sending these kids a message and that message is not about acceptance of who they are or in any way tell them that those who bully them for being different are wrong. I would teach this in my classroom any day so that my students understand that we shouldn't shove people into the "closet" if they are different.



October 05, 2014

I agree with Becky. I was rather shocked to read the "totally James" article, and don't find it to be appropriate for the classroom either.


ReadWriteThink Staff

August 12, 2014

Here are some other memoirs that have a strong voice: Elie Wiesel’s <i>Night</i>, Walter Dean Myers’ <i>Bad Boy</i>, Mildred Taylor’s <i>Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry</i>, Sandra Cisneros’ <i>The House on Mango Street</i>, Cynthia Rylant’s <i>When I Was Young in the Mountains</i> and <i>When the Relatives Came</i>, and Maya Angelou’s <i>I Know Why a Caged Bird Sings</i>.



August 08, 2014

I do not think the topic of homosexuality is appropriate for a middle school com arts classroom. I would prefer a different reference and will have to find an alternative source to relate to this lesson. Maybe a compromise for you would be to find and offer that alternative.



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