Lesson: Lesson 13-Character Strengths

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Lesson Objective

SWBAT analyze the protagonist’s responses to problems from the past and so far in the story and use those experiences to identify the character’s strengths and changes over time.

Lesson Plan

Lesson Plan Template



Class:      Literature                                                                             

Unit Number & Title or Week #: Esperanza Rising Day 13

Grade Level: 5th                                    




SWBAT analyze the protagonist’s responses to problems from the past and so far in the story and use those experiences to identify the character’s strengths and changes over time.

State Standard/AF Standard:

Unit 7: Story Elements

  1. Identify obstacles and challenges that characters face and infer what inner strengths characters draw upon to help them meet these challenges.




  1. 1.       DRP  
  2. 2.       Vocabulary
  3. 3.       Novel Quick Questions/Quick Write
  4. 4.       Mini-Lesson
  5. 5.       Discussion/Guided Practice
  6. 6.       Independent Practice


Exit Ticket:

Pgs 227-228 & Last chapter character strength flow charts


Open-ended response: What is Esperanza’s greatest STRENGTH at the end of the book? How does this strength help her overcome the big problems of the novel? 

Vocabulary Used in Lesson: Vocabulary Workshop Unit 10

Homework: Final Journal Entry for HW (using the same format from Lesson 2)



Description of Segment

Teacher #1 Says/Does

Students Are

5-7 min

Degrees of Reading Power



Students will have a DO NOW DRP on their desks. Passages are taken from Rise and Shine DRP book. Each day students complete half a passage focusing on utilizing the strategies taught and choosing the best word to complete the blank.


Students will set up their desks with their IR books and HW in the proper spots.


They will silently complete their DRP, once their HW has been collected.



10 min


Vocabulary-spotlight next 2 words today-teacher will go over meaning with students and then students will model after the vocabulary card anchor which includes writing synonyms, antonyms, a sentence, and a picture. In addition, students will come up with a motion to help them remember the word this will be done as teacher goes over the definition of the word.

Students will listen attentively to the definitions of the two words presented; in addition students will follow the model to create their note cards, and complete the appropriate motion that corresponds with the vocabulary word.

5-7 min

Novel Quick Questions or Quick Write

Students will silently complete their quick questions or journal entry. (See attached packet for QQ or Journal entry.)

 Students are silently and independently completing the starter questions and then sharing out responses when time is up. As the discussion continues, students are adding to what others are saying, agreeing and or disagreeing, and also tracking the speaker as they share their ideas.

5-7 min

Hook (intro/engagement strategy)

“Today I want to teach you that we can think deeper about our character by thinking about what challenge or obstacle our character faces, and asking ourselves: What does my character have inside that will help him or her meet this challenge?  What sorts of inner strengths does she have that will help her face the challenge? Asking this question helps us think about what kind of person our character is. As we finish the book today, we want to keep in mind the strengths that Esperanza possesses that will help her overcome the struggles in her life.”

 Students are silently tracking while the teacher shares the goal for today.  

3 min

Mini Lesson (Teaching Strategy)

“Looking at how this relates to yesterday and examining her flaws, we know that in the end she will be successful because her strengths outweigh her flaws. We look at strengths in the same way we look at other characteristics…think about all that Esperanza has that will help her overcome the obstacles that are put in front of  her. We have seen her grown into her strengths throughout the novel, and today we will be trying to pinpoint strong evidence that shows she is using those strengths she has to overcome the problems she faces in her life.”

Teacher will have students turn to page 218 and will quickly refresh that this is point in the story where Esperanza is confident that Mexicans are not being treated right in the U.S. She stands up for what she believes in, and argues with Miguel that he is not being treated fairly for what he is capable of doing.

Teacher will ask:

 What do you notice here?

What could be one of Esperanza’s strengths that she is showing here?


After a short discussion, the teacher will walk the students through the evidence that is there that shows that her strength here is confidence. (See example in CW packet for written out evidence to use)


Teacher will model how to fill in their flow chart with the evidence, or teacher could already have it typed in and just remind students of expectations in each of the evidence boxes.


Students are silently tracking the teacher as presents the mini-lesson and models the example and how to fill in their chart.  

5-7  min

Guided Practice


“Let’s try another example of a key moment in the story, now let’s look back to how Esperanza treats Isabel. Turn your books to page 227-228. Keep in mind to that we want to observe her thoughts, words, and actions in order to determine what her strength is as a character.


Teacher starts reading pg. 227-228 aloud, once finished the teacher will have students turn and talk with each other to come up with one word that they think describes the strength that Esperanza reveals in this section of the text. Teacher will be looking for words like selfless, mature, caring, generous…etc. After students have turned and talk, the teacher will have them share out their choices. The teacher will have them write the best choice in the strength box provided in the packet for page 227-228. As a class, the teacher will instruct students that we will now be looking for evidence to support their idea and recording the evidence in their flow chart. As students are sharing out evidence, the teacher is modeling on the document camera how they should be filling in their second flow chart.


Students are silently tracking as directions are being given, and then sharing out responses after they have turned and talked with their partner. In addition, students are filling in their flow chart with evidence and the strength following the guided model that the teacher is writing with them on the board.

1 min

Check for Understanding

What is a character strength? What do the strengths reveal about our character?  

Students are silently raising their hands to offer answers to those questions.

35+ min

Independent Practice


 Students who are reading on or above the level of the book we are reading will read silently and independently. After students have read to the end of the book, they will take some time to choose a strength that  Esperanza revealed at the end of the book and then use textual evidence to back up that claim. All evidence and strengths will be written into their third flow chart which is in the attached packet. Students who are below grade level will listen to the book on CD and then once finished return to their seats to complete their class work.

 Students are finishing up reading the chapter “Las Uvas” and filling in the strength they chose to describe Esperanza based the last chapter, and then providing four examples of strong evidence to support the strength they chose.  

7-10 min

Exit Ticket  

With the last 10 minutes of class, teacher will instruct students to complete their exit slip using their chart and evidence from the text to support their answer.

Students are silently and independently completing their exit ticket.

3 min

Closing / End of Class

Teacher will go over HW for the night and write it on the HW board.

Students will silently write down their HW in the binder and place the assignment in the front pocket of the binder.










What went well?  What would you change next time?


Students did really well with identifying strengths that Esperanza showed in this section of the text. In addition, their evidence was strong, and not only came from the last chapter, but some students even went back to critical moments in the story and pulled evidence about a strength that was seen there. If I could change anything about this lesson, I think I would want to read the entire chapter aloud and give students time to respond to the strengths either with a partner or on their own, or both structured equally into the lesson. I think that having the students end the book on their own, some of the climactic finish might have been lost. Being able to read it together might have also led to more discussion about what they think will happen to Esperanza and how they think she changed throughout. 


In addition, reflecting on the unit as a whole, the students really enjoyed writing the journal entries as Esperanza from different points in the story. I enjoyed seeing their perceptions into what was happening the main character and the feelings that they understood her having because of those events. Finally, in order to make my unit even stronger, I would work to included related HW in the next time through the unit. Either finding TA passages that connect to the issues migrant farmers have, to immigration, and other paired passages that would add to a student’s understanding of the text and also practice the TA skills necessary for work on the CMTs.







Lesson Resources

LP-Lesson 13-Esperanza Strengths.docx  
CW-Las Uvas-Chapter 14.docx  


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