The youth-written stories in Represent give inspiration and information to teens in foster care while offering staff insight into those teens’ struggles.

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Teacher Lesson Return to "University of Kitchen?"
University of Kitchen?
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Before the session: Read the story yourself and list the traits she exhibits in the margins. As you read, circle where in the story she shows these characteristics and write an adjective next to the passage. Some of the traits she exhibits include bravery, persistence, loyalty, thoughtfulness, and optimism. On the negative side, you may list subservience, and passivity.

Reading the story: Tell your group they are going to read a story by a Yemeni high school girl who wants to go to college even though her father might not let her. The outcome is undecided since she is still in high school and has not asked her father directly about his wishes. As they read the story they will circle where she does or says something that indicates what kind of person she is and write an adjective in the margin at that place in the story. Give them an example from your reading of the story.

Discussion: After the reading, ask the group if they think Orubba is doing the right thing for her family and for herself. Ask them to look at their marked up story so they can cite where in the story she is succeeding or failing to do the right thing. As part of the discussion ask them what they think Orubba could do to increase her chances of going to college. If you have time you can outline their suggestions on the board and have them vote on the best option for Orubba. (One option that may not be apparent to them is for Orubba to ask a teacher or other adult who sympathizes with her desire to attend college and who would be credible to her father to talk with him. Be sure to bring up that strategy if they don’t.)

Writing exercises: Based on their reading and the discussion, encourage students to write a letter to Orubba telling her what they think she should do and, more importantly, how she should go about doing it.

Or a simpler writing exercise is to have them write letters to the editor commenting on Orubba’s dilemma and giving their advice. You can collect them and send them to us for possible publication in the next issue.
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(NYC-2009-03-03)

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