Lesson Plan: Sections 1, 2, & 3
Section One: Self Definition and Identity:
(1 class period)
Pre-reading #1 question: What is the personal significance
of your given name (first, middle and last)? Does your name
mean different things to you, your family, and your friends?
What are your nicknames? What do your nicknames mean to you
and those who call you those names?
The House on Mango Street; Hairs; Boys and Girls; My Name
Students should have completed pre-reading #1 in-class the
day before or for homework. Spend some time talking about
the question and invite some students to share their work.
Read the remaining vignettes from this section, paying particular
attention to the stylistic devices the author is using. Revisit
Esperanzas sense of self in the My Name vignette and
add any additional observations on where her sense of identity
comes from to the chart paper you began the day before. (20-25
Suggested activity: "Hairs" Modeling
In this section of the text, students are reminded of (or
in some cases introduced to) some of the stylistic devices
Cisneros uses to make her writing come alive. After reading
(and re-reading) the "Hairs" vignette I have students
share lines and images that stand out. They often stumble
over reading this passage and become frustrated. When we probe
that, they observe that there is very little punctuation in
the chapter and many conclude, "It feels more like a
poem" because of the images and the rhythm. After discussing
some of what is happening stylistically in this chapter, distribute
the Elements of Style handout
Elements of Style worksheet.doc
and review the notes and examples together. When students
have a reasonable grasp of the terms, introduce the "Hairs"
Modeling Assignment . Hairs_modeling.doc
I generally model this assignment with the students both
with the text and with my own version of the assignment. Students
should begin this process in class and finish for homework.
Homework: Complete a first draft of the "Hairs
work: "Hairs Modeling" student_samples_hairs.doc
Follow-up activity #1: As an on-going project throughout
the book, students identify and record examples of simile,
metaphor, personification, alliteration, etc. on a sheet of
binder paper. Depending on whether or not they have books
to take home, you might want to give them time in class to
do this; this works particularly well as a group assignment.
Follow-up activity #2: Figurative
Language Quiz (California State Standard 3.7) fig_lang_quiz.DOC
When you feel like students have a good grasp of similes,
metaphor and personification, quiz them! I usually give this
quiz about half-way through the unit.
Section Two: Friendship, Neighborhood, Home:
(1-2 class periods)
Pre-reading #2 question: Is living in a house your
family owns different from living in a house or apartment
your family rents? How? Are renters, owners and homeless people
all considered equal citizens in America? Why or why not?
Cathy Queen of Cats; Our Good Day;* Laughter; Gils
Furniture Bought and Sold; Meme Ortiz; Louie, His Cousin and
His Other Cousin
Begin class by having students share their "Hairs Modeling"
assignments with a partner or small group. Invite some to
share either their own or their partners with the whole class.
Collect the assignments and give feedback so that students
can later do a final draft. (10 minutes)
Give students time to complete pre-reading #2 in class. They
sometimes struggle with this question, so review the topic
with them carefully to get them started. When theyve
finished, discuss the question as a group before beginning
the reading. (20-25 minutes)
Collect pre-readings and read Cathy Queen of Cats; Our Good
Day; Laughter; and Gils Furniture Bought and Sold together
as a class. I would suggest giving student volunteers a highlighted
script of Our Good Day to read in a readers theater
format. The teacher can play the role of the narrator, or
that part can be assigned to a student. (20-25 minutes)
Read and discuss the remaining chapters Meme Ortiz; Louie,
His Cousin and His Other Cousin (15-20 minutes)
Suggested activity: Chapter Titles
Note: This assignment is designed to lead into the
writing of an autobiographical incident essay or some short,
creative pieces imitating Cisneros style; the assignment
can also stand alone if the students just need an artistic
Review together the Table of Contents from House on
Mango Street. Have students share observations about
the titles, which chapters they are most interested in reading
and why, predict what they will find in those chapters, etc.
Discuss the creativity of Cisneros "chapter titles"
and the impact of a title such as "The Rice Sandwich"
on a readers interest level and curiosity.
Using Cisneros as a model, students should brainstorm a list
of 10 ACTUAL significant events from their lives which helped
shape their sense of identity (the more interesting and concrete
the memory, the better!) and title them accordingly. Once
the rough draft of each students "Chapter Titles"
has been approved, students create a personal table of contents
for their own lives. They should come up with a title for
their table of contents. The final draft should be artistically/creatively
displayed and illustrated; one of these "titles"
can become the foundation for an autobiographical incident
essay. (35-40 minutes)
Homework: Complete final draft of Chapter Titles
Final assessment option #1: Autobiographical Incident
Essay (allow 2-3 days in-class to work) Prior to
assigning the essay I usually have students practice telling
the story of one of their titles to their peers and/or in
free-writes. Go over the writing prompt one day in class and
give students the remainder of the period to complete the
cluster chart and begin drafting. Have the rough draft due
a few days later and spend another day on the peer evaluation
and revision strategies.
Note: If possible give students computer access through
the drafting process. Some students think much better if they
can type rather than handwrite their drafts. The final draft
should be typed.
Section Three: Freedom and Entrapment (1
Pre-reading #3 question: In what areas of your life
are you most free to do what you like? In what areas of your
life do you have the least freedom? Consider the roles gender,
race, religion, education, class, age, and upbringing play
in limiting an individuals personal freedom.
pp. 26-38 Marin; Those Who Dont; There Was an Old Woman
Alicia Who Sees Mice; Darius and the Clouds; And Some More*
Give students time to complete pre-reading #3 in class. The
question invites them to consider "the roles gender,
race, religion, education, class, age, and upbringing play"
in determining an individuals freedom. While students
can write about each of these areas, encourage them to focus
on one or two that most directly impact their lives. (20-25
Read and discuss the suggested chapters, either as a whole
class or in pairs. (And Some More works fabulously in readers
theater format!) (20-25 minutes)
Depending on time, you can have students work on pre-reading
#4 or begin the Houses in the Book chart. (below).
Homework: Pre-reading #4
Optional activity: Houses in the Book (1 class
Students work in small groups or pairs to complete the Houses
in the Book Chart, Houses_Chart.doc
an assignment which requires them to find details from the
story about several key places on Mango Street, as well as
identify a significant quotation that captures something important
about that place or what happens there. This is a good scaffolding
assignment for the map project (below) as well as another
good opportunity to practice close-reading.
Final assessment option #2: Mango
Street Map Project (3-4
class periods) Map Project.doc
The map project can be done on poster board, as the worksheet
describes, three dimensionally, or by using computer and Internet
skills, depending on the time, needs and interests of students.
To truly make this a final assessment, students should also
do some sort of group or individual essay reflecting on how
Esperanzas neighborhood and community have helped shape
who she has become.
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