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Teacher Lesson Return to "Life Without Them"
Life Without Them
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Health Lesson: The Grieving Process

Reading Comprehension, Discussion and Written Assignment

Video: “Chimore Mack on Losing Cynthia and Larry” at bit.ly/losingcynthia (4:07)

• Students will identify and evaluate different reasons for and effects of grief.
• Students will be able to understand different ways to manage bereavement and assist peers in dealing with loss in order to support their emotional health.
• Students will be able to understand and implement coping mechanisms to support peers.
• Students will used mixed media to build their critical reading skills.

• Jovial
• Devastate
• Secluded
• Diagnosis
• Optimistic
• Perish
• Isolation
• Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
• Resilient

Activity 1: Watch the Video
• Before watching the film, ask students to make a list of the ways in which Chimore deals with the loss of her aunt and uncle.
• Tell students to also jot down any questions or any strong feelings they have about what the author goes through.

Activity 2: Discussion
• Share some of the students’ impressions about the video. Ask what struck them? Did this seem like an experience they can relate to?
• Ask students, “Whose fault is it when someone gets sick or hurt? Do you think it is a form of divine punishment for poor choices in life or is it more random?”
• Ask them why they believe people often must find someone/thing to blame, e.g. the person who got ill, a person who cares for them, a doctor, a higher power, the government, etc.
• Ask students to suggest some other ways that people may cope with grief.
• List all the students’ ideas on the board.

Activity 3: Reading
• Have the students read Chimore’s story, “Life Without Them,” silently; this should be more of a review as it covers similar material as the video.
• Then have students read the interview, “How We Grieve,” out loud, selecting new readers for each question and answer.
• Ask students to highlight the coping mechanisms that Chimore used and then others that psychologist recommends.
• You can use the table below to help outline it for your students:
Coping MechanismWho Discusses It?Why Is It Effective?Further Notes/Suggestions
JournalingChimore Mack

Integrate MemoriesDr. Michelle PearlmanA way to maintain the connection with the deceasedFavorite meals or music on special or regular occasions
Seek professional helpBothWhen one is not able to manage his or her feelings of grief or those feelings are overwhelming his or her daily life, it is time to seek outside help.Private practice psychologist, school counselor, local youth center, crisis hotline, etc.

Activity 4: Writing
• Ask students to each think about a time that they experienced grief. This can be from a host of experiences: death, trauma, illness, relationship struggles, or betrayals. Instruct them to write about how they expressed their grief.
• Then instruct them to write about how if the same experience happened to a friend, they might be able to help that person cope with his or her loss. Be as specific as possible in the suggestions.

Aligned with Common Core Standards for English Language Arts 9-12

Common Core Standards for Reading:
Key Ideas and Details
RI.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says.
RI.2 Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.
Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
RI.8 Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is valid and the evidence is relevant and sufficient; identify false statements and fallacious reasoning.

Common Core Standards for Writing:
Text Types and Purposes
W.1 Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
W.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.
Range of Writing
W.10 Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences.

Anchor Standards for Speaking and Listening:
Comprehension and Collaboration
SL.1 Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
SL.2 Integrate multiple sources of information presented in diverse media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) evaluating the credibility and accuracy of each source
SL.4 Present information, findings, and supporting evidence clearly, concisely, and logically such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose, audience, and task.

Anchor Standards for Language:
Conventions of Standard English
L.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
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