Use this text set to introduce or supplement a coming-of-age unit centered on a work of literature, literature circles, or self-directed student book clubs. The texts are intended to be taught in the order they are presented over the course of one to two weeks, depending on how often the class meets and what, if anything, students complete outside of class.
The texts are organized around guiding questions and include activities that help students engage with the texts critically, emotionally, and ethically. While the activities are deliberately sequenced to bring students safely into and out of conversations about identity and belonging, you should adapt them as needed for your unique classroom context.
Students begin their exploration by reflecting on their identities and the choices they make about what parts they reveal and what they keep hidden from others. They also examine how their membership in different social groups can influence both their beliefs about who they are and how others perceive them. Students then read a collection of personal narratives that invite them to consider the very real challenges that adolescents face when defining who they want to be in the world. Crucially, they consider both how they might overcome these barriers and how they can create the conditions to help others overcome them, too.
Along the way, students come to understand identity development as an ongoing process over which they can have agency, and they consider the role that storytelling plays in helping us all better understand ourselves and one another.
Suggestions for summative assessments help students synthesize key ideas and make connections between what they are learning, what their peers may be experiencing, and their own lives as they move through adolescence.