Title: The House on Mango Street
Author: Sandra Cisneros
Grade level: 9th
Due to a limited number of books, we read this novel aloud
in class, often in a readers theater format if there
is a lot of dialogue. (I copy the sections and highlight "scripts"
for students to read aloud. Sections which work particularly
well in this format are indicated with an * ).
In teaching of this novel, my emphasis is placed on theme,
symbol and style. For the purposes of organization, the novel
is divided into eight thematic sections outlined below. Prior
to reading each section, students complete a pre-reading assignment
related to their own lives and/or society at large; these
pre-readings provide a thematic framework from which to discuss
the chapters in that section. They also serve as a vehicle
to help students address the essential questions from different
angles. Any one of the sections could be expanded or developed
to really focus on a particular theme or issue, as you will
see with the Geraldo No Name vignette.
A logistical note: I see my students for 100 minutes every
day. Realizing how rare that is, I have tried to break up
days based on a 50-55 minute block of time, but my sense of
timing might be a bit off. I have included an approximate
number of minutes to spend on each activity, but I know that
varies greatly depending on each individual classroom. Please
also know as you look through the activities below that I
do not do every one of these assignments every yeartwo
essays, a map project and a portfolio on top of daily assignments
would undoubtedly overwhelm my students and distract them
from the overall focus of the unit! Still, I have included
them all here just to expand the pool of resources we are
all so often seeking! J I generally spend 4-6 weeks on this
unit though it could be shortened or expanded depending on
the needs of your classroom. Depending on the project(s) I
assign, I will often give the students a "writing week"
at the end of the unit to complete the culminating project.
NOTE: This is a unit I have taught and found great success
with over several years, but I did not develop the majority
of it. Many of the handouts available here were created and
passed on to me by the English Department at Castro Valley
High School. The interpretive essay, power-point presentations
and portfolio are my own additions.