Grade level:


Approximate Lesson Duration:

Unit/Lesson New Jersey Student Learning Standards (NJSLS):

RL.9-10.3. Analyze how complex characters (e.g., those with multiple or conflicting motivations) develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme.

Brief Summary of Cultural Competencies Related to the Unit/Lesson:

What makes this lesson culturally relevant?

This lesson utilizes a mentor text where the main character is biracial and bisexual.  In addition, all of the main characters have some aspect of an LGBTQIA+ identity. It is important to note that many resources, including those found here through GLSEN, explain that bisexual students often feel invisible or “erased,” even when schools embrace diversity and inclusivity.  This is known as bisexual erasure or bi-invisibility.

Lesson Overview:

Essential Question(s)
  • Why should readers consider an LGBTQIA+ perspective?
Enduring Understanding(s)
  • A reader can gain a better understanding of a text as a whole by considering multiple diverse perspectives, including marginalized groups (i.e. LGBTQ)
  • Inclusive language creates cultural awareness, compassion, and opportunities for transformational learning in a classroom community.
Potential Misconceptions

Students may have a biased belief that bisexuality is just a “phase” that one goes through. To learn more about “biphobia,” resources are available through the Human Rights Campaign here.

Learning plan, experiences, intstruction and learning activities:

What is Expected?
  • List the intentional learning objectives on the board.

Students will be able to:

  • Choose one strategy related to analyzing character complexities and apply this strategy when reading a personal narrative.

Today we will be working on…

Becoming more analytical readers by honing in on what makes characters complex .  We’re going to revisit our main character and the supporting characters in Radio Silence by Alice Oseman.

What is expected?
How will we hook (Introduce this to) the students?
  • Activate thinking
  • Consider the language you will use to introduce the lesson (See example in the table)

Link to Engagement

In previous years and in prior lessons this school year, you’ve learned that characters can be quite complex.  

Turn and talk to a partner about…(Choose 1)

  • Evidence related to intersectionality with one of the text’s characters.
  • In what ways is Frances a complex character?

Many of you were able to recall that characters are intersectional.  Many identities and systems can overlap. I heard students identify that Frances is an adolescent.  She’s connected to technology and believes that male and female relationships can be platonic, or intimate and affectionate without sexual nature.  I’ve heard lots of interesting ideas that make Frances a complex character.

Today, we’re going to dig deeper with a new focus.  This focus is on analyzing complex character and conflicting motivations.

What equipment, resources, or materials are needed?

Recommended Text: Radio Silence by Alice Oseman

How will we rethink or revise our thinking throughout the lesson?
  • What learning is confirmed?
  • What misconceptions are uncovered?
  • What is your new thinking?

At the end of the lesson, students will be given an opportunity to reflect on their new thinking around the main character and supporting characters.

How will students self-evaluate and reflect on their learning?

Refer to the exit ticket as a check for understanding.

How will we tailor learning to varied needs, interests, and learning styles?

 Sample Anchor Chart

How will we organize the sequence of learning during the lesson?

Scaffold the Instruction


Chapter: Something Before We Continue

The teacher will use pgs. 101-103 to model that France is quite a complex character.

I’m thinking about how Frances brought up that something needs to be said before the novel continues.  First, she establishes the fact that she is only friends with Aled, and that you shouldn’t expect that they fall in love like so many stories where boy meets girl.  Instead, she tells about a crush on a girl named Carys.

Guided Practice

The teacher will continue to read the passage(s) in which Frances states, “I’ve never met any gay people before, or bisexual people?

Frances brings up the point about how individuals can also be bisexual, including the “B” in LGBTQ.  As a matter of fact, this chapter recognizes many of these letters. Let’s make a list and come up with our own criteria as to whether or not Frances is complex.

Turn and talk to your partner.  How complex is Frances? List ideas on the board.

Independent Practice

When you go off and read today, I am going to let you choose from one of three strategies. You may choose to make a list like we did.  If you prefer a visual approach, sketch it out! Draw when characters interact and include what they say, what they do, and notes about how they interact.  You may also want to listen to their heart. Jot down ideas about what the character really wants and what these desires tell us.

For today, you can work on your own or with a partner and choose one of the following texts to analyze:

Dear My Black, Bisexual Freshman Self: You Are Enough

What this Bisexual Latinx Teen Needs from Her Allies

I’m a Bi Student in High School.  I Should Belong Here, Too

Check for understanding:

(Formative evidence such as conferencing, group Q/A, teacher observation, exit-slip, etc.)

Exit Ticket:

Students will respond to the prompt below.

What strategy did you use to analyze character complexities?  How did this strategy help you as a reader?

Quiz/Test (optional):
(attach copy of assessment)

Performance Task/Project:
(attach rubric)


Supplemental Resources:

There are many companion texts that can be used to introduce students to prominent LGBTQIA+ individuals who have made lasting social contributions historically.  An incomplete list of suggestions follow:

Many Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network (GLSEN) resources further explore how to support bisexual students:

Additional Texts to Discover:

  • Odd One Out by Nic Stone
  • Home and Away by Candace Montgomery
  • Ship It by Britta Lundin
  • The Brightsiders by Jen Wilde
  • We Are Young by Cat Clarke

Download Lesson Plan PDF: