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Lesson Plan # 4

Name: Elizabeth Davis

Lesson Title: Talking About Trauma

Subject Area and Grade Level: ELA 9th


Overview of This lesson, the fourth in the unit, builds on students understanding of
Instructional Plan sexual assault and survivors to investigate the nature of trauma more
broadly. As an understanding of both the definition of trauma and
different responses to trauma is central to answering the essential
question of the unit, these issues are covered in detail in this lesson.
Since mental health is still a somewhat taboo topic today in America, the
opening activity will both gauge the students attitudes toward mental
illness and illustrate the real-world importance of discussing the issue in
class. This formative assessment will be followed by an introduction to
trauma and PTSD using multimedia, definitions that the students will
apply to their study of Speak in this class and in future classes. Journal
entries and whole-class discussion will serve as formative assessments of
the students abilities to interpret the theme of silence as an expression
of trauma on an increasingly individual level. To extend students
understanding of this subject, students will read an excerpt of I Know
Why the Caged Bird Sings that portrays a young womans response to
trauma in a different situation. Students will analyze the depictions of
trauma and silence in this text, synthesizing the evidence from both the
novel and the autobiography to build statements of theme. The students
will conclude class with independent practice in interpreting theme,
analyzing the popular musician Lady GaGas portrayal of trauma in her
song Till It Happens to You.
Content Standard(s) RL.9-10.2
(include NC ELA Determine a theme of a text and analyze in detail its development over
Standards and NCTE the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and
Standards) refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.

Present information, findings, and supporting evidence clearly, concisely,
and logically such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the
organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to
purpose, audience, and task.

NCTE Standard 1
Students read a wide range of print and non-print texts to build an
understanding of texts, of themselves, and of the cultures of the United
States and the world; to acquire new information; to respond to the
needs and demands of society and the workplace; and for personal
fulfillment. Among these texts are fiction and nonfiction, classic and
contemporary works.
Content Objective(s) Students will analyze the theme of silence as an expression of trauma in
Based on Content both Speak and I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, citing evidence from
Standard(s) both texts in class discussion to support their interpretations.

Academic Language Students will analyze the theme of silence as an expression of

Function Objective(s) trauma in Speak and I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.
Students will synthesize evidence from two different texts to
support a theme statement about silence as an expression of
Additional Language Students will add trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder to their
Supports (e.g., vocabulary, and they will become more familiar with the discourse of
vocabulary, discourse, theme, specifically theme statements.
Essential Question(s) Unit EQ: How do violence and trauma affect young women?
for Students to
Explore Lesson EQ: How do survivors express their trauma?
Prior Knowledge Over the course of the semester, students have learned a variety
of annotation strategies and are expected to write one reaction to
the text on each page.
Students have often practiced working in groups and keeping their
specific audience in mind while speaking in class.
Students grasp the basic idea of a theme and have written theme
Prior to this lesson, students have written a short informational
text defining sexual assault and survivors.
Students have discussed the setting of Melindas high school and
its cliques, and they have characterized Melinda and her
relationships with her parents, her former friend Rachel, and her
friend Heather.
Students have talked about how Melindas silence about her
assault develops her character.

21st Century Skills Make Judgments and Decisions
Effectively analyze and evaluate evidence, arguments, claims and
Communicate Clearly
Articulate thoughts and ideas effectively using oral, written and
nonverbal communication skills in a variety of forms and contexts

Learning Activity Reading Process Activity Types

Types Activating/Generating Knowledge
Reading Discussion
Whole Class Literature Study
Descriptive Analysis
Critical Analysis/Reflection
Note Taking
Literature Reading
Nonfiction Reading
Creating Text-Related Artifacts
Writing Process Activity Types
Freewriting/Guided Freewriting
Oral Speaking/Performance Activity Types
Listening/Watching Activity Types
Listening Actively
Watching Actively
Formative Assessment The activities for the bell ringer will help the instructor determine the
(attach specific students prior knowledge and comfort with the subject of trauma, since
instructions and/or the students will be discussing how informed they are and how much
examples) they would prefer to discuss this topic.

The rest of the students journal entries, consisting of free writes and
notes taken in group and partner discussions, will reflect their ability to
apply their understanding of the concept of trauma to the interpretation
of the three texts provided in class. As instruction in textual
interpretation continues over the class period, supports will be faded
from direct instruction to group work to partners to individual work. The
students will gradually begin building toward evidence that will help
support their statements of theme. Each succeeding entry in the journal
will illustrate whether the student is able to navigate textual
interpretation on a more individual level and what elements of analysis
the instructor needs to emphasize. These entries will also help the
instructor determine whether the students have gaps in their
understanding of trauma that need to be addressed. The instructor will
also address these information gaps during the whole-class
comprehension checks after the group work activity on Speak and during
the At the Point of Utterance activity.
Summative The final project for this unit will be a PSA poster interweaving artistic
Assessment (attach representations of Andersons novel with a call to action to end violence
specific instructions or against young women. This poster will be accompanied by a written
examples; include explanation of two typed, double-spaced pages explaining the choices
connection to each student made in creating the poster. These posters will be displayed
content/language throughout the school for their peers to see. The following items must be
objective) included on the poster and must be logically connected:
One quote from the novel reflecting Melindas response to trauma.
Students will collect this evidence in their journal entry connecting
Melindas experience to that of PTSD survivors and in their two
journal entries surrounding their statements of theme.
One fact or statistic about trauma and survivors. Students have
been collecting these facts throughout the unit and will continue
to do so during the informational video on PTSD.
One artistic representation generated by the student reflecting
Melindas response to trauma.
One slogan connected to a theme of the novel that presents a call
to action to prevent violence against women. By brainstorming
statements of theme in this class, students will build toward this
element of the poster.

Lesson Plan
Materials 1. Computer/Internet/projector to display Plickers poll and Crash
Course video on PTSD, play Till It Happens To You
2. Guided notes on trauma and PTSD
3. Individual copies of excerpt from I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
4. Audiobook of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
5. Individual copies of lyrics to Till It Happens To You
6. Copies of Speak
7. Student journals
8. Paper/pencils
Organizational Lecture
Structures (e.g., Whole-class discussion
lecture, whole- class Group work
discussion, group Individual work
work, individual work)
Bell Ringer/Review 1. To prepare to learn about the concept of trauma, students will use
Activity Plickers to select responses to the following three questions
centered on the concept of mental health: How informed are you on
the topic of mental illness? How much do you think we should talk
about mental health? How many people in America do you think
suffer from mental illness each year? Questions 1 and 2 are
subjective, but the answer to Question 3 will be revealed as one in
five Americans (Bekiempis, 2014). Students will do a one-minute
free write in their journals to generate longer-form responses to
these initial questions (5 min).

