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: Alexa Talucci

Primary/Junior/Intermediate Lesson Plan

Consecutive and Concurrent Programs

Unit/Topic: Social Justice

Grade: 4

Lesson: The focus of this lesson is to introduce and expand student’s understanding of gender identity through looking at controversial social justice issues such as transgender, more specifically in youth.

Curriculum Areas: Language Arts, Visual Arts

Curriculum Expectations:

Language Arts- Oral Communication

Overall Expectations

2. use speaking skills and strategies appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes;

Specific Expectations

2.2 demonstrate an understanding of appropriate speaking behavior in a variety of situations, including paired sharing and small- and large-group discussions ]

2.3 communicate in a clear, coherent manner, presenting ideas, opinions, and information in a readily understandable form

Language Arts-Reading

Overall Expectations

1. Read and demonstrates an understanding of a variety of literary, graphic, and informational texts, using a range of strategies to construct meaning;

Specific Expectations

1.5 make inferences about texts using stated and implied ideas from the texts as evidence

Visual Arts

Overall Expectations

D1. Creating and Presenting: apply the creative process (see pages 19–22) to produce a variety of two- and three-dimensional art works, using elements, principles, and techniques of visual arts to communicate feelings, ideas, and understandings;

Specific Expectations

D1.1 create two- and three-dimensional works of art that express feelings and ideas inspired by their interests and experiences

Learning Goal(s):

  • To introduce and expand students’ understandings of gender identity
  • To help students conceptualize what it means to be transgender using developmentally appropriate language for younger audiences
  • To foster creativity and expression in the form of a personal collage

Success Criteria:

I Can

  • Understand the meaning of gender identity through the unique story of Jazz, representing transgender youth
  • Communicate my thoughts and feelings in relation to Jazz’s story in a small and large group setting
  • Convey my own personal identity artistically and creatively through developing a personal collage

MODIFICATIONS / ACCOMMODATIONS: How will I meet the needs of my students? Have I addressed any IEPs?

  • Partner work to collaborate thoughts and ideas
  • ELMO for all students to see the book
  • Multiple copies of the book for students to physically and visually go through
  • Online graphic organizer to help students sort their ideas for the collage
  • Access to YouTube to watch clips of “I Am Jazz” the reality show


Minutes: 10 mins

Task: First I will introduce the topic of Social Justice and the theme of Gender Identity, more specifically transgender youth. I will ask questions to test student’s prior knowledge on these issues. Then I will ask their honest feelings and opinions prior to reading the text. I will then read the book “I Am Jazz” by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings to the class.

Assessment: Assessment for Learning (Diagnostic)- to test student’s prior knowledge and readiness through a series of questions


Minutes: 40

Task: I will give students a list of discussion questions and split them into 4 or 5 smaller groups in which they are supposed to collaborate with their peers by discussing the topics and questions on the handout. This will prepare them for the task of creating a personal collage. Jazz is transgender, but that’s only one aspect of what makes her who she is. She also loves dancing, swimming, soccer and makeup. Her favourite colour is pink and her second is silver. Students are asked to create a collage that includes a variety of aspects that make up their individual self. Students have a choice of drawing the collage, making a collage using digital images online, or creating the collage from real objects/magazines. (I will supply the needed materials)

Assessment: Assessment of Learning (Summative)- checklist for visual arts criteria, create two- and three-dimensional works of art that express feelings and ideas inspired by their interests and experiences


Minutes: 20

Task: Students will then write a paragraph reflection explaining their choices of pictures in their collages and how they can relate themselves with Jazz.

Assessment: Assessment of Learning (Summative)-Rubric outlining visual arts and language arts elements, demonstrates an understanding of a variety of literary, graphic, and informational texts, using a range of strategies to construct meaning;


  • Multiple copies of I Am Jazz
  • YouTube videos of I Am Jazz clips on TLC
  • Magazines
  • Discussion Questions Handout
  • Decorative objects and materials
  • Computer/Ipad (picture collage program/app)


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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