Displacement in Young Adult Literature
A 7th Grade Language Arts Unit

Unit Overview
This unit is geared towards a 7th grade Language Arts class. In this unit the focus will primarily be on the theme of displacement in young adult literature. Throughout the unit the class will learn about, and work with, “displacement” and how it relates to their lives and their growth. Student’s will be working with two primary texts: Ghost Girl by Tonya Hurley, a story about a high school girl who feels invisible and like she does not belong. In the process of “reinventing” herself, she chokes on a gummy bear, dies, and learns there is a school for ghosts in her old high school. Ghost Girl is trapped between her living world and accepting the ghost world, not really belonging to either. The other book students will be working with is: The Lightning Thief the first installment in the popular “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” series by Rick Riordan. This book follows young Percy Jackson as he finds out he is the son of Poseidon and is thus neither a God nor a human, caught somewhere between deity and mortal. He has to go to a special camp for demi-gods and ultimately must go on a quest to clear his name and save the mortal world. In addition, I will use several short stories including children’s stories to deal with the topic of displacement.
Each novel deals with a different type of displacement that we will explore throughout the unit. We will do a number of activities including free writes, creative writing, small and large group discussion, movie viewing, and a major multi-media project at the end of the unit. In addition to learning about displacement, students will learn about taking notes on a film, how to construct their own personal narrative, and how to compare and contrast different works of literature.
Students will work on developing a voice while writing about displacement as well as work with peer editing. I want students to work with constructive criticism so throughout the unit we will be working with the “sandwich” form of feedback (positive “constructive criticism” positive). Proper mechanics and creativity will be cultivated as we navigate the rough waters of adolescent displacement.
By the end of the unit students should be able to answer or discuss how journeys both physical and emotional differ between two people especially, when they are taking the same journey (such as transitioning to middle or high school) I hope the class discussion and literature will help students give reasoning for the difference. I hope to explore how different authors portray growing up and self-discovery. We will talk about how authors depict different types of journeys or times of displacement. We will ultimately compare and contrast the two authors from the unit and their approaches to journeys and displacement. Finally, students will explore and discuss how individuals including themselves deal with displacement and how displacement is a common occurrence when growing up. (Essential questions/goals).
Middle school children are going through many changes in their lives. The works they read should ring true with their emotions and challenges. By choosing “displacement narratives” as the over-arching theme of my unit, students will learn about literary figures that are going through the same trials and tribulations they are. Displacement is not always physical, it can be the feeling that you do not belong, or it can be the changes you go through as you grow up. Physically, it can be a relocation such as a move, or a change of school; either way most middle school students experience some displacement as they navigate the waters of adolescence. I am focusing on two specific texts. Both have fantastical elements and multiple layers of displacement. The first novel is Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief the second is Ghost Girl. Both focus on adolescents experiencing trying times. Percy goes through a physical and emotional journey while the girl in Ghost Girl goes through a unique existential journey. Students will be able to relate to both forms. Journeys are a large part of growing up. Journey scan be something as simple as the move from elementary school to middle school, or as complex as losing someone and relocating, journeys in themselves can be physical and emotional displacement. The texts I have chosen are new classics and will appeal to the middle school age group. This is a time when kids are not as interested in reading; by picking these popular and exciting stories I hope to encourage the students to read. I will be focusing the class on the different types of displacement seen in the novels. We will talk about physical and emotional journeys and connect them to the student’s lives. I will have students write their own displacement narratives and I will present other examples throughout the unit.
1. I will be focusing on teaching about and having students explore personal displacement. While reading the novels, students will be drawing parallels to their own lives. The real world connection and application of literary themes is important for students should realize that literature can relevantly connect to their own lives.
2. Students should begin developing a personal voice in their writing about displacement whether the writing is fictional or biographical. I want students’ writing to reflect who they are and their personal thoughts, and have an interesting sound. It is important to develop a personal voice in narration while going through school. Voice gives writing a meaning and direction, personality and it voice needs to be cultivated early and often. This is only the very beginning of voice development. Later in the year we will have a whole creative writing unit focused on voice and description.
3. I want students to understand the theme of displacement and why it is important. Displacement is a theme present in many novels and understanding the emotional effects of displacement on an individual can help with the understanding of the novel and motivation of the character as a whole. There are many forms of displacement and we will touch on a few to introduce students to this important theme in literature.
4. Students should be working well in groups for peer editing and peer reviews. Learning to work well with peers and offer and accept constructive “criticism” or “suggestions” teaches skills that will be valuable as students advance in life including mediation skills, cooperation, and compromise.
5. I will be introducing note-taking skills through taking notes during movies. This is the beginning of large note-taking tasks and students will be allowed ample practice time. Being able to take notes is important as students enter high school, college, and the work place, as it allows students to retain information for future use.
6. Students should be able to compare and contrast different literary works. Comparing and contrasting is used throughout school and life, whether it is comparing themes in novels or prices in the grocery. It is a skill that students will call upon many times in their life. We will work at comparing and contrasting the two novels throughout the second half of the unit and through to the final project.

