Paired Texts > Gyroscopes
We've identified these texts as great options for text pairings based on similar themes, literary devices, topic, or writing style. Supplement your lesson with one or more of these options and challenge students to compare and contrast the texts. To assign a paired text, click on the text to go to its page and click the "Assign Text" button there.
In the personal account "Hello, My Name Is _______," Jason Kim discusses accepting his Korean American identity and his experiences assimilating into American culture.Pair “Hello, My Name Is _ _ _ _ _” with “Gyroscopes” and ask students to discuss the ways in which Jason in “Hello, My Name Is _ _ _ _ _” and Layla in “Gyroscopes” both feel erased, or not fully seen, by the teachers and other students around them. In what ways do both characters feel as if they are not seen for their full selves? How does that make them feel, especially as young people? Jason Kim asks the question, “How do you understand yourself in a diverse country that actively chooses to ignore your particular kind of diversity?” Do you feel that “your particular kind of diversity” is well-represented on TV, movie, and online screens? Why, or why not?
In Naomi Shihab Nye's poem "Gate A-4," a speaker offers comfort to a distressed woman by speaking with her in Arabic before a flight.Pair “Gate A-4” with “Gyroscopes” and ask students to discuss the similarities in the ways that the flight agent in “Gate A-4” and Mr. Davidson (aka “D”) in “Gyroscopes” handle a situation that they do not fully understand. Do you think that the gate agent and Mr. Davidson could have handled the situations in each story better? If so, how? The poem's speaker says, “This is the world I want to live in. The shared world.” What changed from the beginning of the poem to the end of it to make the space feel more “shared?” How could Mr. Davidson and the other members of the Dramatic Guild have made that world feel more like a “shared world” for and with Layla?
In Shauna Singh Baldwin's short story "Montreal 1962," a woman who has recently moved to Canada with her husband describes washing his turbans.Pair “Montreal 1962” with “Gyroscopes” and ask students to compare the author’s tone at the end of each story. What actions did the narrator in “Montreal 1962” and Layla in “Gyroscopes” take at the end of each story that could be considered to be culturally-affirming? Why do you think each of the characters took the actions that they did? What words would you use to describe the tone of each story at the end? Why do you think that the authors decided to end each of these stories in the way that they did? In either story, would you have handled things the same way in the characters’ shoes? Why, or why not?
In Nikki Grimes' poem "Jabari Unmasked," a speaker describes hiding their identity from the world.Pair “Jabari Unmasked'' with “Gyroscopes” and ask students to discuss the ways in which the speaker in “Jabari Unmasked” and Layla in “Gyroscopes” both warn of the dangers of stereotypes, but also at times feel overwhelmed by the pressure to conform. Discuss how the characters are aware and mindful of the danger of stereotypes in both texts. Based on the texts and your life experience, what are some problems that stereotypes about race and culture can cause? In both texts, the characters feel pressured at times to “wear the mask” – to not always show their full, true selves for fear of being stereotyped and judged. What are some examples from “Gyroscopes” of Layla “wearing the mask?” For the characters in both texts, what does it feel like not to be able to be their whole, open selves? Have you ever felt that way? How did you handle it?
In "The End of Sleepovers," a Jewish girl feels uncomfortable when her Christian friend wants her to attend her church.Pair “Gyroscopes” with “The End of Sleepovers” and ask students to compare the characters’ experiences. Why is Layla uncomfortable in “Gyroscopes”? Why is Ruth uncomfortable in “The End of Sleepovers”? How do the characters develop over the course of the story? How do the characters respond to their challenges differently? What is similar about Layla and Ruth’s challenges and what is different?