Lesson Plan Menu
House on Mango Street

Lesson Plan Content:

1. Prewriting Assignment: What do you already know about each of the following: Gangs, Vietnam, Vietnam War, What It Means to Be An Immigrant from a War Torn Country.

  • Students choose a topic and write a paragraph relating the information they have already.
  • Students read and class discusses responses orally.

2. Pass out map of Vietnam and A Brief History of Vietnam (website) or A Brief History of Vietnam pdf file

  • Have someone locate Vietnam on classroom map.
  • Students read silently "A Brief History of Vietnam," highlighting or underlining key words and phrases.
  • Homework: Write a summary of "A Brief History of Vietnam," using the key words and phrases.

3. Students watch the Power Point presentation: "Vietnam Today" (source images http://www.farofflands.com/avpa/toc.html.) (Twenty-five photos of country and city locations, timed at eight seconds each)

  • Students write a paragraph giving their impressions of the visual representation of Vietnam today.
  • Read some aloud if time.

4. Preview book:

  • Students examine cover and offer predictions from illustration on the front.
  • Students read the back cover. Have them ask and answer oral questions for points.
  • Direct their attention to the number of pages and ask them to help you calculate the number of pages that have to be covered per day in the allotted time.
  • Note: Reading the book in class affords certainty that every one has read it,

5. Pass out Story Impressions pdf file

  • Students use the list of eighteen words from the novel to write a short story. Ask them to underline each. word from the list that they use.
  • Students share stories with partners.
  • A few students share their or their partners' stories with the class.
  • Students make one word or short phrase guesses of what each word predicts in the "Story Guess" column.

6. Teach Literary Term: Mood - emotion or feeling connected to literary scene

  • Read the Prologue aloud
  • Ask students which words contribute to a mood in this scene. Write them on board or overhead.
  • What mood has been created?
  • What expectation does this mood set up in the mind of the reader?

Homework: Choose an emotion. Brainstorm colors, textures, weather descriptions that evoke that emotion. Use some of these and other words to describe a scene in your house or neighborhood.

7. Pass out chart: Character Trait Revealed/Comments pdf file

  • Explain that there are two main characters in the book and that you will be charting (i.e. notating pertinent or proofs relevant to answering the essential question) each of them to prepare to write an essay comparing the two as immigrants from a war torn country. Danny Vo has been in the United States for ten years and is turning sixteen. His cousin Sang Le Ly is just arriving at the beginning of the book and is already eighteen

8. Read the first chapter orally together. (After that, you may wish to alternate reading silently and orally in class as a whole or, for slower students, in small groups, and, possibly, for homework.) Oral in class reading is best accomplished as if it were a play. Assign parts. You may model the role of narrator at first. "Narrators" do not read the words explaining who spoke and sometimes skip small sentences. The students will stumble from time to time but most will do quite well with this.

  • Chart any revealing notes or quotes about Danny and/or Sang Le at the end of each reading segment throughout the book.
  • Note; To assist slower students, at first, and from time to time during the remainder of the reading, write the notes and quotes on the board, overhead or Net TV. Students make their own responses, but model some and ask students to share theirs aloud.
  • Note: The chart acknowledges that characterization takes the form of action, dialogue, interior monologue, and description. The teaching of these terms comes up soon.

  • Symbol:
  1. Brainstorm examples of symbols in our everyday lives.
  2. Explain that the students will illustrate symbolically the main ideas and issues expressed every few chapters.
    Note: I would suggest not more than three to four drawings for the unit depending on available time.. Each drawing takes about fifteen to twenty minutes.
  3. Brainstorm some symbols for topics in the first chapter. Encourage students to combine symbols to communicate thoughts and opinions
  4. In groups students illustrate on small pieces of paper. Oil-based crayons make excellent colors. Teacher may create a patchwork quilt bulletin board of these by gluing them to colored paper background.

    Note: You may record point for these drawings on Symbolic Drawing Points pdf file

9. Pass out small strips of paper.

  • Have students copy the following literary terms on the paper, a term on one side, the definition on the other:
  1. characterization - the way the author creates a character
  2. dialogue - talk between two or more characters
  3. interior monologue - thoughts of a character action &150; what he or she does
  4. protagonist - ; main character
  5. antagonist - ; enemy of main character
  6. motivation - reason for action
  7. explication - introduces characters and setting
  8. conflict - opposing forces
  9. rising action - events leading to climax
  10. climax - main event to which lesser actions have been leading
  11. denouement - closure, ending
  • Model process of using slips of paper to memorize both spelling and definitions by testing oneself. Allow time to study with slips of paper in class. Provide paper clips to take vocabulary home and prepare for upcoming test.
  • Tell the students you may provide the definition and expect the term or vice versa.

