Prayers for Bobby Book & Movie

For this unit, you will be covering both the book and movie Prayers for Bobby.  (Lesson Plan)  With this lesson, it will take at least two weeks to do since you will be covering a book and a movie.  But I would personally budget three weeks for this unit.

With this book and movie combo, you will be covering two different mediums for delivering the same story.  One nice thing about this is that it since you will be covering two different sources, English professors and classes could adapt this lesson for their course.  However, the main goal of this unit is to cover how two different set of people ~ a book writer and editors | screenwriters and film producers ~ go about telling the same story.

This is helpful for the fact that you can go about discussing with your class about what both sets of people decided which aspects of the story was worth telling.  Mainly, how the writer of the book and his editor(s) wrote the book and then how the movie was based off of the book; which this could lead to the discussion to what is viewed to be the most important about this story.

The lesson plan states how that once the you are done with the movie, you will discuss the two works.  There are several different ways that you can do this, but the main thing ~ as stated before ~ is to discuss what are viewed to be the most important parts of the story.  Another thing that is important to discuss is the religious aspect of the story.  The reasons why this should be brought up is that religion always seems to creep up into the conversation of the LGBT community.

In terms of the paper, a reaction paper may be the best way to go about it.  A five page paper should suffice with it being doubled spaced.  Or you could change the length of the paper could easily be increased to seven or eight pages doubled spaced since this does cover two works.  Yet, I think five pages is a good length.

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The Meaning of Matthew Book Unit

For this unit, your LGBT Topics or Literature Course will have the chance to read The Meaning of Matthew Shepard by Judy Shepard and articles relating to the Matthew Shepard murder.  (The Meaning of Matthew Unit Plan)  For this unit, the main focus will be reading The Meaning of Matthew.  The articles and video links that are included in the lesson plan can help in aiding in discussing the book.

As for adapting the lesson and evaluating the students, the unit plan allows for some wiggle room for how you can do these: a paper and quizzes.  With the paper route, you can go the route of having a Reaction Paper due.  This idea is great one for the fact that it would be hard to do a paper otherwise potentially.  Yet, if you wanted, you could have your students do a research paper.  In terms of the quizzes, they can be based on any number of the things in the book and what you view as important for the students to know.

For the articles and videos that are included in the lesson, these may be useful for the simple fact that they can add to the learning that can be done.  The articles that I included are mostly from the year or so that Shepard died.  This will allow you to use aids from when the Shepard died.  I believe that this is useful for the fact that you will be able to reach back in time in a sense and have a much better viewpoint of what was going on at the time of the murder without over a decade plus years worth of reflection.

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It Gets Better Essays: Set #1

The first set of essays from the book It Get’s Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying, & Creating A Life Worth Living, edited by Dan Savage and Terry Miller, are essays from both people in well-known positions and people who are just well-known.  (It Get’s Better Book Essays #1 Lesson Plan)

The essays that I choose to go together well:

The Three Messages

The first three, all though they are called “message” instead of being a straight up essay, talk about teens being bullying for being gay or perceived as gay and them taking their lives.

Since Obama, DeGeneres, and Clinton do talk about teenagers who’ve taken their lives due to being LGBT, an additional resource you may want to bring into this unit are some news articles for a reference point.  Here are some news articles that may be beneficial for the discussion part of these essays:

  • Tyler Clementi’s suicide as reported in People Magazine.  Clementi had committed suicide after his roommate and a floor mate at Rutgers University recorded Clementi in a private setting of his room while making out with another guy.  Once Clementi found out about this, Clementi committed suicide on September 22, 2010
  • A second possible article that talks about Michele Bachmann and the 9 LGBT Suicides.  This article takes more of a focus on political side of the suicides because of Bachmann.  Regardless of the reason why the attention these suicides got, this article would be the great for the fact that it gets to the point of the messages that Obama, DeGeneres, and Clinton gave.
All three Messages are typed up in the book It Gets Better, but here the videos from YouTube.
Obama’s Message

Here is Obama’s Message:

Obama’s message has an interactive transcript ~ if you got to YouTube to watch it ~ that would allow you to have your students to watch and read Obama’s message in class.

