Minilesson Title: Coming of Age Grade: 7th IRA/NCTE Standard #2: Students read a wide range of literature from many periods in many genres to build an understanding of the many dimensions (e.g. philosophical, ethical, aesthetic) of human experience. Lesson Objective: Students will self-select a themed coming of age book, maintain a reflective response journal, talk about the book’s theme with classmates, and write a personal essay on the coming of age theme. Note: This lesson will take several days to complete. 1. Introduce the topic – Ask students to think about their own adolescence. Help them to think about the issues and concerns that plague them as they turn from children to teenagers and young adults. Tell them that they are moving into another phase of their lives— and this time is sometimes called “coming of age.” Ask them what they think might be meant by this term, and help them to connect to the ideas of responsibility and maturity. Ask students if they have ever read any books that had main characters who were “coming of age.” List them on the board. 2. Share examples – Share additional titles of books you have collected, or know about, that deal with “coming of age” as a theme. Some suggested titles are: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Angelou A Place Called Ugly by Avi Tuck Everlasting by N. Babbitt My Brother Sam is Dead by the Collier brothers White Socks Only by Coleman Walk Two Moons by Creech The Watsons Go To Birmingham by Curtis The Midwife’s Apprentice by Cushman Monkey Island by Fox Julie of the Wolves by Craighead George To Kill a Mockingbird by Lee A Wrinkle in Time by L’Engle The Giver by Lowry Gathering Blue by Lowry Journey to Jo’Burg by Naidoo Island of the Blue Dolphins by O’Dell Hatchet by Paulsen Maniac Magee by Spinelli Let the Circle be Unbroken by Taylor Between Madison and Palmetto by Woodson 3. Provide information – Tell students that you would like them to locate one of these books, or another of their choosing that is grade and age appropriate and has a coming of age theme (you may want to assemble this text set ahead of time so that students can select a book easily). Tell them how many days they will have to read the book and to outline the expectations for the response journal, and tell them about the final paper. Arrange for them to meet and discuss their book with classmates two or three times during the book. 4. Guide practice – As students read, respond to, and discuss their individual books, monitor and support them as necessary. Provide time for whole class discussions to add ideas to the chart of what it means to “come of age” and to share stories of the characters in the books. 5. Assess learning – You will likely want to assess the response journals and the final papers. It’s appropriate to design and provide students with a rubric for each of these assignments in advance. It is also a good idea to monitor and evaluate the students’ conversations as they talk about the books.