Detailed Activities and 1. Students will copy down the definition of trauma, as defined by the
Procedures (include DSM-V, from the projector into their guided notes passed out at the
transitions, time beginning of class. Definition: Exposure to actual or threatened
allocations, & death, serious injury, or sexual violence through direct experience,
supporting witnessing, or a close relationship with a survivor. Based on this
theories/principles) definition, class will be asked to provide a list of events they would
label as traumatic from their prior knowledge, such as war, natural
disaster, or abuse, and to copy these examples into their guided
notes (2 min).
2. Class will be told that the specific mental illness associated with
trauma is post-traumatic stress disorder and will be instructed to fill
in guided notes at appropriate intervals corresponding to Trauma &
Addiction: Crash Course Psychology video on PTSD (0:00-7:08).
Video will be paused at information-dense moments to allow for
thorough note taking (10 min).
3. After watching video, students will remain in their seats as they are
informed that they will be working in groups. Class will be told that
they are each accountable for taking notes in their journals during
group and partner discussion to be turned in at the end of class.
They will be instructed to read back over their annotations in the
section of Speak that they are assigned, to determine what aspects
of PTSD they see in Melindas thoughts and behavior, and to
support their assertions with evidence from the text. Reiterate
importance of taking individual notes on group work. Students will
then be assigned to their groups of 4-5 students of mixed ability
levels in accordance with Vygotskys theory of the zone of proximal
development. Vygotsky states that grouping advanced students with
average to low-performng students in conversation about an
academic topic increases the skill level of all group members. Each
group will be assigned a maximum of fifteen pages of reading from
the novel in order to streamline the gathering of evidence (15 min).
4. One student out of each group will be assigned to present collective
findings about Melindas PTSD in whole-class discussion. Highlight
Melindas difficulty with speaking and its link to hyper-alertness and
negative emotions that people with PTSD experience (10 min).
5. As the class returns to their original seats, students respond to the
following prompt in their journals as a precursor to think-pair-share
work: Turn to page 45 and reread the section Nightmare. From
Melindas description, what do you think that IT is? Why do you
think she doesnt tell anyone about the presence of IT? Have
students discuss effect of her rapist being part of her community (8
6. Tell class that survivors respond differently to different types of
trauma and that none of responses we have discussed or will
discuss today are wrong. Briefly give bio of Maya Angelou. Tell
students to annotate one sentence in excerpt of Angelous work
they will read that they feel best expresses her trauma in being
forced to name and face her rapist in front of her community. Pass
out excerpts of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Students listen to
excerpt on audiobook, following along with excerpt on handouts (15
7. Jump-In Reading Exercise- The instructor will ask the students to
select a line from the excerpt of Angelou that moves them. They will
be told that they will each read their chosen line to the class, that
the lines do not need to be read in order, and that there is no limit
to the number of times the line can be read aloud. Each student
reads chosen line to rest of class (5 min).
8. Ask whole class what Angelous response to trauma in lines students
have chosen has in common with Melindas response to trauma.
Answers will vary, but should include both womens refusal to speak
after the traumatic event (2 min).
9. Three-minute free write in journals on the following prompt, then
students discuss with a partner: For the women in these two texts,
what is the relationship between silence/refusing to speak and
trauma? Instruct students to jot down their basic points and
supporting evidence in their journals (8 min).
10. Tell students they will be writing statements of theme from the
insights they have provided. Briefly go over rules for these
statements (full sentence answers, no moralizing, no sweeping
generalizations). Instruct students to take out their guided notes
and to work with their partners, writing their statements of theme
individually in their journals (2 min).
Closure (include Exit Ticket
review/reflection and 1. As students pass their journals to the front, pass out copies of the
independent practice) lyrics to Lady Gagas Till It Happens To You and index cards. Ask
students to follow along with the words while listening to the song,
then reflect on the message that the singer conveys about silence
and trauma, writing their thoughts on the index cards provided
before turning them in. If index cards are not available, students will
hold on to their journals for this activity and write their exit tickets in
their journals before turning them in (8 min).
Alternate Strategies 1. Watch the video Parents Explain PTSD To Their Kids. (Note:
for Re-teaching before watching the video, explain that there will be some brief
Material mentions of attempted suicide, attempted murder, and deaths in
war). Discuss the following questions: How does the video define
PTSD? What events do the video subjects mention as triggering
their PTSD? List ways in which the video subjects responded to
these traumatic events long after they took place. What is the effect
of having these subjects discuss their mental illness with their
children? Does this approach change your perspective on this
References (within Link to Newsweek article about mental illness found here:
this lesson)

Link to definition of trauma found here:

Link to Crash Course PTSD video:

Link to I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings excerpt (Chapter 13) found

Link to Till It Happens To You lyrics and song found here:

Link to Parents Explain PTSD To Their Kids:

NOTE: Attach or insert any materials used in this lesson.

Guided Notes

Definition of trauma:

Notes on Crash Course Psychology

________________ and _________________ are stress-related behaviors that can develop
from traumatic events.

Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) include:


PTSD is defined as a ____________________ disorder generated by either ________________

or ___________________ a ________________ event.

Clusters of symptoms involved in PTSD include ________________ the event,

________________ situations you ________________ with the event, _______________
physiological _______________, and _______________ changes in _______________ and
_____________ is a period of feeling emotionally flat, and __________________ is a feeling
that a situation is surreal or unreal.
________________ abuse is one way that PTSD sufferers cope with trauma.

PTSD has some similarities with _____________ disorders.

___________ and __________ support can result in ___________________________,

positive psychological changes that results from the struggle with life crises.
Excerpt from Chapter 13 of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

In the hospital, Bailey told me that I had to tell who did that to me, or the man would hurt another
little girl. When I explained that I couldnt tell because the man would kill him, Bailey said knowingly,
He cant kill me. I wont let him. And of course I believed him. Bailey didnt lie to me. So I told him.

Bailey cried at the side of my bed until I started to cry too. Almost fifteen years passed before I saw my
brother cry again.

