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Teacher Lesson Return to "This Angel’s No Angel"
This Angel’s No Angel
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ELA Literacy & Social and Emotional Learning
This Isn’t Working Out

Story Summary: During the first week of high school, the writer begins a relationship with a boy whose confidence she finds attractive. Soon though he starts pressuring her to do things she doesn’t want to do, like have sex, and begins to treat her poorly when he’s around his friends. After struggling to communicate their differences, they call off the relationship.

Lesson Objectives and Common Core Connections
• Students make personal connections to a text and successfully participate in story-based activities and discussions.
• 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. After welcoming the group, explain that they will be doing an activity where they will move around, interact with one another, and hear multiple perspectives on a topic.

2. While the group is still seated, review the activity procedure for Concentric Circles. Tell the group:
• "We will form two standing circles, one inside the other.”
• "Each person will face a partner.”
• "I will read questions aloud and everyone will have a chance to respond while their partner listens.”

3. Divide the group into two. One way to do this is to have group members count off 1-2. (If you don’t have two equal groups, you can join one.)

4. Clear a space in the middle of the room and have the 1s stand and form a circle facing outward.

5. Have the 2s stand and form a second circle around the first one, facing inward.

6. Explain to the group that the person they’re facing will be their first partner.

7. Tell them:
• "Partners will take turns responding to a question that I ask.”
• "When one person speaks, the other listens.”
• "Each person should speak for about one minute. Make sure both of you get a chance to talk.”
• "When time is up, I will ask one circle to rotate and everyone will have a new partner.”

8. Pose this question to the group:
• “Should nice guys finish last? Why or why not?”

9. After two or three minutes are up (you might want to use a timer to keep track), ask the inside circle to move two people to the right while the outside circle stands still. There should be new pairs formed.

10. Repeat the process using these other questions:
• "How do you know it’s time to end a relationship with a boyfriend or girlfriend?”
• "What do you think it means to be in a healthy relationship with someone you’re dating?”

11. Have everyone return to their seats.

12. Time permitting, lead a discussion by asking group members to describe some of the good points that were made during their conversations. They can also share times they agreed or disagreed with their partner, new ideas that their partner gave them, or questions they still have about the topic.

13. Thank group members 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 leader, 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 notice when the writer brings up qualities about her boyfriend that should be a warning sign or a red flag for her. When that happens, write a “!" in the margin.

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 to share what they wrote a “!” next to and why. Alternately, you can pose an open question such as “What stands out to you in this section and why?”

6. When you finish the story, ask the group to discuss their reactions to the story. They can turn and talk to a neighbor before you discuss as a whole group.

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

1. Introduce this discussion activity by saying to the group:
• "Now that we’ve read the story, we’re going to do a small group activity where we discuss how young people should treat one another in a relationship.”

2. While they are still seated, preview the directions with everyone:
• The whole group will break up into small groups of three or four.
• Each group will need a piece of paper that they can write on, and a pen or pencil.
• Groups will find a comfortable place to sit together and form a small circle, so everyone can easily listen to one another.
• Once groups are ready, they will brainstorm some ideas in response to a prompt written on the whiteboard or a piece of chart paper (in bold below).
• One member of each group will volunteer to facilitate the discussion. He or she will read make sure everyone has an opportunity to respond.
• Someone else in the group should serve as recorder to write down ideas that the group comes up with.

3. After checking for understanding, have group members form small groups and find spaces in the room to talk.

4. When all groups are settled, read the prompts visible for all to see:
• Dating partners have the RIGHT to certain things (like the right to speak their mind) and a RESPONSIBILITY to their partner (like a responsibility to not cheat).
• With your group, come up with a list of 10 RIGHTS and RESPONSIBILITIES that you feel teen dating partners should live by to keep their relationship healthy.

5. Each group should choose a facilitator and get started.

6. During discussions, move around the room as a silent observer. Do not join the discussions. If you notice that a group needs support, guide them back to the prompts.

7. After about 8 minutes, gain everyone’s attention and ask groups, one at a time, to share out some of the key points they came up with.

8. While groups share, record ideas on another piece of chart paper or on the white board. Allow other groups to comment or ask questions of one another after one has shared.

9. Once groups have had an opportunity to share some of their key points, lead a discussion where you try to identify the top three RIGHTs and RESPONSIBILITIES out of all that have been described. Consider holding a vote and circling the three from each category that received the most votes.

10. Conclude the discussion by asking, “What can you do to make sure that your rights and responsibilities, and those of your partner, are respected in relationships?”

11. Thank group members for sharing when you’re out of time.
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