Grade level:


Approximate Lesson Duration:

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

RL.11-12.3. Analyze the impact of the author’s choices regarding how to develop and relate elements of a story or drama (e.g., where a story is set, how the action is ordered, how the characters are introduced and developed).

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

What makes this lesson culturally relevant?

From the author of Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda comes a popular and contemporary young adult novel that explores the complexities of LGBTQIA+ romance. 

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)
  • Readers can identify key decisions that an author has to make when it comes to setting, characterization, and plot.
Potential Misconceptions

Students may have their own biased interpretations of LGBTQIA+ relationships and LGBTQIA+ characters in general.

Learning plan, experiences, intstruction and learning activities:

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

Students will be able to:

  • Analyze how key characters advance or develop plots or themes.

Today we will be working on…

Becoming more analytical readers by honing in on the key decisions that an author makes when it comes to setting, characterization, and plot.  We know that these choices strongly affect the development and meaning of these elements in a text.

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, you’ve learned that characters can evolve in different ways across a text.

Many of you are able to demonstrate this when you are reading your own independent novels.

Today, we’re going to dig deeper with a new focus.  This focus is on analyzing those small moments when a character does something to affect the plot.  We’re going to look at how this affects love over time.

What equipment, resources, or materials are needed?

Recommended Text: What If It’s Us? By Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera

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 two characters in the text and the tension that exists between them.

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 1: Aurthur

The teacher will use Chapter 1 and engage the students in an interactive read aloud.  Students will consider the following question: On a scale of 1-10, what level would you assign to the love (tension) that exists between the characters?

It’s important for us as readers to notice when there are tensions affecting the plot, and, therefore, the moments when characters do something to affect the plot.  We can create what’s known as a “Fever Chart” to stop and jot these moments as the text unfolds.

On pg. 7, the author intentionally creates a setting where Arthur meets Ben in a crowded New York City Post Office.  Even though he seems a bit overwhelmed by the tourists and a longing for home, he appears immediately intrigued when he makes eye contact with Ben.  On a scale of 1-10, I would personally mark the Fever Chart at level 2 in this chapter.

Guided Practice

The teacher will continue to read the rest of Chapter 1.

Turn and talk to your partner.  If Arthur believes that the universe has a Plan B, and Chapter 2 moves onto Ben still thinking about his ex-boyfriend and the new guy he met at the Post Office, would you increase or decrease the tension on our Fever Chart?

The teacher should inform students that as the read aloud continues, they will collectively discuss the tension in the text as it relates to love over time.

Independent Practice

When you go off and read your independent novels today, I would like you to create a Fever Chart based on your novels.  On the left, list the different tensions that exist in your text. On the bottom, mark the word “Time” so that you can track interactions over the course of your text.  If you’ve just started, you should have a beginning level of tension. If you’re well into your novels, see if you can plot out what has happened so far.

Use the anchor chart in our classroom as a guide to help you create your own Fever Chart.

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.

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:


  • Anger is a Gift by Mark Oshiro
  • Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli


Download Lesson Plan PDF:


How Characters are Introduced & Developed 152.02 KB 7 downloads

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