Using the old brain he was born with (those were his words later on that day) he gave his information
to Grandmother Baxter, and Mr. Freeman was arrested and was spared the awful wrath of my pistol-
whipping uncles.

I would have liked to stay in the hospital the rest of my life. Mother brought flowers and candy.
Grandmother came with fruit and my uncles clumped around and around my bed, snorting like wild
horses. When they were able to sneak Bailey in, he read to me for hours.

The saying that people who have nothing to do become busybodies is not the only truth. Excitement is
a drug, and people whose lives are filled with violence are always wondering where the next fix is
coming from.

The court was filled. Some people even stood behind the church-like benches in the rear. Overhead
fans moved with the detachment of old men. Grandmother Baxters clients were there in gay and
flippant array. The gamblers in pin-striped suits and their makeup-deep women whispered to me out
of blood-red mouths that now I knew as much as they did. I was eight, and grown. Even the nurses in
the hospital had told me that now I had nothing to fear. The worst is over for you, they had said. So I
put the words in all the smirking mouths.

I sat with my family (Bailey couldnt come) and they rested still on the seats like solid, cold gray
tombstones. Thick and forevermore unmoving.

Poor Mr. Freeman twisted in his chair to look empty threats over to me. He didnt know that he
couldnt kill Bailey . . . and Bailey didnt lie . . . to me.

What was the defendant wearing? That was Mr. Freemans lawyer.

I dont know.

You mean to say this man raped you and you dont know what he was wearing? He snickered as if I
had raped Mr. Freeman. Do you know if you were raped?

A sound pushed in the air of the court (I was sure it was laughter). I was glad that Mother had let me
wear the navy blue winter coat with brass buttons. Although it was too short and the weather was
typical St. Louis hot, the coat was a friend that I hugged to me in the strange and unfriendly place.
Was that the first time the accused touched you? The question stopped me. Mr. Freeman had surely
done something very wrong, but I was convinced that I had helped him to do it. I didnt want to lie,
but the lawyer wouldnt let me think, so I used silence as a retreat.

Did the accused try to touch you before the time he or rather you say he raped you?

I couldnt say yes and tell them how he had loved me once for a few minutes and how he had held me
close before he thought I had peed in my bed. My uncles would kill me and Grandmother Baxter
would stop speaking, as she often did when she was angry. And all those people in the court would
stone me as they had stoned the harlot in the Bible. And Mother, who thought I was such a good girl,
would be so disappointed. But most important, there was Bailey. I had kept a big secret from him.

Marguerite, answer the question. Did the accused touch you before the occasion on which you claim
he raped you?

Everyone in the court knew that the answer had to be No. Everyone except Mr. Freeman and me. I
looked at his heavy face trying to look as if he would have liked me to say No. I said No.

The lie lumped in my throat and I couldnt get air. How I despised the man for making me he. Old,
mean, nasty thing. Old, black, nasty thing. The tears didnt soothe my heart as they usually did. I
screamed, Ole, mean, dirty thing, you. Dirty old thing. Our lawyer brought me off the stand and to
my mothers arms. The fact that I had arrived at my desired destination by lies made it less appealing
to me.

Mr. Freeman was given one year and one day, but he never got a chance to do his time. His lawyer (or
someone) got him released that very afternoon.

In the living room, where the shades were drawn for coolness, Bailey and I played Monopoly on the
floor. I played a bad game because I was thinking how I would be able to tell Bailey how I had lied
and, even worse for our relationship, kept a secret from him. Bailey answered the doorbell, because
Grandmother was in the kitchen. A tall white policeman asked for Mrs. Baxter. Had they found out
about the lie? Maybe the policeman was coming to put me in jail because I had sworn on the Bible
that everything I said would be the truth, the whole truth, so help me, God. The man in our living
room was taller than the sky and whiter than my image of God. He just didnt have the beard.

Mrs. Baxter, I thought you ought to know. Freemans been found dead on the lot behind the

Softly, as if she were discussing a church program, she said, Poor man. She wiped her hands on the
dishtowel and just as softly asked, Do they know who did it?

The policeman said, Seems like he was dropped there. Some say he was kicked to death.

Grandmothers color only rose a little. Tom, thanks for telling me. Poor man. Well, maybe its better
this way. He was a mad dog. Would you like a glass of lemonade? Or some beer?
Although he looked harmless, I knew he was a dreadful angel counting out my many sins.

