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Teacher Lesson Return to "Girl Crazy"
Girl Crazy
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Reading, Discussion and Reflection: Keeping Secrets and Being True to Yourself

Objectives: Students will reflect on and discuss the pros and cons of keeping secrets.

Note to teacher/group leader: In this story the author tells her mother she is bisexual. Later in the story the writer realizes that she is a lesbian and decides to be completely open about her sexuality.

The lessons here focus on keeping secrets and the value of not lying to yourself or to others about essential parts of your identity. Try to focus the discussions on how the writer managed to reveal a secret that was at the heart of who she is.

Step #1: Read the story: Hand out copies of the issue and tell the group: “We are going to read a story about a girl who had the courage and confidence to tell her mother a secret that may have damaged their relationship. After we read the story we will discuss what happened in the story and think about keeping secrets.”

You can ask the group to read the story by themselves or you and they can take turns reading sections of it aloud.

Step #2: Reading Check Be sure that the group has understood the story. Ask them:
• At about what age did DeAnna realize she was attracted to both sexes?
• How does she feel just before she tells her mother her secret?
• What does she fear might happen if she tells her mother?
• How does her mother react to DeAnna’s revelation?
• How does she feel toward the end of the story when she’s open about being a lesbian?

Step #3: Discussion ideas Choose three questions to ask the group. Lead a five-minute discussion around each question.
• Why did DeAnna feel nervous about revealing her sexuality?
• Do you admire her for telling her mother the secret?
• Do you think DeAnna would be a phony or a hypocrite if she kept her secret from her mom and friends? Have you ever thought your were being phony or hypocritical about something in your life?
• Why do you think DeAnna felt compelled to reveal her secret? What was she afraid would happen if she didn’t tell her mom?
• What role did adults play in making her feel comfortable about being different?
• What are some adjectives you would use to describe the author?
• Everything turned out well for DeAnna in this story. Have you or someone you know ever regretted telling a secret?

Step #4:Group Activity
Goal: To help teens empathize with peers who are burdened by secrets; to show how secrets can prevent people from being their own true selves; to help students feel more comfortable about sharing secrets appropriately.

Method: Guided discussion.

Materials: Pens, paper.

• Ask the teens to come up with a list of secrets that people keep, such as failing in school, abusing alcohol or drugs, being in foster care, having no mother or father at home, etc. Write them on a board or easel paper.
• Ask the teens to choose one secret either from the list or from their own lives (they can choose how personal they want to get) and write it on a piece of 8 by 11.5 paper. Then ask them to write one reason why someone would want to keep that secret, and one reason why someone might want to reveal it.
• Now say: “A friend of yours has just revealed to you the secret you have just written about. Write five or six sentences saying how you would respond to your friend.”
• When everyone is done, ask teens to volunteer to read aloud what they’ve written.
• Reflection: Ask the teens what stood out for them in this exercise.
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[Other Teacher Resources]
(NYC-2010-11-26)

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