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House on Mango Street

Mary Scott, teacher at Skyline High School in Oakland, California, explains how she developed this unit for Sandra Cisnero's House on Mango Street.

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Sandra Cisneros’s House on Mango Street is a book used to teach students how to share their own notion of Human Rights and cultural experiences with classmates and others in imaginative, creative, and meaningful ways.

The students become inspired about the House on Mango Street stories when they relate their own cultural experiences to the experiences of the characters in the stories. The stories in House on Mango Street are nuanced, sensitive and loaded with Human Rights issues the students can grapple with while also developing their reading comprehension skills, writing strategies, and vocabulary development.

The activities incorporated in this Unit are designed to aid the student through both the guided reading and writing strategies. The essay portion of the worksheets aid in developing the student’s writing skills, and students learn the basic fundamentals of writing an autobiographical essay. The ultimate goal of this unit is to enable the student to explore Human Rights issues and teach simple writing skills for the creation of an autobiographical book about their Human Rights and own cultural experiences. The final product is a book comprised of the student’s essays. The technology skills learned include computer graphics, clip art, and formatting. They also learn how to bind the materials into a book.

This Unit is also designed to develop the student’s oral and written responses to simple stories and to aid students in improving their comprehension skills by discovering answers to questions about the text. The questions range from simple to complex, ranging from factual to inferential. They learn to identify main ideas, and use the main ideas to draw inferences about written text using simple sentences.

The students learn to draw inferences, conclusions, and generalizations about the text they write essays using textual evidence and prior knowledge.

In House on Mango Street, each chapter (vignette) focuses on a Human/Civil rights issue.
For example:

  • What is racism?
  • What is racial discrimination?
  • What are the rights of the child?
  • What are women rights?
  • What is a Human Right and who determines when a right is applicable?
Overview and
Essential Questions
Support Structures
Concluding Assignment
Lesson Plan
Teacher Commentary
Student Work - html
Student Essay 1
Student Essay 2
Student Essay 3
Guided Reading 1
Guided Reading 2
Guided Reading 3
Teacher Interview

Urban Dreams
OUSD Curriculum Unit
The House on Mango Street
by Sandra Cisneros
Subject: English
Grade Level: 9th

Lesson Plan Author:
Mary Scott
School: Skyline High
Organization: OUSD