Lesson Plan: Language Arts
Student Resource: From
Skin Deep and Other Teenage Reflections by Angela
Media Type: Poetry
After completing this lesson, students will be able to:
- Describe the challenge during adolescence to gain peer
acceptance while developing one's sense of self.
- Recognize the influence that peers and the media have
on personal choices during the teen years.
- Identify physical and emotional changes that occur during
adolescence and describe their impact on relationships within
Introducing the Lesson
Locate and bring to class yearbooks or class portraits dating
back two or more decades. Open and display these on the board
rail or in some other prominent location, and invite students
to examine this makeshift photo gallery.
Ask students to return to their seats and discuss differences
between the teens in these pictures and themselves. Note on
the board comments about hair length and style, clothing,
jewelry, and other body and facial adornments.
Point out that the young people in these pictures are as
similar to one another in their appearance as they are different
from students of today. Ask: In what ways does a person's
physical appearance reveal a deep-down desire to be accepted
by others? In what way do these surface traits reflect a desire
to be differentto discover one's unique self-identity?
Explain that students are about to read three poems that
address these and related questions. Pass out copies of the
poems, and instruct students to read them individually or
in pairs, or have individuals read them aloud. Challenge students,
as they read, to identify what each speaker is like both on
and beneath the surface.
After students have completed the reading, you may either
use the following as class discussion questions or assign
them as individual or group work.
- Analyzing. In literature, irony is a contradiction
between what a character says and what the reader knows
is actually true. What is ironic about the capitalized words
in "Nonconformist"? What do these words reveal
about the speaker's self-identity?
- Evaluating. Related to self-esteem, self-image
is how a person sees and feels about himself or herself.
Would you say that the speaker in "Sunglasses"
has a positive self-image? Why or why not?
- Making Inferences. What do you think the speaker
in "Sunglasses" means when he says "no one
seems to understand me when I'm talking anyway"?
- Summarizing. In "Mom Says," how has the
relationship between the speaker and her mother changed
from the time when the speaker was a young child?
- Comparing and Contrasting. Which do you think has
a greater impact on the way teens of your generation look
and act: the media or one's peers? Explain your reaction.
- Analyzing. Rate the communication skills of the
speaker in "Mom Says" using a scale of 1 to 5,
where 5 is "Very strong" and 1 is "Very weak."
Explain your rating.
Integrating Literature and Health
Sometimes what people say and what they really feel are different.
In such cases, the surface messagethe person's wordshave
a subtext, or hidden message. Select one of the poems,
and discuss what words and phrases could be changed to reflect
the point of view of a person with a very positive self-image
and emotional outlook.