10. Read next page allotment. (The page allotment is flexible dependant upon your own particular time blocks. I suggest no more than 20-25 minutes of silent reading , no more than 15 uninterupted minutes oral reading and adjusting your pages to the average that your class can handle. If your students will read out of class, you can assign pages as homework.

  • Chart

    Note: As you progress through the book the students will chart more and more on their own, but slower students will usually need suggestions.

11. Read to class children's book The Lotus Seed by Sherry Garland. (Purchase at Amazon.com, etc. or borrow from library.)

  • Read one page at a time once only. Students take notes on main ideas. Have students share their notes as you go.
  • Homework: Using notes, retell the story in your own words.

12. Read the next page allotment..

  • Chart

13. Introduce oral history project, Interview of Knowledgeable Person pdf file

  • Go over and assign due date for first draft to be edited by teacher and/or peers.

14. Read the next page allotment.

  • Chart

15. Pass out Values pdf file chart. This is adapted from a chart from Social Studies, Personal Freedom, published by Teacher Created Materials, Inc. pp 141, 606 Interdisciplinary Unit: Freedom. Teachers may want to access the original or create their own.

  • Students fill it out.
  • Students locate two items that are related, e.g., friends and family and have a high value. Then make up comparison sentences using models on board, overhead or NetTV.
  1. Both_________and ____________are important to me.

  2. Just as___________is important to me, so is_____________.

  3. ____________is important to me. Similarly (In the same way, In like manner),. I place a high value on____________.

  4. Neither ______________nor________________rate highly in my life.

  5. Students next locate two items that are related but have opposite or different values. Then make up comparison sentences using models.

  6. While_________ is important to me, _____________is not.

  7. _______________is important to me; however (but, in contrast) _________is not.
  • In pairs, students compare charts and write more sentences using above models.

16. Read next allotment of pages.

  • Chart

17. Watch "Good Morning, Vietnam" starring Robin Williams

Note: This film features the "F" word, but it has no sex, and the only violence is an incident of terrorism.

Questions for discussion:

  1. What hate crime occurs at the beginning of the movie?
  2. What does Adrian Cronauer, the disc jockey, first do to defend his friend Thuan?
  3. What does Adrian do after that?
  4. What do Adrian's methods reveal about his personality?
  5. Who/what are the two oppositions to Adrian&146;s broadcasting?
  6. What are some of the affects of the occupation of a foreign government on the culture of the country shown in this film?
  7. Why does Thuan, the brother of the girl Adrian likes, at first oppose, then later support the romance?
  8. How does Thuan respond when Adrian calls him the enemy?
  9. Why does the U.S. government fire Adrian Cronauer?
  10. Do you have any examples of how the media controls our lives?

These may be answered in small groups or as a whole class.

18. Read next allotment of pages.

  • Chart

Note: Remember to do symbolic drawings from time to time.

19. Pass out Martin Luther King Quote pdf file

  • This paper provides an excerpt from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s book "Strength to Love." In it, he discusses hate and its antidote, love.
  • Students "talk to text" as they read silently, highlighting or underlining important phrases and commenting in margin:
  • Quickwrite: Describe a situation in your life where love either has or may in the future drive out hate.

20. Read next allotment of pages.

  • Chart

21. Superhero Project

Pass out and go over: Activist Superhero Project: Group Plan pdf file

  • Students go into groups and invent superheroes.
  • Note: Counting off usually works well for group formation.

22. Read next allotment of pages.

  • Chart

23. Pass out and go over Story Elements: Superhero pdf file

  • This handout contains a review of the elements of a story and instructions for the group to assign the various stories needed to establish the history and adventures of the socially conscious superhero.
  • Students return to groups and select story assignments.

24. Pass out and go over: Activist Superhero Project: Individual Information Chart pdf file Together students fill in individual charts in groups for future reference.

25. Pass out and go over "Activist Superhero Story Plan pdf file

  • Homework: Students fill in outline for homework.
  • Students turn plans for teacher suggestions/approval.

26. Read next allotment of pages.

  • Chart

28. Return "Activist Superhero Story Plans pdf file

  • Homework or in class on Alpha Smart keyboards, if available, students write stories about their fictional heroes. Teacher edits. Students edit, submit final drafts. Teacher runs copies for groups.

29. Read next allotment of pages

  • Chart

30. Students design covers for Activist Superhero booklets, including name and illustration of superheroes.

31. Read next allotment of pages.

  • Chart

32. Staple together booklets and read. Groups trade booklets.

33. Read next allotment of pages.

  • Chart

34. In small groups or as a class, share "Knowledgeable Person Interviews pdf file

35. Read next allotment of pages.

  • Chart

36. Poetry Analysis Vocabulary Students make study slips for the following words preparing for upcoming test:

1. Speaker - voice that you hear (not necessarily the author)

2. Occasion - event

3. Tone - attitude of the author toward his subject

4. Theme - message or purpose

5. Oxymoron - two apparent opposites linked to create new meaning: sweet sadness

37. Pass out Gangsta’ Paradise pdf file by Coolio and "SOAPS" pdf file chart

  • Note: This rap is from the movie "Dangerous Minds." It is free of profanity and professes a definite anti-gang message.
  • Play the song and read along. (Probably one of your students can provide a recording. It is by Coolio.)


  • Students highlight or underline the words and phrases that contribute to the dark mood and the anti-gang tone of the rap.
  • Students share what they have highlighted and underlined.
  • Fill in together the SOAPS chart

    S = Subject: Gangs

    O = Occasion: A gangster reflecting on his lifestyle

    A = Attitude = Tone, attitude of the author toward his subject: Negative, critical

    P = Purpose: Inform listener of the negative aspects of gang life, introspection, taking stock of his life

    S = Speaker: Gangster

  • Homework: Pass out and go over "Outline for Gangsta' Paradise Essay" pdf file. Write an essay explaining the author's point of view of gang life.

38. Read next allotment of pages:

  • Chart

39. Quickwrite:

  • I do/do not believe in interracial romance because....

40. Read next allotment of pages.

  • Chart

41. Pass out and study poem, "Death in Viet Nam pdf file by Luis Omar Salinas

  • Teach: ironic: surprising twist , sardonic: bitterly ironic
  • Vocabulary: tarnish, anguish, futile
  • Have students silently "talk to text" with highlighters, pencils
  • Ask students to share what they have noticed about the poem

  1. What is the subject of the poem?
  2. What is the tone of the poem?
  3. What sensory words bring the experience of the poem to life?
  4. Which lines or the climax of the poem? Which new vocabulary word describes them?
  5. What is the meaning of "let all anguish be futile?" And what is the tone of this question?
  • Homework: Complete a "Say Mean Matter" pdf filechart for this poem.
  • Students copy each line of poem in the "Say" column, interpret it in the "Mean" column, and give opinions in the "Matter" column.

42. Read final allotment of pages.

  • Chart

43. Using notes and quotes and novel, students fill in answers for "Character Analysis: Danny Vo" pdf fileand "Character Analysis: Sang Le Ly." pdf file

  • Do the first character together.
  • Allot ten or fifteen minutes for students to do the second character on their own.
  • Go over answers orally to give slower students a chance to catch up.

44. Students fill in Venn Diagram pdf file comparing Sang Le and Danny.

45. CONCLUDING ASSIGNMENT: Students write an essay that asks them to think critically about the particular circumstances of immigrants as depicted in this novel. Pass out, go over and fill in brief answers in the section titled Outline for compare and contrast essay This is in preparation for the concluding assignment.

46. Pass out and go over Compare and Contrast: Key Words. pdf file

47. Students write essays on Alpha Smarts, if available, in class or at home.

48. Students submit first draft for teacher or student editing, depending on the needs of the class.

49. Photocopy and share an exemplary essay with the class. Ask the class to explain the positive aspects of the essay.

Essential Question
Lesson Plan & Activities
Content Standards
Technology Integration Process
Samples Of Student Work
Teacher Commentary

requires Adobe Acrobat Reader

Urban Dreams
OUSD Curriculum Unit
Shadow of the Dragon
by Sherry Garland
Subject: English/ELD
Grade Level: 9th

Lesson Plan Author: L. Delaney
School: Skyline High