During this unit students will choose which novel best suits their interests, either Sherman Alexie’s Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, and Cynthia Kadohata’s Kira-Kira. Students will develop fundamental skills for independent learning including how to read a text (novel, poem, article, documentary, news story, etc.) and communicate clearly about their ideas on the pieces read. They will also develop collaborative skills based upon listening to other students’ ideas, evaluating those ideas, and building new understandings and questions based on the results of the process.


The essential question students will consider throughout is: “How do communities and their expectations shape our lives?” While considering this, students will compare and contrast their own experiences to each novel’s protagonist in an attempt to understand themselves and their own communities, as well as the characters’ lives in the novel. We will also explore the themes of race and identity, prejudice, growing-up in the face of adversity, and how hope and hard work is essential to any success.



Part Time Indian / Kira-Kira Unit Daily Plans



Skills / Materials / Objectives Bundle


Lesson Title: Choices


Overview: Students are given an overview of both Sherman Alexie's The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, and Cynthia Kadohata's Kira-Kira, and allowed to samples each book, and discuss with peers. Then students discuss with parents which book is right for them, and bring back a signed slip.




Book Choices: Lesson Plan


Book Choice Letter



Lesson Title: Superman and Me


Duration: one class


Overview: Students read Superman and Me by Sherman Alexie, and discuss making inferences from specific evidence about Alexie's life.



Superman and Me (lesson plans)


Superman and Me (essay)






Lesson Title: Communities and Cruel Poverty (PTI pgs 1-24 / KK pgs 1-23)



Duration: Two Classes


Overview: We talk about the essential question for the unit, then students read in order to find evidence that will allow them to make inferences about the wider communities in which their protagonists live. On day two we look at some of the issues that plague poverty ridden communities.


Communities, and Cruel Poverty (lesson plans)


Community Reading Notes (handout)


Lesson Title: Children of the Plains


Duration: Three Classes


Overview: Students watch ABC News documentary: A Hidden America – Children of the Plains, and collect evidence in the documentary of things that could negatively impact a child growing up. After watching students will make inferences as to what those negative things could lead to. Through this lesson we will be referring to our essential question: "How do communities and their expectations shape our lives?"



Children of the Plains (lesson)


Children of the Plains (T-Chart handout)


Children of the Plains (video, part 1)


Children of the Plains (video, part 2)



Lesson Title: Learning how to ask good questions


Duration: Two classes


Overview: Students learn the criteria of what good / bad questions are, and work on developing "good questions" from specific excerpts from their novel.


Good Questiions (Lesson Plan)


Good / Bad Questions Criteria (handout)


Good / Bad Questions Excerpts from reading #2 (handout)




Lesson Title: Supportive Discussion Skills


Duration: One Class


Overview: Students work on developing supportive verbal, and non-verbal discussion skills while discussing questions they constructed over the previous two classes.



Supportive Discussion Skills (lesson)





Lesson Title: Read, Re-read, and Question


Duration: One Class


Overview: PTI Students read – Go Means Go / Rowdy Sings The Blues / How To Fight Monsters (pgs 45 – 66), then re-read the following excerpts and create three discussion questions for each excerpt that will be used in class.


KK Students read – Chapters 4 and 5 (pgs 42 – 73), then re-read the following excerpts and create three discussion questions for each excerpt that will be used in class.


No lesson plans, just instructions



Guided Reading 3 (handout)


Lesson Title: Refining Questions


Duration: One Class


Overview: Students re-read excerpts, then work in groups to refine their questions. They share a question, their group critiques the question, then work together to revise it.



Refining Questions (lesson plan)





Lesson Title: Follow-Up Questions


Duration: Two Classes


Overview: Students use their refined questions to do the "follow-up questions" exercise in which they answer questions, and develop skills of writing solid follow-up questions.



Follow-Up Questions (lesson plan)


Follow-up (exercise instructions)




Lesson Title: Hope


Duration: One Class


Overview: Students connect the theme of "hope for the future" from Part-Time Indian, and Kira-Kira to their own hopes and goals. They then consider obstacles to those goals, and who in their communities encourage and help them toward those goals. Then they do close-reading of several passages, and practice asking "good questions."



Hope (lesson plan)




Lesson Title: Does Hope Have A Color?


Duration: One Class


Overview: Students consider why "hope" seems to have a color in the novels, as well as in the real world. They re-read and discuss several excerpts, then watch and discuss two short videos (Kiri Davis's A GIRL LIKE ME, and a news segment on the trend of many Asian women opting for cosmetic surgery to make their eyes "brighter").




