Grade level:


Approximate Lesson Duration:

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

RI.11-12.3. Analyze a complex set of ideas or sequence of events and explain how specific individuals, ideas, or events interact and develop over the course of the text.

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

What makes this lesson culturally relevant?

Newsela has developed a text set that engages students in dialogue and collaborative conversations about identity, diversity, justice, and action.

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. LGBTQIA+)
  • Identity, diversity, justice, and action are areas of focus that can help a reader better understand interactions across a larger text or set of texts.
Potential Misconceptions

This article by the Huffington Post (2017) describes some of the common misconceptions that students may have about LGBTQIA+ individuals and their lives.

Learning plan, experiences, intstruction and learning activities:

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

Students will be able to:

  • Analyze a complex set of ideas or sequence of events and explain how specific individuals, ideas, or events interact and develop over the course of a text.

Today we will be working on…

Becoming more analytical readers by honing in on how various elements like individuals, ideas, and events interact and enhance the meaning or importance of a larger text, or, in today’s case, a set of texts addressing issues related to identity, diversity, justice, and action.

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

Turn and talk: What is meant by the phrase “walk a mile in our shoes?”

We’ve recently discussed how issues of social justice and equity help us better understand the texts we are reading.  We know that actions and events are connected, but haven’t considered how the individuals, ideas, and events are connected.  

Today, we’re going to dig deeper with a new focus.  This focus is on connecting the individuals, ideas, and events by looking at 4 categories.

What equipment, resources, or materials are needed?

Recommended Text: “I’m an American”—George Takei on a lifetime of defying stereotypes” by Kalama Kelkar (a Newsela text).  This lesson can also be applied with other informational articles or biographies related to significant LGBTQIA+ individuals.

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 individuals, ideas, and events presented.

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 Conversation Cards

Identity: I can see that the LGBTQIA+ characters have experienced _____________________ across their interactions with others.  My character might describe themselves as ______________________.

Diversity: I notice that the individuals in this text are different in that they _________________________.  I believe that the voice of people who are ____________________ are perhaps missing.

Justice: In the interactions across the text, I’m noticing challenges that involve ___________________________.  Some stereotypes might include ______________________.

Action: Based on the interactions I’ve read about, I believe that communities can ___________________________ to support the individuals in this group.

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

Scaffold the Instruction


When we consider identity, we read the beginning of this article to learn that actor and Japanese-American are both important to George Takei.  The author then proceeds to discuss George’s upbringing, in which George explains that being gay as a youth made him feel “ashamed.” Under identity, I’m going to consider some words that George might use to describe himself.  Words like famous, well-known, and active come to mind, but he was also once ashamed.  

It’s important for us as readers to notice that identity, diversity, justice, and action come into play when we consider connections between individuals, ideas, and events.  

Guided Practice

The teacher will continue to read the rest of the article.  Students will be encouraged to think about how the additional information contributes to the meaning of the text.  

Please take a set of conversation cards and use the sentence stems to discuss what else you’ve learned from the article.

Independent Practice

When you go off and read your choice Newsela article from the text set, see how identity, diversity, justice, and action impact the interactions noted in your texts.

You can use the conversation cards as a springboard for your own ideas.

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.

Download Lesson Plan PDF:


What’s Really Being Developed Here? 129.28 KB 8 downloads

Please register or log in to download.