Fifth Grade Lesson

And Tango Makes Three Lesson Plan

By Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell


Designer: Linda R. Aparicio

Date of Lesson: December 2018

Grade Level and Group Size: Fifth Grade/28 Students

Length of Lesson/Time of Lesson: Approximately 3-50-minute class sessions

Subjects: English Language Arts, Health

Themes: Diversity, Same-Sex Families, Adoption, Family, Traditional Families



Purpose of Lesson:   

  1. Identify and discuss diverse family structures
  2. Investigate how media may portray traditional family structures
  3. Create discussions on opinions of diverse family structures

Standards Addressed:

Reading Standards for Literature-Key Ideas and Details

  1. Quote accurately from a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
  2. Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text, including how characters in a story or drama respond to challenges or how the speaker in a poem reflects upon a topic; summarize the text.

Speaking and Listening-Comprehension and Collaboration

  1. Summarize the points a speaker or media source makes and explain how each claim is supported by reasons and evidence, and identify and analyze any logical fallacies.

Writing Standards-Text Types and Purposes

  1. Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information.
    1. Introduce a topic or text clearly, state an opinion, and create an organizational structure in which ideas are logically grouped to support the writer’s purpose.
    2. Provide logically ordered reasons that are supported by fact and details.
    3. Link opinion and reasons using words, phrases, and clauses (e.g., consequently, specifically).
    4. Provide a concluding statement or section related to the opinion presented

Growth, Development, and Sexual Health

Standard 1: Essential Concepts

1.8.G Recognize that friendship, attraction, and affection can be expressed in different ways.

Standard 2: Analyzing Influences

2.1.G Explain how culture, media, and other factors influence perceptions about body image, gender roles, and attractiveness.

Standard 4: Interpersonal Communication

4.2.G Use healthy and respectful ways to express friendship, attraction, and affection


Learning Objectives:

SWBAT analyze issues regarding diverse family structures

SWBAT create an opinion piece using text and media resources

SWBAT discuss and respond to ideas of family structures in whole and small group settings


Materials Required:

And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell

Device with internet access and word processing for each student

Sentence frames


Context for Learning:

Students will listen to the story and discuss their thoughts in a whole group setting. They will conduct research using technology in small groups of three. They will independently create opinion pieces using both the text and the resources they have identified while using technology to support their ideas.


Anticipatory Set:

Students will be asked to write down any and all synonyms they think of when they think of the family structure. They may reflect on their own families and write down the names of those members in their family and how the role that each one fills in their family. They will share what they’ve written with their small group partners.


Essential Questions:

How can a family be identified?

How do other people’s views of what a family is affect our ideas of the family structure?

Can we affect other people’s views on seeing diverse family structures?



Learning Objectives:

Today we will read a story about a family that or may not reflect a family we have seen before. We will discuss the vocabulary necessary to facilitate a discussion on how families are made up. We will also discuss what it means to have an opinion.

Preteach or Reteach:

  1. Preteach vocabulary
    1. Diversity
    2. Adoption
    3. Lesbian
    4. Gay
    5. Traditional
    6. Family structure
    7. Inclusive
    8. Non-inclusive
    9. Media
  2. Reteach how opinions are formed and how we can support these with evidence from credible resources.
  3. Reteach the structure of a writing piece that includes an opinion and evidence to support it.


Teacher will read the story aloud in a whole group setting. Students will discuss the story in a whole group setting, using the vocabulary discussed prior to the lesson. Students will discuss their thoughts and opinions on the topic in a whole group setting. Students will then gather in their small groups and conduct an Google image search using keywords, such as “traditional families” and “family.”

Guided Practice:

Teacher will remind students of the format for answering writing prompts. Students will be given the prompt: “In your opinion, do you believe the media shows people the many types of family structures visible in our environment? Why or why not? Use text evidence from at least two sources to provide examples of how family structures are portrayed around you.” Students will be able to provide oral answers for how they may answer all parts of the question with differing opinions.

Check for Understanding:

Students will gather in their small groups and highlight or underline and number the questions of the writing prompt they must answer. They will check in with each other and answer orally to each other to organize their thoughts before writing. At this time, students who need extra support will be given sentence frames they may use to help support them in their writing.

Independent Practice:

Students will then create an opinion piece about how the media portrays traditional families and if this inclusivity or non-inclusivity is right or wrong, using text evidence from the story and from their Google image searches.



Assessment of Learning Objectives:

The teacher will formally assess students’ conveyance of their opinions on the matter of media portraying diverse family structures through a teacher created writing rubric which may include the following categories:

  1. The topic was introduced with a clearly stated opinion
  2. The structure of the paper was organized with logically ordered reasons
  3. Transitions and opinion linking words were used, i.e., consequently, specifically)
  4. A concluding statement was provided
  5. At least two pieces of text evidence were used
  6. Students used correct grammar and punctuation



Teacher will discuss with students the importance of recognizing the diverse family structures that are out in our environment. Students will be asked to debrief with their group mates about whether the lesson was one that was eye opening to them or one that included a topic they had heard of before. Students will then be asked to write down as many synonyms they can think of when they think of the word “family.”