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Teacher Lesson Return to "Good Enough to Be a Lawyer"
Good Enough to Be a Lawyer
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ELA Literacy & Social and Emotional Learning
Making Dreams Into Reality

Story Summary: Damia’s dream of becoming a criminal lawyer and her fear of confronting dangerous defendants collide when she moves to New York City from Ecuador. Then she lands an internship at the Queens District Attorney’s office where she learns she has the skills and courage to succeed.

Lesson Objectives and Common Core Connections
• Students make personal connections to a text and successfully participate in story-based activities and discussions.
• Students are willing to reflect on their sense of self and identity.
• Students recognize their strengths and challenges.
• 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. Introduce freewriting by explaining that students will have 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.)

2. Freewrite prompt: What is a dream you have for your future? What is a fear that could hold you back? What if you could overcome your fear and achieve your dream? What would that take, how would it feel, and what would it mean?

3. Partner Share directions: Students should select a partner and/or turn to the person next to them. Facing each other, and practicing active listening, partners 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. After two minutes, direct partners to switch roles.

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 text coding. This will help them read for a purpose and be prepared to use the text in later activities.

4. Text Coding directions: While reading aloud together, identify Damia’s dreams, fears, and your personal connections to her story. In the margins, write the following:
D (Damia’s dreams for her future)
F (Damia’s fears and worries)
C (Personal connections you make to Damia’s story from your life)

5. while still sitting in a circle, read the story aloud together. Stop and discuss periodically, supporting peer-to-peer talk and non-judgmental listening. To do this, ask for volunteers to share what they have text coded and why. Alternately, you can pose an open question like, what stands out to you in this section and why?

After Reading the Story (30 min)
During this post-reading activity students will make connections, build understanding, and rehearse positive behaviors.

1. Text-based Discussion directions: Write two columns on chart paper or your white board. Title one “Damia’s fears” and the other “Damia’s dreams.”
• Have students volunteer examples from the text and record them in the correct column.
• Have students identify fears she overcomes through her internship experience. Circle those.
• Have students identify fears that she discovers are strengths instead of obstacles. (For example, being bilingual.) Draw a star next to those.
• In small groups or pairs, have students discuss this question: “How did Damia’s internship experience help her to overcome her fears, discover her strengths, and take steps towards her dreams?”
• Invite volunteers to share with the larger group highlights from their discussion.

2. Personal Reflection directions: Reflecting on what we learned from Damia’s story, think about different places that could help you to overcome fears, discover strengths, and realize dreams. Write a brainstorm list of professions, settings, and issues you would be interested in exploring through an internship.

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