Students will be asked to do a free write on their BLOG about what they think “displacement” means. There will be a list of questions on the board that they may wish to think about while free writing about displacement.
*What is displacement?
*Have you ever been displaced?
*Is everyone displaced sometime in life?
*Have you ever been on a personal/inner journey?

*Have you ever felt like you do not belong?
Students will have around 20 minutes to complete the free write. After they have completed their free write we will come together in small groups and share some responses. Once the small groups have synthesized we will convene as a full class and brainstorm ideas about what displacement is. I will then view their blogs responses and see where they are concerning voice, mechanics, and their grasp of the theme of displacement (beginning of objective 3).
Formative Assessment:
Throughout the unit, students will make daily blog entries about the novel. Some days there will be a specific prompt such as “Pick a passage that details a character’s inner emotion, why is this scene important. Please use quotes.” Students will be asked to respond to at least one other classroom blog. These blogs will help me see where students are with reading comprehension and whether they are keeping up with the reading assignments. Blogs will also help students with their writing about literature.

Summative Assessment:
For a final “summative” assessment, students will construct a creative project. Students will choose a scene from either one of the two books major books we read during the unit (The Lightning Thief or Ghost Girl). The scene should stand out the student as one exemplifying displacement (it can be physical, psychological, emotional etc). Once each student has chosen a scene, he or she will each create a representation of the displacement in the scene. This representation can be through but is not limited to: i-movie, garage-band, a collage, soundtrack, artistic representation, etc. Along with the project students will need to compose a short essay explaining the context of the scene, how the scene is one of displacement, and why they chose the scene. They will be encouraged to include important relevant quotes.
Students will then present in a forum setting. They will receive feedback sheets from their peers stating one positive thing, one piece of constructive suggestion for future presentations, and another positive aspect of the project. This assignment will help me see if students grasped the underlying theme of displacement in the novels and how well they were able to represent it creatively (objective 3). The presentation forum will help students work in an environment with constructive “criticism” or “suggestions” (objective 4).
Other Projects and Assignments:
1. Students will write their own displacement narratives. They can choose to do a personal narrative about an experience they have had with displacement or they can choose to write a fictional displacement narrative. Students can choose to do this in video, “radio”, or paper form, however they MUST include a script if creating a film or radio piece. This assignment will include a stream of conscious writing activity, peer editing, and a short presentation of the finished product to a small group. This project will take place in the beginning few days of the unit and students will be given a week to produce a finished product. This assignment will help students think about how displacement applies to them (objective 1). In addition to helping students relate displacement to their own lives, this assignment will help them develop personal voice in writing (objective 2). Throughout the process we will talk about voice, and how it is important when writing. I will read a few short stories with a strong sense of personal voice such as an exert from Sherman Alexie’s young adult novel Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian and Cisneros’s House on Mango Street. We will have a group discussion about how the voice adds dimension to the story. As students write their own narratives they will work in small groups for peer-editing/revising/suggestions. Students will make suggestions about how to add voice and dimension to one another’s work. Students will also meet with me for a one –on-one conference during the writing process, so that I can better see where they are regarding voice and the concept of displacement. Finally the students will read or show their finished products to a small group and discuss the scenes of displacement present. At the end of the project students will write a blog entry about the voice development process and how they thing they changed throughout the project. Finally the students will post their finished product the their blog.
2. After students finish reading The Lightning Thief they will watch the movie version in class. Before viewing I will model and have students practice taking notes while watching films (objective 5). I will break the students into 4 different groups each with a different aspect of the movie to focus on: Percy before he realizes he is a demi-god, Percy at the beginning of Camp Half-Blood, the first half of Percy’s journey up until Washington DC, and the second half of Percy’s journey. Students will watch the movie version of The Lightning Thief and take notes on important changes to the book in their given scenes. Once they have viewed the movie the students will break into their groups and discuss the changes with emphasis on the affect of the changes on the theme of displacement. The teams will be asked to each make a poster highlighting the changes in their part, and the changes’ impact on the interpretation of the story. The groups will then present their findings to the whole class.

