Gender Identity & Gender Roles

I am Jazz

Author(s): Jessica Herthel & Jazz Jennings


Social Justice focus: Gender Identification

Synopsis: I am Jazz is the true-life story of Jazz Jennings, a child who, in her own words, was born with “a girl’s brain and a boy’s body.” The picture book follows the gradual acceptance by Jazz’s parents and teachers of her transgender reality. Information is provided about the Trans Kids Purple Rainbow Foundation (TKPRF), of which Jazz is an honorary co-founder.

Lesson Plan: Lindsay Jenkins

Primary/Junior/Intermediate Lesson Plan (Abbreviated Template)

Consecutive and Concurrent Programs 

Unit/Topic: Social Justice Issues-LGBTQ Rights (trans rights)

Grade: 6

Lesson: The focus of this lesson is to raise student awareness surrounding the term transgender, (including the importance of ally-ship) by specifically focusing on the life of a transgender female. 

Curriculum Areas: Language Arts: Reading, media literacy, visual arts 

Curriculum Expectations:  

Reading: Overall Expectations: 

1. read and demonstrate an understanding of a variety of literary, graphic, and informational texts, using a range of strategies to construct meaning

Reading: Specific Expectations: 
1.2 identify a variety of purposes for reading and choose reading materials appropriate for those purposes
1.5 develop interpretations about texts using stated and implied ideas to support their interpretations
1.6 extend understanding of texts by connecting, comparing, and contrasting the ideas in them to their own knowledge, experience, and insights, to other familiar texts, and to the world around them

Writing: Overall Expectations: 
1. generate, gather, and organize ideas and information to write for an intended purpose and audience

Writing: Specific Expectations: 
1.1 identify the topic, purpose, and audience for a variety of writing forms

Media Literacy: Overall Expectations:
2. identify some media forms and explain how the conventions and techniques associated with them are used to create meaning

Media Literacy: Specific Expectations: 
1.1 explain how a variety of media texts address their intended purpose and audience
1.3 evaluate the effectiveness of the presentation and treatment of ideas, information, themes, opinions, issues, and/or experiences in media texts

Visual Arts: Overall Expectations: 
D1. Creating and Presenting: apply the creative process (see pages 19–22) to produce art works in a variety of traditional two- and three-dimensional forms, as well as multimedia art works, that communicate feelings, ideas, and understandings, using elements, principles, and techniques of visual arts as well as current media technologies

Visual Arts: Specific Expectations: 
D1.1 create two-dimensional, three-dimensional, and multimedia art works that explore feelings, ideas, and issues from a variety of points of view
D1.3 use elements of design in art works to communicate ideas, messages, and understandings
Learning Goal(s):   

  • We are learning to read text with an intended purpose
  • We are learning to gain the perspective of others through their writings
  • We are learning to be accepting of others,  no matter who they are and where they come from
  • We are learning descriptive words to describe the characteristics of an ally
  • We are learning to communicate important messages through our words
  • We are learning to communicate important messages through our art

Success Criteria: 

  • I can read the provided text and see the point of view of the main character Jazz
  • I can use my collaboration skills to brainstorm descriptive words at my table group
  • I can communicate my ideas through visuals in my poster
  • I can be respectful of the thoughts and ideas of my peers
  • I will be respectful when choosing the words to use in my ally poster


  • Have the read along video available for students who need it
  • Pause and take beaks from the read aloud to ensure everyone has an understanding of what has been read up to that point
  • Have a slideshow with pictures of each page of the book to ensure every student can see the imagery and words in the book
  • Flexible seating during the read along


Minutes: 5-10 mins 

Task: In table groups students will brainstorm words and characteristics that they would use to describe a best friend. Teacher will then lead a group discussion around what words students came up with.

Assessment: Anecdotal note taking: assess students’ participation at their table group, their respectfulness of other peoples opinions, their ability to share their thoughts, and their ability to brainstorm descriptive words.  


Minutes: 35-40 

Task: Teacher will introduce and lead a discussion around the idea of allyship, and what being an ally means. Teacher will talk about the connection between the words they used to describe a best friend to word to describe an ally. Following, individually, in partners or groups of 3 students will create ally posters for their classroom/school. Teacher will provide an exemplar for students to refer to. Teacher will go over learning goals and success criteria with students, clearly outlining the expectations and criteria for the posters. 

Assessment: Anecdotal note taking: assess students’ ability to make meaning of the text, brainstorm descriptive words, create a visual representation of their understanding of what it means to be an ally 

Checklist: A checklist of various criteria that should be included in the students’ ally poster.


Minutes:  10 minutes 

Task: Discussion based learning: Teacher will encourage a discussion around what students learned while making their ally posters. Conversation and discussion can be encouraged by asking the following questions:       

  • Did you enjoy creating these posters? Why/why not?
  • Who do you think will benefit from seeing the posters you have made?
  • Why is it important that our posters are up around the classroom/school?
  • What did you learn when making your poster?
  • Did you learn anything about LGBTQ rights that you want to share with the class?

Assessment: Diagnostic: Are students participating in group discussion? Are they sharing their thoughts, opinions, and what they learned? Are they making a meaningful contribution to the conversation? 


  • “I Am Jazz” picture book
  • A way of projecting book onto screen
  • blank poster paper
  • markers
  • pencil crayons
  • paint
  • paintbrushes
  • Ally poster exemplar

REFLECTION: Questions to determine the success of your lesson:  

  • Were my students successful in meeting the learning goals and success criteria? How do I know?
  • Did my instructional decisions meet the needs of all students? If not, what are my next steps?
  • What worked well and why?
  • What will I do differently in the future when teaching this lesson? For the subsequent lesson?
  • What are the next steps for my professional learning?


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Social Justice Picture Books Copyright © 2019 by Ruth McQuirter, editor and Gurbinder Kaur, contributing editor is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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