Lesson Plans

Lesson Plan: 100 Minutes

Topic: Anti- Bullying

Mini-Lesson: Humor as a literary device:  

At the start of class, welcome students and then start the SNL clip-“Boss from Hell”.  Upon completion of the clip, ask students if bullying is fun or funny? Listen to students responses. Then ask students how SNL uses humor to make an abhorrent act approachable. Discuss humor as a literary device and the power which it has in disarming the reader or watcher.
Bring the discussion back to the novel ATD and instruct students to open their books to chapter 1. As a class, read aloud where Junior refers to himself as a member of the black-eye-of–the-month-club. In their Writers Journal, have students respond to the following prompt: How does it feel to be bullied?  Instruct student to describe an instance of bullying they experienced.  After students respond to the prompt, the teacher should share a story of bullying- being bullied or witnessing someone being bullied- then ask students to share as well.  Finish the reading portion of the lesson with SSR on the chapter “Hope Against Hope” (pg.32 – 43). 

Using the literary device of humor can take a rather unpleasant or difficult topic and make it approachable. As such, the teacher will model a storyboard that recreates the story recently shared with the class but this time employing the literary device humor. The storyboard can be 3-5 sequential word pictures. Then the teacher will juxtapose the two stories and students will make a list of differences in messages being conveyed.  

Finally, students will recreate their response to the prompt by making a storyboard and employing the literary device of humor. The length should be 3-5 sequential word pictures. The teacher will divide students into pairs and have students discuss the differences between their sequential word pictures and their Writer’s Journal entry.

Controversial issues in the text

Controversial words include:
·         The word "masturbation" on page 26.
·         The word "boner" on page 96.
·         The word "nigger" on page 64.
·         The word "fuck" on page 64.

The language in The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian seems at times to be crude or inappropriate.  However, within the context that the above language is used, it is done so with a fitting intention. Generally Alexie uses strong or explicit language to show how a specific character is being ignorant or a bully.  In other instances, language is used as a part of the style of the book, meaning that the author intentionally used those words to create a specific idea of a character and to convey the honest vulnerable thoughts that the character Junior would share if he were writing in safe pages of his diary.  These words may offend students and or parents however the language is appropriate within the context of the story.  
Keeping in mind that The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is to be read just as the Title suggests, like a diary.  A person’s diary is a safe haven for thoughts no matter how unconventional or socially unacceptable.  In other words the content of a person’s diary is quite personal.  The last two offensive words of the four listed are used to show the cruelty of another character but are prefaces with Junior saying how damaging and wrong these slurs are. The students will be made aware of offensive language in the text and will be allowed to skip those passages if they so choose.

Tough Topics

Eating disorders, sexuality, alcoholism, bullying, and racism can each be difficult topics to discuss among a high school audience. Teachers should constantly assess how students react to the topics being discussed and offer insight, guidance, resources and any necessary support or information as is fitting to the situation.  Be sure not avoid these tough topics as they are important to the text as well as to everyday life. Teachers should not privilege one topic over another as in doing so you run the risk of alienating certain students.  Make the high school counselor easily accessible for students who may want to discuss personal issues they have experienced and or are experiencing in a less public setting.

1 comment:

  1. I found this lesson to be interesting and decided to look up the SNL clip to use when I begin this novel with my students. TOTALLY INAPPROPRIATE. I sincerely hope you did not show this to your students in a school setting.