Lesson Plans
Lesson 1
Lesson 1 Overview:
This lesson will take two 60-minute class periods. I will focus THIS description on day one of the lesson. The second day will focus on introducing the two novels used in the unit (The Lightning Thief and Ghost Girl), and the introduction of the personal displacement narrative as well as examples of strong voice in literature (Sherman Alexie and Cisneros). The personal displacement narrative assignment will be ongoing through lesson 2 with peer editing, one-on-one conferences and class time to work on writing. Students will present the finished product at the beginning of lesson 3.
Students will learn what displacement is through personal exploration and examples (objective 3). This lesson will allow students to understand and discuss the theme of displacement throughout the unit reading, and allow students to evaluate displacement in their own lives (objective 1). This lesson will also work on developing voice in writing (objective 2) (day 2). Students will work on peer editing and constructive suggestions (objective 4).

Teaching and Learning Sequence:
Day 1:
Students will come in and take their seats. On the board will be the word displacement with the following questions under it:
*What is displacement?
*Have you ever been displaced?
*Is everyone displaced sometime in life?
*Have you ever been on a personal/inner journey?

*Have you ever felt like you do not belong?
I will read the following short poem from Kristine O’Connell George’s book Swimming Upstream: Middle School Poems:
Which Lunch Table
Where do I sit?
All my friends
from last year
have changed;
my world is
f r a c t u r e d,
l o p s i d e d ,
r e a r r a n g e d.
Where do I fit?
Nothing is clear.
Can already tell
this will be
a jigsaw year.
I will ask the students to takeout their laptops and open up their class blogs. Students will then have 20 minutes to “free write” about what they think displacement is. They do NOT need to answer the questions, they are only their as a guide. I will walk around and assist or answer questions. After 20 minutes I will break students up into small groups using a deck of cards (students will draw from a presorted deck of cards all aces in one corner, all jacks in the other etc). Once in small groups students will share some of their ideas about what displacement is and how it connects to their lives. Each group will have a large pad of paper on which they will write key examples. I will walk around and observe and offer guidance if need be. Once the groups are finished discussing they will present their ideas to the whole class. As a class we will discuss what displacement means. Once we have a solid grasp I will read a children’s book about displacement: It’s Not Easy Being a Bunny (a book about a bunny who feels he doesn’t belong in his big family so he tries to belong to a family of bears, moose, pigs, and other animals). We will then discuss it and brainstorm other books that have the theme of displacement (objective 3). There will be no homework assigned this class because it is the first day of the unit and served as an introduction.
Get settled, read poem and introduction to free-write activity (7 mins)
Free-Write (20 mins)
Small group discussion (10 mins)
Group presentations and full class discussion (10 mins)
Read It’s Not Easy Being a Bunny (5 mins)
Discussion about book and brainstorming new books (7 mins)
Class wrap up and announcements (1 mins)

Differentiated Instruction:
All assignments and important information as well as a daily summary will be posted on the class wiki for absent students. If there is a student who is visually impaired I will record the class notes and allow that student to use a voice-typing program. For hearing impaired students I will provide handouts and board notes of the discussion. For those students whom the work is too challenging I will abridge the writing aspect of this lesson and have the students compose a shorter version of the story and have them meet with me one-on-one for assistance. For the free write students who need accommodations can just write down words that come to mind when thinking about displacement. For students who would like or need more challenge there will be an option to turn the free write and turn it into a lyrical/poetic representation of what they think displacement is (for homework). For the personal narrative students can opt to create a visual or multi-media aspect to accompany their paper. For any of these and other accommodations I would have to take into account the student’s IEP and situation as well as individual needs.
Students will keep an ongoing blog about their reading. The blog entry for this lesson includes the free write so I will be able to see where they are with the concept of displacement. I will consistently check in with their progress with their personal narrative by reading their drafts and meeting with the students.

