Study Guides


Humour and Hormones

Robyn Harding
Don Calame
Host: Claudia Casper
1 – 2:30 pm
Performance Works


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Grade: Suitable for grades 8 to10

No clichéd teen tales here. Screenwriter Calame perfectly channels the adolescent male mindset and obsession with the female. Harding draws from her own experiences as a teenager and the utter embarrassment at even having parents, let alone parents who have sex. Harding’s My Parents Are Sex Maniacs and Calame’s Swim the Fly face the topic of burgeoning adolescent sexuality and awareness with hilarity, tenderness and understanding.

Curriculum Connection

  • Writing descriptive personal narratives.
  • Develop writing dialogue skills.
  • Analytical reading.


    Students will “concept map” a scene from their life, then write the scene incorporating sensory details, an element of conflict or tension, dialogue, and private thoughts. Students will proceed through the stages of the writing process, peer revising using questioning strategies.

  1. Harding’s and Calame’s novels are examples of personal narratives. Engage students in highlighting or responding to elements of the text that emphasize details in the setting, tension between characters, and private thoughts.
  2. Using the overhead, brainstorm scenes/events from students' lives. Ideas may include the birth of siblings; graduation ceremonies; first day of school; first day in a new place; a wedding; a divorce; the death of a grandparent; an earthquake; the break-up of a friendship; the beginning of a new friendship; a time the student got into trouble; a time the student won an award or game, etc.
  3. Draw a picture on the overhead of a scene from your own life. Include in your concept map, three-five sensory details about the setting; dialogue bubbles; private thought bubbles; a tunnel to a past memory somehow related to the event or scene; a rope for a tug of war that pits the two sides of the conflict against each other. Emphasize that all scenes contain an element of tension or doubt, even scenes between friends and lovers.
  4. Ask students to draw a similar picture depicting a scene from their own life. Have them label the sensory details; the thought bubble; the tug of war; the dialogue; the tunnel to the past.
  5. Next, model writing a narrative based on your overhead concept map. Think aloud as you write, referring back to the elements in your drawing.
  6. After you model this, have students write their own narrative based on their drawings.
  7. Have students switch papers, read each other's narrative, and write down five questions to help their peer develop their narratives further.


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