A lesson plan based on the story “Seriously funny” by Eamon Cannon from the Nov.-Dec. 2004 issue of L.A. Youth.

By Libby Hartigan, Managing Editor

Grades: 6-12
Subjects: Language arts
Suggested time allowance: 45 min.-1 hr.

Overview of lesson plan: Students will discuss possible careers.

Students will analyze their own skills and interests to find future directions or careers.

Resources and materials:
— pens, paper
— copies of L.A. Youth November-December 2004 issue (one per student)
— blackboard or whiteboard

Write “The future” on the board. Ask your students if any of them have future plans. What do they hope to do once they are out of school?

As your students discuss their goals and dreams, there may be some students who are not sure what they want to do. Some may have a specific plan, while others have only a vague notion. Some may want to pursue the profession their parents have chosen for them.
     Let your students know that even people who have a definite goal might change their minds later on. Studies show that most Americans have several different careers during their lifetime. People may have one job in their 20s and move on to a different kind of job when they are older. So it makes sense to explore options and find out individual skills and strengths.

Reading. Have the students read Eamon’s article on studying stand-up comedy on pages 4-5.

Reading comprehension exercise:
Ask students to make a list describing what kind of kid Eamon is.
—His teachers scolded him for talking and fooling around.
—He was known as the class clown.
—He liked to joke with his friends.
—He was a C student.
—He didn’t know what he wanted to do or where he wanted to go.
—His parents sent him to a private school, hoping his grades would improve.
—He felt like he didn’t fit in with the rich kids.

Of the list that describes Eamon, which characteristics suggest that he might be good at stand-up comedy?
—His teachers scolded him for talking and goofing around.
—He was known as the class clown.
—He liked to joke with his friends.

Writing exercise:
Ask each student to make a list of 10 to 20 things that describe them. They should be as specific as possible, and think of as many interests and skills as they can. Tell the students to make sure to include on their list descriptions of things they like and don’t like. If they are stumped, allow them to ask classmates for help in describing themselves. Possible prompts for the list:
I am known as…
I like to…
I don’t like to…
I’m good at…
I’m interested in…
I get in trouble when…
I have had the most success when…
I don’t know…

Using their own list of observations of their likes and dislikes, ask your students to write an essay in which they look into the future and see themselves pursuing a certain career. The essay should show how some of their likes and dislikes have helped them be successful in that job. The prompt for the essay could be, “In the future, I will be…”

Extension activity:
Ask students to research a career or job that they would like to pursue, and present their findings to the class.

Some online career-oriented quizzes can be found at the following web sites: