Coming of Age

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SWBAT identify coming-of-age indications in four vignettes from The House On Mango Street, as well as in a film clip from The Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

Big Idea

Same topic, different voice, tone, and mood: Challenging students to stay in control of their own voices as writers.

Share Concept Wheels and Vocabulary Four Quiz

25 minutes

Before my students take their vocabulary quiz, I ask for any volunteers who would like to share one of their vocabulary concept wheels on the document camera, as a form of review for the quiz.  As usual, I remind them that the more who are willing to share, the better the review will be.  This also gives me an impromptu opportunity to correct any misusages of the words in student-generated sentences, should the occasion arise.

When my students are finished sharing, I distribute the vocabulary quiz.

Focus on Coming of Age

40 minutes

After the quiz, I instruct my students to take out their classroom spiral notebooks in order to begin a new assignment.  This assignment is an extension of the topic "coming of age" that my students should have addressed, and generally did (to varying degrees of success) in the Socratic Seminar of the previous lesson.

I begin with the powerpoint on the concept of coming of age, pausing on the definition.  I ask my students to name any books they have read or films they may have seen that focus on a character's coming of age.  I then explain to them that the last four vignettes from The House On Mango Street they read and discussed for the Socratic Seminar ("The Family of Little Feet,""A Rice Sandwich," "Chanclas," and "Hips") were evidence of Esperanza's coming of age.  I point out that rather than explicitly state the fact that Esperanza is growing up, Sandra Cisneros, as a skilled writer, gives us implicit indications from which we can make inferences about Esperanza's coming of age.

I then arrive at the activity in the powerpoint which asks students to find three indications of Esperanza's coming of age in the vignettes.  Students can either recall and paraphrase from memory, if the topic was broached during their seminar, or they can consult the book again, particularly if the concept is a new realization for them.  This practice is aligned with the Common Core shift of providing text-based answers, and is a practice my students have been engaging in throughout the reading of The House on Mango Street. I give them 8-10 minutes to record their findings and then ask them as a whole group to share what they have found.

Once students have shared the evidence for Esperanza's coming of age, I ask them to describe the voice, tone, and mood of the vignettes.  I accept all reasonable responses, and then explain to my students that there are, of course, many ways to present a person's "coming of age" (Lightening the Mood).  I then move to the activity in the powerpoint that asks them to find three indications of Greg's coming of age while explaining to them that I am going to show them a clip from a film that works with a different voice, tone, and mood.  Some students will know right away who "Greg" is, from The Diary of a Wimpy Kid. I cue the film to chapter two, which depicts Greg's first day of middle school, and show around 20 minutes (through the scene where he and Rowley are walking home from school).  I stop the film and again ask students to share as a whole group what they have found as evidence for Greg's coming of age.

Homework: Your Own Coming Of Age Moment

5 minutes

With the few minutes remaining of class, I direct my student's attention to the whiteboard, where I have written their homework assignment.  My hope is that by including the humorous approach to the topic of coming of age through the film clip, some students may experiment with humor in their own writing for this assignment.  The reminder for "specific language" is a nod to the ideas we read about in the essay "What Great Writing Can Teach Us About Trayvon Martin."