The following section provides information regarding the lessons intended to be taught during the reading of the Quarter One Core Novel, The Skin I’m In by Sharon Flake. Each “lesson” uses supplemental texts to analyze the five main characters in the book. I want the students to explore these conflicting identities
the use of outside text and the voices of other authors. During this unit, the students will keep a journal. Each day, the students will answer a “do-now” or journaling question related to the character lesson that particular day. The students will use the notebook to draw connections to the characters in The Skin I’m In and the characters in the supplemental texts. Each character section features five main questions. The students will answer these in their journal using page numbers and excerpts from The Skin I’m In:
How does (The Skin I’m In character) see him/herself? What are his/her “non- negotiable” identities? How does the world view him/her? How does he/she conduce his/herself at school, versus at home? Are any of their identities a farce?
The last question referring to identities that may be considered a farce, d=some additional explanation may need to occur. By using this question, we are asking students to explore whether or not they adopt identities to appear to be something they are not in order to fit in. Sometimes, we can wear these well and act accordingly, and other times they feel grossly unnatural, and are something one cannot possibly keep up forever. This is typical of Middle school students, and I feel it is an important aspect of themselves to analyze. It is easier to identify it in the characters in this book, and with this question, I am hoping they can translate the idea to how they present themselves to the world. Students will also answer some or all (or variations of) the following questions of each character analysis:
What does (character from The Skin I’m In) have in common with (character in supplemental text)? What advice do you think (character from The Skin I’m In) could offer to (character in supplemental text,) and vice-versa? How might (character from The Skin I’m In) help (character in supplemental text) to understand their own struggle?
Can you identify with any of the emotions or decisions felt or made by the characters today? Why or why not? Explain using examples from the chapter.
I have provided information for more supplemental texts than is reasonable or necessary. It is up to the teacher’s discretion to choose texts that will work well with their own individual classes. Each supplemental text example features a short summary, and a short rationale for its use in line with The Skin I’m In.