Grade level:

2nd/Guided Reading Level: 2-L

Approximate Lesson Duration:

1 hour

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

NJSLSA.RL.2.3. Describe how characters in a story respond to major events and challenges using key details.

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

Typical lessons in characterization ask students to consider the way a character looks, acts, and feels. 

Lesson uses cultural knowledge, prior experiences, frames of reference, and performance styles.

Lesson plan focuses on inclusivity and on family diversity. It invites teachers to generate ideas from students about who is in their family and can be paired with reading texts that include diverse family structures.

This lesson creates a platform for the examination of a more comprehensive and inclusive vocabulary for discussing characters, gender diversity, and models for the varied types of parents/families.

Lesson Overview:

Essential Question(s)
  • Why should readers consider an LGBTQ perspective?
  • Do all parents and families need to look the same?
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 preconceived notion that there are “fixed” character traits or roles based on gender (i.e. boys vs. girls), or what a family looks like (ie, all look the same, and it’s otherwise ‘strange’).
  • Students may assume that to be a ‘parent’ it has to be a mom and a dad.

Learning plan, experiences, intstruction and learning activities:

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

Students will be able to:


  • Identify traits to be a parent (ie, does it always have to be a man and a woman?) & what do families look like?
  • What is the common thread needed to be a parent/ family (ie, love); 
  • Do parents & families all have to look the same?



Today we will be working on…identifying the different types of families out there, and why it is not ‘wrong’ or ‘strange’ if they do not look exactly like your own.  Why you should not make a friend feel it is ‘wrong’ or ‘strange’ if they have a family that looks different than your own.

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)

Recently, we talked about what a family looks like  (or drew a family tree, etc).

Turn and talk to a partner about…what your family looks like? Do you have a mom? Do you have a dad? Do you have both? Do you or someone you know have two moms or two dads? Are there are other people who live with you (eg extended family, siblings, step-parents, adopted parents, pets)?

You are really beginning to understand what a family looks like.  Today, we’re going to dig deeper with a new focus.  This focus is…if all parents and families look the same. 

What equipment, resources, or materials are needed?

Recommended book/text: “Freeda the Frog & The Two Mommas Next Door” by Nadine Haruni

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 about the varied types of parents/ families, and common characteristics.

Students learn that it is not ‘weird’ or ‘strange’ if someone has two moms, or two dads, or any other type of family dynamic not involving a mom and a dad.

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?

Be inquisitive and ask them what they think about the concept/topic/idea that families can look different.

  1. Allow them to discuss and share stories.  Do they have friends who have two moms or two dads, or a parenting model that is different than their own.
  2. Engage in a role-play.
How will we organize the sequence of learning during the lesson?

Scaffold the Instruction

  1. Model 

    Want to help kids understand that not every family looks the same, families do not have to have a mom and a dad (and it is not ‘strange’ or ‘wrong’ if they do not–just different than your own may be).

  2. Guided Practice:Go to Page 14 and cite what Freeda says in response to the tadpole’s question “Do two mommas love each other the way a mommy and a daddy do?”
  3. Independent Practice:When you go off to read your choice books on your own, be sure to think about your characters and their families in new and evolving ways. Ask yourself: Does this family look like my family and if not, what makes them look different than mine? Do these differences make them any less of a family? What are the common characteristics this family has with my own family. 

Check for understanding:

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

Exit Ticket:

Students will respond to the prompts below.

Do all families have a mom and a dad? Are there many different types of families?  What are examples of other ‘types’ of parenting (ie,not a mom and a dad) out there?

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


Performance Task/Project:
(attach rubric)

Sample Homework or In-Class Assignment: see attached image