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Lesson Plan

Developing Critical Consciousness through Angie Thomas’ The Hate U Give

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Developing Critical Consciousness through Angie Thomas’ The Hate U Give

Grades 9 – 12
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Eight 50-minute sessions, plus additional time for reading and discussing the rest of the novel
Lesson Author

Scott Filkins

Scott Filkins

Champaign, Illinois


National Council of Teachers of English



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From Theory to Practice



As part of their study of Angela Thomas’ novel The Hate U Give, students build background knowledge of the Black Lives Matter movement by listening to radio interviews and examining the network's official website. They then take an interest and knowledge survey to help select the topic for a short directed research project designed to establish context and depth around several aspects of the novel: double consciousness/codeswitching, the Black Panther movement, Tupac Shakur as activist, media portrayal of police violence, and the complexity of gang culture. Students share their learning at key moments during reading and discussion of the novel, followed by work with excerpts from James Baldwin’s essay “Letter from a Region in My Mind” and Ta-Nehisi Coates’ “Letter to My Son.”

Though this lesson focuses on The Hate U Give, a similar approach may be taken with titles such as All-American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely or How It Went Down by Kekla Magoon, with the specific social issues students research modified accordingly.

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  • Knowledge and Interest Survey: Students use this survey to become familiar with the background topics for research and to indicate their preference for group work.


  • Research Topics and Sources Page: This categorized list of links to articles, videos, and other resources provides students with sources for their inquiry into the background research topics.


  • Cross-Text Analysis Handout: Students use this handout to begin thinking about how The Hate U Give, the Baldwin essay, and the Coates essay relate to each other thematically.


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In Teaching Reading with YA Literature: Complex Texts, Complex Lives, Jennifer Buehler offers a three-part conceptual framework for “an approach to teaching YA lit that promotes love of reading, improving skills in reading, and connecting reading to real-world contexts” (9). She identifies as the crucial elements, first, “social interactions [that] create more complex readings of YA literature,” second, books that are chosen “strategically” and “framed…in ways that satisfy the demands…of the latest standards movement,” and last, tasks that develop “the same reading and writing skills they would acquire” reading any other literature, but with a special focus on “connecting their reading to real-world contexts” and supporting them “with tools they can use to continue reading closely, actively, and critically on their own” (9).

This lesson, featuring a high-interest text with an engaging narrator and storyline interwoven with contemporary headlines, allows students to work together to generate deeper background knowledge necessary to set the novel in its complex contemporary context and combines careful reading of multiple, varied nonfiction texts with the centerpiece text of YA.

Buehler, Jennifer. Teaching Reading with YA Literature: Complex Texts, Complex Lives. Urbana, IL: NCTE, 2016.

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