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Teacher Lesson Return to "My Body, Not Your Business"
My Body, Not Your Business
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ELA Literacy & Social and Emotional Learning

Story Summary: A young woman experiences sexual harassment at school, speaks up about it, and takes a stand against it.

Lesson Objectives and Common Core Connections
• Students make personal connections to a text and successfully participate in story-based activities and discussions.
• Students will make choices based on consideration of ethical standards, safety concerns, and social norms.
• Students will have empathy for other youths’ experiences.
• Students will respond thoughtfully to diverse perspectives (CCLS SL.1).
• Students will read and comprehend literary nonfiction proficiently (CCLS R.10).
• Students will write routinely over extended and shorter time frames for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences (CCLS W.10).

Before Reading the Story (10 min)
This opening activity will activate background knowledge to boost reading comprehension and set the emotional tone for the story.

1. Welcome students to the group. Introduce the lesson by telling them they will be reading a true story by a teen who takes a stand against sexual harassment.

2. Introduce the freewrite activity by reminding students that it is an opportunity to freely express their thoughts on paper without worrying about spelling or grammar. Students will have about four minutes to write in response to the prompt. The goal is to express their thoughts freely without worrying about writing conventions. The expectation is that everyone writes, without stopping, for the full time. (Note: writing lists and/or drawing with labels are modifications that support diverse learners.)

3. Share the definition of sexual harassment that you’ve posted in the room: “Sexual harassment is any unwanted sexual comments or actions. That includes unwanted touching, gestures, insults that have to do with sex, and persistent compliments that have to do with physical appearance. It also includes spreading sexually oriented rumors. Comments or actions directed toward a person or group that make witnesses uncomfortable can also be sexual harassment. Sexually harassing comments can be spoken or written. They can be made using graffiti, text messages, social media, or emails—or through other forms of communication.”

4. Ask students to imagine the following scenario where sexual harassment is occurring: “At school, a crowd forms around another student and comments on this student’s body. One person asks to take a picture of the student undressed. Another touches the student and then whispers something to their friends.”

5. Freewrite prompt: “Thinking about the scenario, how do you think the target of this harassment might be feeling? How could experiences like this make the target feel about him/herself?”

6. After students have completed the freewrite, transition to a pair share. Students should select a partner or turn to the person next to them.

7. Facing each other and practicing active listening, partners each take a turn sharing parts of their responses that they feel comfortable sharing. The listener should not respond, but should actively listen to the speaker. You can use a timer or wait until the hum of conversation dies down before closing the activity.

8. Thank students for sharing.

During Reading (20 min)
By practicing active reading strategies while reading aloud and discussing as a group, students build comprehension and support fluency.

1. Introduce the story (see the summary above).

2. Share the expectations for a group read-aloud: volunteers take turns reading aloud as much or as little as they would like. As the teacher, you may stop periodically to discuss or check in on active reading by asking students to share their responses to the story.

3. Tell students they will practice an active reading strategy called reading for a purpose. This will help them read for a purpose and be prepared to use the text in later activities.

4. Reading for a purpose directions: Students are going to identify parts in the text when the writer, boys, or bystanders could do something to prevent or take a stand against sexual harassment. Divide the room into three sections. Have each section read for one of the following and mark the margins of their story accordingly:
W — Moments when the writer could (or does) do something to stop sexual harassment
H — Moments when the harassing boys could do something to stop sexual harassment
B — Moments when it’s possible for bystanders to do something to stop sexual harassment

5. While sitting in a circle, read the story aloud together. Stop to discuss periodically, supporting peer-to-peer talk and non-judgmental listening. To do this, ask for volunteers from each section of the room to share what they wrote a W, H, or B next to and ideas of what the writer, harassing boys, or bystanders could do to stop sexual harassment.

After Reading the Story (15 min)
During this post-reading activity students will make connections, build understanding, and rehearse positive behaviors.

1. Introduce the social media post activity by explaining to the group that they will be using their imaginations to create a social media post that shares their reasons for standing up to sexual harassment.

2. Social media post directions:
Using what you learned from G.G.'s story, and drawing on your own experiences or connections to the story, write/draw a Facebook-type post where you take a stand against sexual harassment. Try to use language and ideas that would make your post go viral!

• You may include: how sexual harassment affects its targets, the school community, or society as a whole, as well as ideas on how to prevent sexual harassment.
• You should include a reason why you’re sharing your post.
• Optional: Include a hashtag in your post to spread awareness about sexual harassment.

3. Have students create their social media posts on blank sheets of paper.

4. Once most students have completed their writing/drawing, have students begin to pass around their posts to peers and have them “like” them by responding with at least one positive comment that adds to the discussion. Try to have as many students comment on one another’s posts as possible in the time allotted.

5. Thank students for being thoughtful members of the group, working to make connections to G.G.'s story, reflecting on their own lives, and sharing with one another.

Optional: If your class enjoyed sharing their posts with one another, let them know that they can also share them with us by sending a message to our Facebook page ( or sending a tweet to @youthcomm!

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