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"That's My Line"

Estimated Time of Completion: Two 50-minute periods

I. Summary
II. Objectives
III. Materials Needed
IV. Procedure
V. Classroom Assessment
VI. Extensions and Adaptations
VII. Online Resources
VIII. Relevant National Standards

I. Summary:

For grades 9-12. This lesson is a fun, creative, and practical way to help students identify persuasive situations and practice refusal skills when it comes to issues dealing with sexuality.

II. Objectives:

III. Materials Needed:

IV. Procedure:


  1. To set the tone of the lesson, start with this fun activity:

    • Read from a list of established "pickup lines" and ask the class to rate them on a scale of 1 to 10. The lines can be cliche, humorous, or just plain pathetic-- the idea is to infuse some laughter and reduce potential awkwardness about the subject of sex.

    • Suggested "pickup lines" are:

      • Hey baby, are you a parking ticket? 'Cause you got "fine" written all over you!
      • Can I borrow your library card? I wanna check you out!
      • Are you from Tennessee? 'Cause Ten is all I See!
      • Are your feet tired? 'Cause you've been running through my mind all day.
      • Are you Jamaican? 'Cause you're Jamaican me crazy!
      • Hi. You'll do.
      • Do you have a map? Because I'm totally lost in your eyes.
      • Well, here I am. What were your other two wishes?
      • I bet you 20 bucks you're gonna turn me down

    • After you've rated the lines, begin a brief discussion about persuasion:

      • What is the point of persuasion?
      • What makes someone a good persuader? A poor persuader?
      • What types of persuasion work best on you? Examples: humor, honesty, argument, etc.
      • Why might it be difficult to turn down someone who's trying to persuade you to do something?

  2. Explain that today's lesson deals with "Lines"-- persuasive statements used to encourage students into certain sexual behaviors. Many "Lines" have been used very successfully for generations, and were successful because the person receiving the "Line" was unaware, unprepared, or not well-equipped to say "no."

  3. Tell students that we will be thinking of possible lines that could be given as a means of persuasion, as well as lines given back to refuse them.

  4. Put the class in four groups. Two male groups, two female groups. Assign one male group and one female group to write lines that a teenager could use to try to persuade another teenager into certain sexual behavior, i.e., kissing, touching, intimate contact, having sexual intercourse, etc. (they'll get the idea!). Assign the second male group and second female group to write lines that could be used to say "NO" to the persuasive lines.

  5. Announce that this is a competition. Encourage the students to be creative, original, and comment that humor is permissible (as long as it is in good taste). Tell them that you will bring in a "judge" to determine the winners.

  6. When students have completed their lists, tell them to select about 5-7 of their best lines and write each one on a paper strip and tape to the board. Put all the lines of persuasion on one side and the refusal lines on the other.

  7. Have a teacher, principal, or other authority (who has a good sense of humor) come to class to judge.

  8. The judge selects the winners according to various categories of lines for persuasion, such as:

    • Most original
    • Most often used
    • Most effective when participants are in love
    • Most obviously a line

  9. The judge selects the winners according to various categories of lines for refusal, such as:

    • Most original
    • Most effective, least embarrassing
    • Least sincere
    • Least effective, it will never work!
    • Most effective way to say no

  10. The judge could award stickers or other small prizes.

  11. This activity will help students understand the purpose (and sometimes insincerity) of persuasion, and how to stay in control of it.


Students put their "Lines" to use with skills practice.

  1. Option 1: Divide students into groups to write and act out skits that use the award-winning lines, encouraging them to be creative yet realistic. Skits can be centered around just one line, or use multiple lines; leave it up to the students. Groups then present their skits to the rest of the class.


    Option 2: In small groups, assign students one of the following:

    • Create a song, rap, or poem using the lines and perform for the class. Students might re-write the lyrics to an existing song of their choice.
    • Create a song, rap, or poem using ABSTINENCE as the theme and perform for the class. Students might re-write the lyrics to an existing song of their choice.

  2. For reinforcement, have a standing assignment that encourages the students to bring in any new "lines" that they hear, and have the class come up with new refusal lines for them.

V. Classroom Assessment:

Because this is a skills activity, one of the following writing assignments could be used for evaluation:

VI. Extensions and Adaptations:

VII. Online Resources:

VIII. Relevant National Standards:

These are established by the National Health Education Foundation and can be viewed at http://www.cancer.org/cshe/cshestud.html:

Achieving Health Literacy

About the Author:
Kathleen Gasparini
has her Master's in Curriculum and has taught secondary health education for over 20 years. She was the "Health Teacher of the Year" for the state of North Dakota, and presently is on the National Health Standards Committee for the National Board for Professionial Teaching Standards. She is a state HIV trainer. She teaches grade 10 health classes in Grand Forks, as well as School Health at the University of North Dakota.

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