English Language Arts, Reading Literature
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
High School
  • Grade 12 ELA
  • Immigration
  • Poetry
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial

    Discussing Xenophobia

    Discussing Xenophobia


    In this lesson, students will write about how their Independent Reading book addresses the unit’s Guiding Questions, and they’ll share their responses with a partner. Students will begin writing a narrative about a time when they were afraid. They’ll also discuss xenophobia.


    • Read the lesson and student content.
    • Anticipate student difficulties and identify the differentiation options you will choose for working with your students.

    Guiding Questions

    • Give students a few minutes to write their responses.
      • ELL: Some of the words in the questions and prompts can be difficult for ELLs to follow. If necessary, rephrase using words you know students can understand to allow ELLs to fully participate and to have a fair chance to answer the questions.
    • Again, give students a few minutes to share what they have seen in their Independent Reading books.
    • Remind students that they should finish reading their books by Lesson 22.


    In what ways does your Independent Reading book address the unit’s Guiding Questions?

    • What role do national identity, custom, religion, and other locally held beliefs play in a world increasingly characterized by globalization?
    • How does Shakespeare’s view of human rights compare with that in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights?
    • Who is civilized? Who decides what civilization is or how it’s defined?
    • How do we behave toward and acknowledge those whose culture is different from our own?

    Open Notebook

    Share your response with a partner. Also share one of your Dialectical Journals from your recent reading.

    Fear Narrative

    • Take a short time to review the following features of narrative writing before asking students to write:
      • ✓ Create an engaging beginning, setting specific scenes and introducing characters.
      • ✓ Sequence the events of the story so that the reader can follow them.
      • ✓ Use a variety of narrative techniques, including pacing, dialogue, description, and the like.
      • ✓ Reveal the significance of your story.
      • SWD: Consider providing examples for each of these features of narrative writing to support SWDs in getting a good grasp of each of these concepts.
    • Remind students to be sensitive to their classmates’ experiences. Set the tone for respect by addressing this explicitly.
      • ELL: If ELLs bring up examples of situations in their countries of origin that are very different from the realities in this country, allow them to expand so that all students can benefit from their experience.
    • Let students know that they have most of the class period to develop their narratives.

    Work Time

    During the Great Depression, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt told the nation in his first inaugural address, “So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.” Roosevelt’s words have the ring of truth. Even so, today many people are afraid. Look at the subjects of recent news headlines to see possible causes for their fear:

    • A jet plane crashes on the runway, killing passengers.
    • Suicide bombers and other terrorists detonate bombs in public places.
    • Deranged shooters enter schools and theaters and open fire on the innocent.

    The response of some people may be, “It can’t happen to me.” Nevertheless, all people have experienced fear.

    • Think about a time when you were very afraid. What were the circumstances? Draft a narrative account, a true story, about the time you remember. Try to engage the reader with exact and vivid language.

    Open Notebook


    • Facilitate a brief conversation about xenophobia.
    • Ask students to think of examples of xenophobic behavior they have witnessed or read about.
    • Remind students to be sensitive to their classmates’ experiences. Set the tone for respect by addressing this explicitly.


    Set aside your narratives temporarily.

    Xenophobia is defined as intense or irrational dislike or fear of people from other countries.

    • Join in a brief discussion about xenophobia, giving examples you have read about or witnessed.

    Independent Reading and Fear Narrative

    • Reinforce for students the importance of budgeting their time and not leaving their reading for the last minute.


    Continue working on your assignments.

    • Read your Independent Reading book. Plan to finish the book by Lesson 22.
    • Work on your fear narrative. Bring a draft to class for Lesson 16.