Lesson Plan Menu

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?

Read pp. 3-11
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. (5-10 minutes)

Student work: Pre-readings

Read the remaining vignettes from this section, paying particular attention to the stylistic devices the author is using. Revisit Esperanza’s 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 minutes)

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. (15-20 minutes)

Homework: Complete a first draft of the "Hairs Modeling" assignment

Student 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?

Read pp. 12-25
Cathy Queen of Cats; Our Good Day;* Laughter; Gil’s 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 they’ve 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 Gil’s 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 reader’s theater format. The teacher can play the role of the narrator, or that part can be assigned to a student. (20-25 minutes)

(Day 2)

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 reprieve.

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 reader’s 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 student’s "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.

Technology 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.

Student work: Autobiographical Incident Paper

Section Three: Freedom and Entrapment (1 class period)

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 individual’s personal freedom.

Read pp. 26-38 Marin; Those Who Don’t; 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 individual’s 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 minutes)

Read and discuss the suggested chapters, either as a whole class or in pairs. (And Some More works fabulously in reader’s 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 period)
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 Esperanza’s neighborhood and community have helped shape who she has become.

[ continue to section 4 - 6 ]


Essential Question
Lesson Plan: Intro
Lesson Plan: Sec. 1 - 3
Lesson Plan: Sec. 4 - 6
Lesson Plan: Sec. 7 & 8
Content Standards
Samples Of Student Work
Teacher Commentary

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

Lesson Plan Author:
Erin Carlson
Organization: OUSD