Thematic Focus and Those Who Don't
Lesson 1 of 13
Objective: SWBAT read the vignette "Those Who Don't" from The House on Mango Street and write about and discuss the theme of stereotyping inherent in the vignette.
Today begins with a vocabulary review before my students take their vocabulary quiz, which allows for any last minute studying or clarification before they quiz. I invite any students who are especially proud of one of their acrostics to place it on the document camera and share it with the whole class (Sample Student Acrostic, Sample Student 2 Acrostic). Students are only allowed to share one of their acrostics, but I remind them that the more they are willing to share, the better the vocabulary review will be.
When I'm finally hearing crickets when I ask for any more volunteers, we move on to Vocabulary Two Quiz.
After the vocabulary quiz, we return our attention to The House on Mango Street, specifically to the vignette "Those Who Don't."
I ask a student to read the vignette aloud to the whole class. This is followed up by a quick round of first impressions, in that I ask if anyone would like to share their initial reactions to the content of the vignette. In this vignette is found one of Cisneros' more overt expressions of theme, and I want my students to pause for awhile on it and explore what message(s) she might be suggesting.
When students are finished sharing their first thoughts, I tell them that I am going to read the vignette to them again. This time, I want them to write a response that addresses why they think the vignette is titled "Those Who Don't." Who are those who don't? What "don't" they do? I instruct students to begin writing whenever their first idea comes to them and give them around five to seven minutes to explore the question through their writing. As they write, I circulate the room, glancing at student writing and fielding any individual questions.
When they have finished writing, I open up the discussion a second time, asking that their comments this time address what they have just written (Student Sample). Typically, their comments will steer toward the nature of stereotyping, and I usually find that my students have much to offer, including personal experiences they have had with stereotyping (To Discuss or Not to Discuss?).
I preface this homework assignment with an explanation to my students about the essay, "Black Men and Public Space." I tell them that they will be reading a famous essay, written by a black journalist, about his experience with stereotyping.
The homework assignment is the same paragraph-by-paragraph-main-ideas-as-mini-summaries that my students performed with the essay from The New Yorker, only this time they will be writing their mini summaries in the margin of the essay, as opposed to entries in their classroom spiral notebook. Because this is eventually the way the technique should work, with students writing on the actual text, I want to transition them to this process whenever they are able to write on the text. I anticipate that this strategy will be especially useful with this article, as it is quite a bit more stylistic than the The New Yorker article, thereby making it more complex and potentially more difficult to comprehend.
Additionally, I ask my students to highlight any unfamiliar words so that we can build our week's vocabulary list from what they select.