My Name

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SWBAT perform an in-class vocabulary review activity, followed by a reading of vignette #4--"My Name"--in The House on Mango Street, with accompanying writing assignment.

Big Idea

What's in a name? Students take their language to new heights with written explorations of their names.

Vocabulary One Guided Review

40 minutes

I try to maintain a pattern of ten vocabulary words a week throughout the school year, which is a practice I have implemented over my teaching years that very much supports the Common Core emphasis on students building transferable academic vocabulary in order to access complex texts. Vocabulary occurs in a number of ways in my classroom, whether from the texts that we read, the concepts we learn, or the discussions, both planned and spontaneous, that we conduct.  I keep a running list of words on the white board throughout the week and provide a review on Fridays. Vocabulary quizzes generally happen on Mondays.

Thus, it's the end of a week and so time to review the vocabulary that has been gathering through the week's lessons, readings, and discussions.  I like to vary the vocabulary assignments as much as possible, so that the process does not become rote and potentially meaningless.  For this first set of words, I have created a guided, whole-class activity.  Through the powerpoint (Vocabulary #1), my students write the definition of each word, followed by the task required for each word.  I allow my students to share their responses as we go along, and the result is a fairly thorough review.

My Name Writing Assignment

30 minutes

The vocabulary review is followed by a return to The House on Mango Street, in order to read and discuss vignette #4, "My Name," as a whole class.  This is a very generous vignette for providing student writing inspiration (A Case For My Name), and one that provides an opportunity for my students to try their hands at controlling their voice, tone, and mood as writers, which has been the focus of our previous lessons.

I assign a three-paragraph response that gives them enough room to explore their own names (MY NAME).  Because I want them to stretch their language beyond what they may be used to (i.e. the language used in the diagnostic essay about the worlds from which they come), I require that they use simile, metaphor, and personification at least once throughout their piece.  They can structure their writing like Esperanza's (a figurative exploration of her name, the history of her name, her relationship with her name) or they can develop their own organization.

Depending on how long the discussion of the vignette takes, the writing assignment may need to be completed entirely as homework.  If the discussion does not last as long, then my students can begin writing in class, with the opportunity for immediate feedback from me, and complete the remainder of their piece for homework.  I always prefer the latter, of course, but far be it from me to cut short a rousing discussion!