Does Hope Have A Color (lesson plan)


Asian Eye Surgery: Young Woman (6 min video)


A Girl Like Me (8 minute video)






Lesson Title: Romantic Hopes (PTI pgs 67 - 117 / KK pgs 74 – 128)


Duration: One Class


Overview: Focusing on the theme of romantic hopes students review excerpts of their books, as well as audio clips from each novel.


Romantic Hopes (lesson plan)


Katie's Romantic Fantasy: Jo-John Abondondalarama (audio clip)


Arnold's Fantasy Love: Dawn (audio clip)



Lesson Title: Gordy’s Guide to Reading and Inferences (PTI pgs 67 - 117 / KK pgs 74 – 128)


Time Frame: one class


Gordy's Guide to Reading and Inferences (lesson plan)



Lesson Title: The Rhetoric of Mascots, Team Names, and Logos


Time Frame: one class


The Rhetoric of Mascots, Team Names, and Logos (power point)



Lesson Title: Exceptional Excerpts


Time Frame: One Class (homework)



(homework) Reading Notes: Important Excerpts 1




Lesson Title: Cultures are not Costumes


Time Frame: One Class


Costumes Out of Cultures (PPT)



Lesson Title: Stereotypes, Self-Image, and Bullying (PTI pgs 67 - 117 / KK pgs 74 – 128)


Time Frame: one class


Stereotypes, Self-Image, and Bullying (lesson plan)


LinSanity: 60 Minutes (watch first seven minutes)


Politically "Lin" Correct (news segment video, 6 min)




Lesson Title: Written Conversations


Duration: Two Classes



Written Conversations (lesson plan)


Written Conversations (instructions)


Written Conversations Example (jpg)




Lesson Title: Save the Last Word for Me (PTI pgs 118 – 178 / KK pgs 128 – 179)


Time Frame: one class



Save the Last Word (lesson plan)




Lesson Title: Reading for DEATH, MOURNING, AND RECOVERY


Time Frame: One Class


Reading for Death, Mourning, and Recovery (lesson)


Death, Mourning, and Recovery (notes / instructions)






Lesson Title: How Privilege and Representation Matters


Time Frame: Two Classes


Overview: Students learn about the intersectionality of privilege, why representation in media matters through a number of exercises and discussions.



Privilege and Representation (lesson plan)


"Starring John Cho" video


Reel Injun: Dead Injun (documentary excerpt, 3 min)


"Whitewashing" on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (cleanish version of the video)



This is What Happens when Writers' Rooms Aren't Diverse (10 minute video)





Lesson: Listening to the Earth Turn


Time Frame: One Class


Overview: Students read a graphic novel as a class, and probe into the words, pictures, and themes of the story, not only developing written and spoken literacy, but also developing their visual literacy.


Listening to the Earth Turn (PPT)



Lesson Title: Written Conversations / Save The Last Word: Death, Mourning, and Recovery

(PTI pgs 179 – 230 / KK pgs 180 – 244)


Time Frame: two classes


Death, Mourning, and Recovery (Lesson Plans)



Lesson: Determining Themes


Time Frame: three classes


Determining Themes (lesson plan)


Topic vs. Theme (handout)


My Book Had Themes? (free reading assignment that would go well around the time of this lesson)


Lesson: The Future of Arnold and Katie


Time frame: Four classes



Arnold and Katie's Future (lesson plan)


Arnold and Katie's Future (essay handout)


Building an Argument (graphic organizer)



Arnold / Katie's Life in the Future (revised script and prompt 201415)


Arnold / Katie's Life in the Future (original essay script / prompt)




Lessons below this point are from last year, and in some cases under revision













Possible Materials


Lesson Title: Obituaries and Epitaphs

Time Frame: Five Classes


Imagining The Future: Obituaries and Epitaphs (PPT)


Obituary and Epitaph (handout)


Micro-Obituary Samples (handout)


Micro-Obituary / Epitaph Presentation Rubric



Lesson Title: The Outliers“10,000 Rule”

Time Frame: one class


The Outliers: Excerpts


Outliers: Math Fun



Lesson Title: The Outliers “Opportunities” and The Beatles

Time Frame: one class


Outliers (lesson plan)


The Outliers: Reflections



Off-Color Book Banned at ORR (standard times article)


Susan Cain - The Power of Introverts TED Talk (video)


Introverts (excerpted) article


What kind of Asian are you? (video)


Win vs. Fail (image)