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Teacher Lesson Return to "Expected to Fail"
Expected to Fail
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ELA Literacy & Social and Emotional Learning
An Open Mind to the Future

Story Summary: As an African-American male who grew up in foster care, Orland feels double stigma. But a professor's comment makes him determined to succeed in college.

Lesson Objectives and Common Core Connections
• Students make personal connections to a text and successfully participate in story-based activities and discussions.
• Students have an expanded sense of agency and believe that their actions can make a difference in their own lives.
• Students are able to recognize how they can shape their identity and future.
• Students will read and comprehend literary nonfiction proficiently (CCLS R.10).
• Students are able to use textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says, as well as drawn inferences (CCLS R.1).

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. Go-Round Share directions: Invite students to think about a behavior, belief, or attitude they used to have, but have changed, and what the impact of this change has been. After some think time, have student go around the circle completing the following sentence in a way that is true for them:

I used to _________________ but now I _________________ and so _________________.

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. This will help them read for a purpose and be prepared to use the text in later activities.
• For the first part of the story, have students read for examples of obstacles Orlando faces (people, situations, events, beliefs, behaviors, attitudes). Instruct students to draw a star next to these examples.
• Stop before the section “Proving Him Wrong.” Invite students to share examples of obstacles. Next, have them make predictions about what they think will happen in college for Orlando.
• For the second part of the story, have students read for examples of shifts that happen in Orlando’s thinking and behavior.

After Reading the Story (20 min)
During this post-reading activity students will make connections, build understanding, and rehearse positive behaviors.

1. Double Entry Journal directions: On a piece of paper, or in a journal, have students draw two columns as shown below.

2. On the left, have students write specific quotes from the story that show shifts in Orlando’ thinking and behavior. These are the turning points that occur for him in college.

3. On the right, have students write their responses to the text. These can include opinions, personal connections, questions, and inferences.

4. Finally, bring the group together and invite students to share examples from their journals. Facilitate a discussion that highlights how Orlando’s growth mindset about his future enabled him to see himself and others differently. With an open mind to new experiences he was able to take risks in new situations that ultimately led him to build a connection to college and his future.

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