DeGeneres’ Message

DeGeneres’ message comes from an episode of her TV Show:

Clinton’s Message

Clinton’s message has a similar setting of Obama’s:

The Two Essays

With the two essays, Hilton’s is told from more of a first hands experience of what it is like being a LGBT community member and how that the process takes time to get out of the place of people mocking and picking on you.  With Bishop Hanson’s essay, he writes from someone who can only imagine what it’s like being picked on for being LGBT and how it takes time for people who are bullied and ends his essay with saying that he trusts in God enough to use himself to help make it better.

In Class Discussion

For the in class discussion, you could lead the class in a discussion of how the messages and the essays differ and are similar in their messages.  You can also lead the discussion how having these five figures who are high-profile ~ some, of them are in more of a position that’s more well-known than others ~ can create more role models.  A third ting that can be discussed is the structure of the messages and essays and how that contributes to the over all effect of them.

Reflection Paper

The students should write a 1,200 word paper on the messages and essays that they had to read.  The paper should have an argument about if the student either liked or disliked them and use examples from the messages and essays to help support their claim.  The students should also be encouraged to use some of the in class discussion that happened to help support their claim.

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Teaching the book “Luna”

Julie Anne Peters‘ book Luna is a perfect book to use as a teaching tool.  (Luna Lesson Plan)

Book Info

In the book, Perters explores family dynamic and gender roles in this book about a transgendered teen ~ Liam/Luna ~ and their sister, Regan.  The book is told through Liam’s sister’s point of view and has a series of flashbacks.  As the book progresses, we see how Liam’s wanting to transition and other things like Liam not wanting to conform to their father’s expectations of being a male effects Regan and how she handles this.

Book Reviews

One blogger who runs the site “Brusk Up On Your Reading” posted a review that states:

I loved that it discussed something as hugely misunderstood as transgender, and that the author did not shrink from laying the truth bare about these individuals

Jack Radish of “YA Book Review” stated:

While I’m a huge advocate of incidentally trans characters in teen literature, I was still a little bothered by this story.

On “The Uncustomary Book Review,” Kat Kiddles stated:

Usually, I am not a huge fan of books that are assigned to me. However, once I started reading Luna, I could not put it down.

As you can see, there are some mixed views on the book, yet for the most part, there are more positive reviews for it.  Which, I believe, is very encouraging for a good reason why this book that can be taught.

Possible Reading Schedule

There are two different ways that this book can be taught with a teaching schedule:

  • If class meets one day a week, then the whole book can be read for one week
  • If the class meets two days a week, have half of the book read for each class period.
  • If the class meets three days a week ~ or more than that if it’s a high school class ~ figure out how many chapters you want to assign for reading taking into account enough time for discussing.  A possible way is to do so would be to divide the number of chapters by the how many days you want to discuss the book
Discussion Questions

There are many different questions that can be clearly be brought up, which you’ll notice once you’ve read the book.  Here is a good starting list:

  1. What is the different between being Transgender and being Gay, Lesbian, or Bisexual?
  2. What are some of the gender roles that are shown in this book and why do they play a role in the book?
  3. The parent’s reactions to Liam are both different when Liam comes out to them about how he’s transgendered.  We see this through the book ~ not just about Liam coming out ~ about how Liam prefers more feminine things than masculine.  How does this effect Liam’s transition to Luna?

These three questions, along with the ones that the students should have, should be enough to start a lengthy discussion.

Resources for Questions

For the first question on the difference between Transgender and being Gay, Lesbian, or Bisexual, the following websites are helpful teaching aids:

With the Gender Roles question, these links should be helpful:

  • has a page about gender roles.
  • There is a one post blog that gender roles.  This blog post breaks down several different things that go into gender roles, such as cultural aspects that go into gender roles.
  • Keep Safe Stay Cool (a website from Australia) has a page about Gender Roles & Stereotypes.

The paper that you will require from the students should be focused on Gender Roles and how they play a role in the book with Transgender identity or something along those lines while using examples from the book.  The reason why this topic ~ or something along those lines ~ should involved gender issues for a book that deals with a transgender character is because of how gender roles are extra confusing for someone who is confusing.

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