Themes are so important in House on Mango Street. From identity, home, and family to growing up, friendship, and culture, the book is filled with themes and it’s essential that students understand them. Thus I created a notes sheet and lesson designed to help students grasp the main ideas of each vignette. Continue reading
One of the major themes in House on Mango Street is growing up. As Esperanza grows up, she starts to realize things about herself and the adult world–hence why this is called a ‘coming of age’ novel! This is essential for students to understand, so I created a notes sheet to help students begin to think about this theme in selected vignettes. Continue reading
“Hey, can I talk to you for a minute?” I pulled one of my Book Club students aside after class. He had been dozing on and off the entire thirty minutes (yes, Book Club is only thirty minutes) and I wanted to see what was up. “Look,” I said, “I know you’re tired, but it hurts my feelings when you fall asleep during my class. What if you were telling me a story about your weekend and I closed my eyes and started snoring. How would you feel?” Continue reading
My students finish assessments at different points–this is a given–but it makes it essential to create extension activities and keep them busy and focused on the classroom curriculum. For an extension activity once my students were finished with their I Am Assessments, I created this–a reading and writing activity for the vignette “Darius & the Clouds” which we were not reading as a large group. Continue reading
The next section I had my students read in House on Mango Street was “My Name,” a vignette where main character Esperanza talks about her name, family culture, and wrestles with her identity. Continue reading
My kids finished reading Tuesdays with Morrie! Yay! To complete the unit, I wanted the students to watch the movie and to compare the book and the movie–understanding literature through multiple lenses. Continue reading
My sophomore Honors English students had just finished reading Part I of To Kill a Mockingbird, and as a transition activity, I had them journal for the first 10-15 minutes of class about these two topics:
Since Part II deals mainly, if not entirely, with the trail in Maycomb, I wanted the students to start thinking about their own lives and experiences–making connections to the book.
After journaling, we discussed their ideas as a class. Many students said they were influenced by family, peers, media, and religion. Some students argued that school was more of an influence than churches/religious establishments solely because students spend the majority of their time in school. Others said that family was a huge influence; some students argued that they had different beliefs than their family members. It was a very lively and interesting discussion!
For the second question, about our justice system, students were almost unanimous on the belief that it was unfair. They talked about things like long sentences to people that don’t deserve it, or vice versa. They talked about how money can play a huge role in someone’s consequences. They even talked about some celebrities and how the media influences the way people feel about the justice system.
I thought this activity worked well to preview what was coming next–a project that compared/contrasted the 1930’s and 1960’s–the setting of the book and the time period when Harper Lee (the author) was writing the book.
To change up activities for To Kill a Mockingbird, I had the students write the scene at the Radley House (where Jem, Scout, and Dill try to peer through the window and Jem loses his pants) through the eyes of one of the characters. Continue reading
As I begin to wrap up Tuesdays with Morrie in my English 10 classes, I wanted to give students the opportunity to form an opinion. Some of my students love the book. Some don’t. I wanted to get them working on opinion-based narrative writing, dip into persuasive writing, and most importantly, make arguments and back them up with support! Continue reading