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The Great Escape
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ELA Literacy & Social and Emotional Learning
Saving Yourself From Social Media

Story Summary: Salenna has a love-hate relationship with social media for most of her teen years. While she likes that it connects her to friends, she doesn’t like how it makes her uncomfortable with being alone and how it encourages constant comparisons between herself and others. In the end she decides it isn’t worth it and deactivates her account.

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. Before the group begins, write ‘agree’ on a sheet of paper and ‘disagree’ on another. Then post them on opposite walls of the classroom.

2. After welcoming the group, tell them that they will be doing an activity that allows them to move around while learning more about what they and their peers think about a topic.

3. While the group is still seated, review the directions. Tell them:
• "On either end of the room, there are signs that read ‘agree’ and ‘disagree.’ ”
• "I will read a statement and you will decide whether it’s true for you (agree) or not (disagree). Then you will move somewhere in between the two signs that reflects your opinion. If you’re unsure, you should stand somewhere in the middle.”
• "Once everyone has moved, I will invite volunteers to share why they chose to stand where they are.”

4. Clear a space and ask group members to stand somewhere between the two signs.

5. Read the first statement and ask group members to move to a spot between the two signs that reflects their opinion:
• "Social media use is a problem for young people in my generation.”

6. Once all group members have moved in response to the statement, ask them to notice where other group members are standing. (You can support minority positions by moving closer to someone who is alone at one end of the continuum.)

7. Ask at least one group member standing on either end of the continuum to share why they are standing where they are. Tell group members they may change their position if they are influenced by another group member’s opinion.

8. After each question, have everyone return to the middle.

9. Repeat for each statement:
• "The picture you get of someone from their social media profile is usually a truthful one.”
• "Social media is good for friendships.”
• "Communicating face-to-face is better than communicating through social media.”

10. Have everyone return to their seats and thank group members for sharing their opinions.

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 group 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 identify what stands out for them in the text, or when they have a reaction to something in it. When this occurs, students should write an “*” 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 an “*” 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 activity by saying to the group:
• "Now that we’ve read the story, we’re going to do a Journaling activity about your relationship with social media.”
• "This is a chance to express your thoughts and feelings without worrying about spelling and grammar.”
• "There are no right and wrong answers to these questions, just your own ideas.”
• "If you don’t know what to write or get stuck, just keep your pencil to paper and keep writing the last word you thought of over and over until a new idea comes.”

2. Read the prompt aloud from the chart paper you’ve prepared:
• What do you or your friends struggle with when it comes to social media use?
• How do you control your social media use? What works and what doesn’t?
• What advice would you give you a younger peer or sibling about social media?

3. Pass out journals or notebook paper and pencils.

4. Give group members about 7 minutes to write. Move around the room offering encouragement and support.

5. When 7 minutes are up, tell group members to finish their last thought and put their pencils down.

6. Explain to the group that they are now going to do a Pair Share. Tell them to turn to the person next to them and take turns sharing the parts of their responses that they feel comfortable sharing.

7. Each member of the pair should take about a minute to share. Cue partners to switch roles after the first minute. Use a timer or wait until the hum of conversation dies down before refocusing the group.

8. Lead a discussion by asking group members to describe some of the highlights of their conversations. They can share connections they made with their partners’ writing, new ideas that their partner gave them, or questions they still have about the topic.

9. Thank group members for sharing and listening.
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