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A Teacher’s Guide for Grades 4-6:

Camo Girl

This novel tells the story of Ella and her best friend Z, two social outcasts whose lives are changed when a new kid joins their class, altering the ways they see themselves and each other. We chose this book for its thoughtful exploration of important social and emotional themes: race, physical appearance, mental health, social cliques, poverty, and friendship. This curriculum will inspire students to build connections between Ella’s unfolding life story and their own.

Camo Girl tells the story of Ella and her best friend Z. Ella and Z have bonded over the ways they feel like outcasts: Ella has a skin condition that causes her to feel that she is ugly, while oddball Z lives in an imaginary world of knights and spies. When Bailey James, a cool new kid, arrives at Ella’s school, he immediately develops a kinship with Ella, as they are the only two black kids.  As Ella is drawn into Bailey James’ popular circle, things change for both Ella and Z. Ella begins to embrace self-love and acceptance, but is burdened by the weight of her sense of responsibility to Z. Meanwhile Z fearfully retreats further into his imaginary world. As the connection between Bailey James and Ella deepens, the relationship between Ella and Z gets increasingly complicated. Over time, Ella comes to see that each of the three of them is suffering in similar ways but coping in different ways, and the three find ways to support one another.

Author:  Kekla Magoon

Our Reading with Relevance teacher’s guide breaks the novel into a series of thoughtful lesson plans. Each lesson is designed to support you to meaningfully explore the social and emotional themes of the day’s reading with your students, inspiring them to read deeply, think critically, talk openly, and write reflectively about topics that matter.

This teacher’s guide includes:

  • A facilitator’s guide with tips and resources for implementing the curriculum.
  • A map of Common Core Standards addressed through this program.
  • Eleven individual lesson plans, including vocabulary, discussion questions, journal prompts, extension activities, and all handouts.
  • Two assessments to monitor student progress throughout the program.
  • Regular checkpoints to help teachers assess their students’ progress on ELA standards.
  • A culminating essay-writing unit.
  • An appendix with additional teaching resources and activities to continue exploring this novel.

Pages: 84
Dimensions: 8.5” x 11”


Companion Student Workbook:


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