No, thanks, Mrs. Baxter. Im on duty. Gotta be getting back.

Well, tell your ma that Ill be over when I take up my beer and remind her to save some kraut for

And the recording angel was gone. He was gone, and a man was dead because I lied. Where was the
balance in that? One lie surely wouldnt be worth a mans life. Bailey could have explained it all to me,
but I didnt dare ask him. Obviously I had forfeited my place in heaven forever, and I was as gutless as
the doll I had ripped to pieces ages ago. Even Christ Himself turned His back on Satan. Wouldnt He
turn His back on me? I could feel the evilness flowing through my body and waiting, pent up, to rush
off my tongue if I tried to open my mouth. I clamped my teeth shut, Id hold it in. If it escaped,
wouldnt it flood the world and all the innocent people?

Grandmother Baxter said, Ritie and Junior, you didnt hear a thing. I never want to hear this
situation nor that evil mans name mentioned in my house again. I mean that. She went back into the
kitchen to make apple strudel for my celebration.

Even Bailey was frightened. He sat all to himself, looking at a mans death a kitten looking at a wolf.
Not quite understanding it but frightened all the same.

In those moments I decided that although Bailey loved me he couldnt help. I had sold myself to the
Devil and there could be no escape. The only thing I could do was to stop talking to people other than
Bailey. Instinctively, or somehow, I knew that because I loved him so much Id never hurt him, but if I
talked to anyone else that person might die too. Just my breath, carrying my words out, might poison
people and theyd curl up and die like the black fat slugs that only pretended.

I had to stop talking.

I discovered that to achieve perfect personal silence all I had to do was to attach myself leech-like to
sound. I began to listen to everything. I probably hoped that after I had heard all the sounds, really
heard them and packed them down, deep in my ears, the world would be quiet around me. I walked
into rooms where people were laughing, their voices hitting the walls like stones, and I simply stood
still in the midst of the riot of sound. After a minute or two, silence would rush into the room from
its hiding place because I had eaten up all the sounds.

In the first weeks my family accepted my behavior as a post-rape, post-hospital affliction. (Neither the
term nor the experience was mentioned in Grandmothers house, where Bailey and I were again
staying.) They understood that I could talk to Bailey, but to no one else.

Then came the last visit from the visiting nurse, and the doctor said I was healed. That meant that I
should be back on the sidewalks playing handball or enjoying the games I had been given when I was
sick. When I refused to be the child they knew and accepted me to be, I was called impudent and my
muteness sullenness.
For a while I was punished for being so uppity that I wouldnt speak; and then came the thrashings,
given by any relative who felt himself offended.

We were on the train going back to Stamps, and this time it was I who had to console Bailey. He cried
his heart out down the aisles of the coach, and pressed his little-boy body against the window pane
looking for a last glimpse of his Mother Dear.

I have never known if Momma sent for us, or if the St. Louis family just got fed up with my grim
presence. There is nothing more appalling than a constantly morose child.
Till It Happens to You by Lady GaGa

You tell me: "It gets better, it gets better in time"

You say I'll pull myself together, pull it together
"You'll be fine"
Tell me, what the hell do you know?
What do you know?
Tell me, how the hell could you know?
How could you know?
Til it happens to you, you don't know how it feels
How it feels
Til it happens to you, you won't know
It won't be real
No, it won't be real
Won't know how it feels

You tell me: "Hold your head up

Hold your head up and be strong
'Cause when you fall, you gotta get up
You gotta get up and move on"
Tell me, how the hell can you talk?
How can you talk?
'Cause until you walk where I walk
It's just all talk
Til it happens to you, you don't know how it feels
How it feels
Til it happens to you, you won't know
It won't be real (how could you know?)
No, it won't be real (how could you know?)
Won't know how I feel

Till your world burns and crashes

Till you're at the end, the end of your rope
Till you're standing in my shoes
I don't wanna hear nothing from you, from you, from you
'Cause you don't know
Til it happens to you, you don't know how I feel
How I feel, how I feel
Til it happens to you, you won't know
It won't be real (how could you know?)
No, it won't be real (how could you know?)
Won't know how it feels
Til it happens to you, happens to you, happens to you
Happens to you, happens to you, happens to you
(How could you know?)
Til it happens to you, you won't know how I feel