Teaching Brown Girl Dreaming

Jacqueline Woodson opens Brown Girl Dreaming with a poem about her birth on February 12, 1963, in “a country caught / / between Black and White.” In this coming-of-age memoir in verse, Woodson—who was raised in Ohio, South Carolina, and New York by her mother and grandparents—invites readers to consider what it means to be from a place but not fully belong there, as well as the ways in which family and memory can shape our identities and beliefs as we grow up. 

Over the course of this literature unit, students revisit the following essential questions in order to reflect on their own coming-of-age experiences in light of the many complex factors that influence their identities and choices: 

  • What individuals and experiences have shaped my beliefs about myself and the world around me? 
  • How is each one of us connected to the past? How does history and the legacy of past generations influence who I am today?
  • How do the acts of reading, writing, and storytelling impact the way I understand myself and make sense of the world around me?

This guide includes the following resources:

  • Unit essential questions and Facing History learning objectives and outcomes
  • Guiding questions, classroom activities, and formative assessments for each section of the memoir
  • Text-based discussion questions, supplemental readings, and handouts (PDF and Google Doc)
  • Three summative assessment options

Download the Guide

Teaching Brown Girl Dreaming

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Teaching Brown Girl Dreaming

Use this guide to teach a unit on Jacqueline Woodson's coming-of-age memoir in verse that invites students to reflect on their own experiences and identities.

 

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Our ELA Collection invites your students to explore the complexity of identity, process texts through a critical and ethical lens, and develop a sense of agency as they reflect on what it means to come of age.

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