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Teacher Lesson Return to "Out of Trouble and Into Mentorship"
Out of Trouble and Into Mentorship
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ELA Literacy & Social and Emotional Learning
Out of Trouble and Into Mentorship


Story Summary: As an elementary school student, Lisuini disliked school and preferred to hang out on the streets and in the park. After his mom enrolls him in the Boys & Girls Club he begins to learn important life lessons about himself and discovers a supportive community in which he can both grow and contribute.

Lesson Objectives and Common Core Connections
• Students make personal connections to a text and successfully participate in story-based activities and discussions.
• Students will be better able to reflect on past experiences for growth and learning.
• Students will expand their sense of agency by believing their actions can make a difference in their lives and the lives of others.
• Students will read and comprehend literary nonfiction proficiently (CCLS R.10).
• Students will write routinely for a range of tasks (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 you will be reading a true story by a teen who struggles to belong until he discovers a place that can help him grow and give back.

2. Introduce the freewrite activity by explaining that students will have about four minutes to respond to a prompt in writing. 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. Freewrite prompt: “Consider these two statements from the story. Choose the one that reminds you of a personal experience you’ve had. Share your connection by writing about the place, people, feelings, and events. Begin by copying down the statement you choose.”
It seemed like everybody knew each other and I felt insecure.
I felt welcome and safe.

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

5. Pair share directions: Facing each other, and practicing active listening, partners should each take a turn sharing their responses to the freewrite prompt. Each speaker will have two minutes to talk and is in charge of what they choose to share from their writing. The listener does not need to respond. You can use a timer or wait until the hum of conversation dies down before closing the activity.

6. Thank students for sharing their experiences and connections.

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: Ask students to read for moments in the story when Lisuini discovers something about himself (self-awareness). When this occurs in the text students should draw a star in the margins of the story.

5. While sitting in a circle, read the story aloud together. Stop and discuss periodically, supporting peer-to-peer talk and non-judgmental listening. You can pose an open question such as, “What stands out to you in this section and why?”

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

1. Introduce the the discussion activity by explaining to the group that they will be thinking about what Lisuini learns at the Boys & Girls Club.

2. Text-based discussion directions:
• Draw on the board/chart paper a T with the left side labeled “What Lisuini learns about himself” and the right side “What Lisuini learns about where he belongs.”
• Ask students to share specific examples from the text (starred in the margins) that show Lisuini gaining insights about his strengths, needs, skills, goals, and interests. Write up their responses on the left side of the T chart. Facilitate a brief discussion that promotes understanding of how his experiences at the club help Lisuini become more self-aware.
• Next, ask students to share specific examples from the text (starred in the margins) that show Lisuini gaining insights about what kind of environment is the best fit for him to be successful. Write up their responses on the right side. Facilitate a brief discussion that promotes understanding of how Lisuini learned what environment works best for him through his experiences at the club, and how this knowledge could help him in the future.

3. Transition the group to the draw it activity by restating that Lisuini’s story shows us that finding a place to belong helps you grow as a person and provides an opportunity to give back and help others. Read this excerpt aloud:
“Last year at the Boys & Girls Club was the first time I was old enough to mentor the younger kids. I volunteer for coaching flag football and basketball. If we lose I always tell them to keep their heads up and keep trying…Some of the kids talk to me about their problems outside the club and I try to help them. I wouldn’t be this generous if it wasn’t for the Boys & Girls club; they changed me. Having younger kids look up to me makes me feel proud.”

4. Draw it directions:
• Say to the group, “Think about a community place in your life that you belong, like Lisuini does at the Boys & Girls Club. Many of us, however, are still looking for that place. If you don’t have one, imagine the community place you wish you belonged to. You may want to revisit your earlier freewrite.”
• Next, , ask students to use a blank piece of white paper to draw a place they belong (or could belong to). They should include the following in their drawing (post up on the board/chart paper):
— The name of the community place and a brief description of it
— An activity that occurs there that you participate in
— How it feels to be there; what the environment is like
— How you grow as a person
— What you contribute to others
— Include speech bubbles for dialogue and thought bubbles for thinking/feelings
• Invite students to share their drawings, as time allows

5. Thank students for being thoughtful members of the group and working to make connections to Lisuini’s story. Afterwards, consider the drawing and discussion that occurred in the group. How can you help connect your students to community places that can help them grow and contribute?
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[Other Teacher Resources]
(NYC-2015-11-11)

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