Lesson 4
Lesson 2-3 Brief Summary:
Lessons 2 dealt with the continuation of the personal narrative from lesson one and development of voice. Lesson 2 has the overlying theme of Greek Myths because Lightning Thief is very much based around Greek Mythology. Students did a small project with a specific myth or mythological creature present in the novel so far. We continued to discuss displacement as it applies to Percy Jackson. Lesson 3 began with the presentation of their personal displacement narratives. Students worked on vocabulary during this lesson compiling a class reference book full of vocabulary and figures of speech present in the novel. This book has commonly unknown words, Greek mythology, and figures of speech present in the novel. The students composed the book and illustrated it.
Lesson 4 Overview:
Lesson 4 begins with the completion of Lightning Thief. We will have a large class discussion about reactions to the book and of course continue to blog. The final blog entry for The Lightning Thief will focus on the students’ personal reaction to the novel. The teaching and learning sequence will focus on day 2 of the lesson in which I introduce the art of note taking during a film. Day 3 and 4 will be spent watching the film version of The Lightning Thief. On day 5 students will break into their assigned groups and discuss the changes to their assigned part of the story. They will create a large, artistic poster of the differences, especially citing differences in the theme of displacement. On day 6 students will present their findings to the whole class. After presentations we will have a whole class discussion about the changes in the movie and whether they fell the changes improved or worsened the story.

Students will learn how to successfully take notes about a movie (objective 5). Students will work on comparing and contrasting differences between the written version and the film version of a novel.
Teaching and Learning Sequence:
Day 2:
Students will come into class and take their seats. The projector will be hooked up and ready to play a movie from my computer. I will hand out a filmstrip graphic organizer (see attached) to each student. I will introduce the concept of note taking on the organizer. Recording key scenes in each segment of the filmstrip, using key words, etc. Next I will play a part of an episode of Discovery’s Life and model taking notes, speaking out-loud as I do so, highlighting key words and phrases. I will answer any questions the students may have. Next I will play part of an episode of Life for the students having them NOT take notes and tell them just to “enjoy” the film. After that I will have them recall key moments of the film. Hopefully noting how it is sometimes hard to recall moments when not explicitly told to synthesize while watching. After we discuss retention of information, I will have students watch another segment of Life, this time having them take notes about important scenes and information (objective 5). We will report out and see if the students chose the same scenes. We will discuss how writing the information down makes it easier to recall and allows students to have a better discussion. After we report out students will blog about their independent reading and continue independent reading (an on-going thing throughout the year). I will be available to answer questions or offer assistance. We will do end of class wrap up and announcements.
Get settled, handout graphic organizer (3 mins)
Introduce idea of taking notes on the graphic organizer (2 mins)
Model note-taking answer questions (7 mins)
Show film without note taking (5 mins)
Questions about retention and pros and cons of note taking during film (10 mins)
View film and take notes (10 mins)
Note-taking debriefing (5 minutes)
Blog and independent reading (16 mins)
Class wrap-up and announcements (2 mins)
Differentiated Instruction:
All assignments and important information as well as a daily summary will be posted on the class wiki for absent students. If there is a student who is visually impaired I will record the class notes and allow that student to use a voice-typing program. For the film I will have the student listen to the film to detect hints of displacement in characters’ dialogue. The student will listen to the audio version of the book. For hearing impaired students I will provide handouts and board notes of discussions. All movies will have subtitles and they will have the film on their computer so they can pause the movie to take notes. For those students whom the work is too challenging I will assist with note taking during the film. For students who would like or need more challenge they have the option to compose a short report about why they feel changes were made to the story when translated from print to film. For any of these and other accommodations I would have to take into account the student’s IEP and situation as well as individual needs.
We will have class discussions to which each student should contribute. The end of this lesson culminates with the film project which I will evaluate for understanding of displacement, thematic changes, and over-all quality of work. Students will continue to contribute to their blogs.
Lesson 7
Lesson 5-6 Brief Overview:
Lesson 5 signals the start of Ghost Girl. This lesson will focus on shifting points of view as well as the overhanging theme of displacement. Students will create their own story of the same event using 2 different points of view. Lesson 6 will focus on displacement in school we will watch excerpts of the movie Hoot and discuss how the themes relate to Ghost Girl. There will be small group presentations on struggles middle schoolers have fitting in and the displacement they feel. We will continue blogging about the reading.
Lesson 7 Overview:
Lesson 7 is a 4-day lesson that wraps up the displacement unit. Day 1 (the focus of this plan) focuses on debriefing Ghost Girl and comparing themes and displacement to The Lightning Thief. On day 2 I will introduce the final project of the unit (described in the summative assessment section). I will present a “student sample” to the class and allow questions. Students will then do a brainstorming activity with an idea web. Once students have chosen what scene and form they want their project to be in they can begin. I will allow day 2 and 3 for in class project time, and I will have small meetings with each student about their project and offer guidance and answer questions. Day 4 will be spent presenting the finished products in a “critical” forum.
Students will understand that works of literature can be compared and contrasted on levels concerning plot, theme, and characterization (objective 6). Students will work on using graphic organizers to compare and contrast two different novels on the basis of theme, plot, and the subject of displacement.
Teaching and Learning Sequence:
Day 1:
Students will enter class and take their seats. I will make any pressing announcements. Students will take out their laptops and blog their reactions to Ghost Girl. In their reactions they will include how they feel it ranks as a displacement narrative as compared to The Lightning Thief. The prompt will be posted on the board. After students have finished blogging we will bring the class together in a circle and talk about reactions to Ghost Girl. Everyone should participate in the classroom discussion. Following the class discussion students will break up into groups of three (under their seats they will have a character name from one of the books we read, students will find classmates with the same character, thus forming their group). Once in groups students will be handed three Venn diagrams (see attached), which they will label: themes, plot, and displacement. As a group they will compare and contrast Ghost Girl and Lightning Thief on the bases of the three categories. Once the Venn diagrams are filled out each group will present and we will place the most prevalent things in large Venns on the white boards, we will primarily focus on the theme of displacement as seen across both narratives. Once we are done students will go to the library and select a new free reading book and will spend the remainder of the class reading. I will be available to answer questions and offer assistance. At the end of class I will assign a final blog entry for the unit. The blog will address the following questions: how do different authors portray displacement and self-journeys. What have you learned about your own “displacement” while growing up? What is the most important thing you learned from the books we read?
Get Settled (3 mins)
Ghost Girl blog (10 mins)
Class discussion about Ghost Girl (10 mins)
Group work with Venn Diagram (10 mins)
Full class discussion (15 mins)
Library and free reading (10 mins)
Announcements and homework assignment (2 mins)
Differentiated Instruction:
All assignments and important information as well as a daily summary will be posted on the class wiki for absent students. If there is a student who is visually impaired I will record the class notes and allow that student to use a voice-typing program. The student will listen to the audio version of the book. For hearing impaired students I will provide handouts and board notes of discussions. Since this class is based primarily on class discussion I will write the main ideas of the discussion on the board and allow the student to produce a written response. For those students whom the work is too challenging (the final project), I will allow them to summarize a scene from one of the books in a picture book form. For students who would like or need more challenge they have the option to explore displacement in another piece of literature and relate it to the displacement in the two novels the class read. For any of these and other accommodations I would have to take into account the student’s IEP and situation as well as individual needs.
This is the final lesson for the unit. Throughout this lesson I will check on students’ progress with the project. I will also evaluate their over-all understanding of the theme of displacement through the final class discussion and the final blog that will directly address the essential questions for the unit. The final project will show the students’ understanding displacement and how it is manifested in young adult literature.


Now you get to show your creative side! We have finished The Lightning Thief and Ghost Girl, now, you get to choose a scene from one of the novels, and create an “artistic representation” of it!

The Assignment:
Choose a scene from either Ghost Girl or The Lightning Thief that YOU feel exemplifies displacement. Once you have selected your scene it is your job to create something that represents the scene and the feeling of displacement. You can do an i-movie, garage-band, collage, soundtrack, or anything that you think represents your scene (you must get your artistic choice approved by me). Once you have created your masterpiece, you need to write a short essay explaining: why your scene is important, why you chose it, how it shows displacement, and how your representation displays displacement.
We will present the projects in a “professional classroom forum” (you will present to your peers for review). We will work on being respectful viewers, as well as giving constructive suggestions.
You will have plenty of class time to work on your project and you may certainly work on it outside of class! Good luck and have fun!

Grading will be on the following criteria:

*Work is turned in on time.
*Medium is interesting, pleasing to the eye, creative, and shows careful work.
*Paper is well written (free of mechanical and grammatical
Errors) and answers all questions.
*Presentation is understandable and interesting.
*Feedback to others is constructive and considerate.

DUE: October 2nd

Dear Students, Parents, and Guardians,

This is going to be an exciting few weeks! We are starting a new unit in Language arts that will focus on “displacement” and personal journeys. We are going to read two primary texts that have an underlying theme of “displacement.” These books are popular fiction novels that should appeal to even the most reluctant reader! We will begin by reading The Lightning Thief and even watching and comparing the movie version to the book! The second book we will read is Ghost Girl. Just a little sneak peak: A girl dies choking on a gummy bear (can you imagine) and enters a ghost school!
Each novel deals with a different type of displacement that we will explore throughout the unit. We will do a number of activities including free writes, creative writing, small and large group discussion, movie viewing, and a major multi-media project at the end of the unit. Be prepared for a fun, interesting, and entertaining few weeks, and be ready to explore your own experiences with the theme of “displacement.”
With Great Enthusiasm,