Comparing "Those Who Don't" and "Black Men in Public Space"

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SWBAT compare the theme found in both fictional and non-fictional texts and create an original poem that incorporates the same theme.

Big Idea

Using poetry to check for understanding of theme.

Vocabulary Three Review and Activity

35 minutes

It's the end of a week, and so class begins with a vocabulary review.  This week's words have been student-selected from the essay "Black Men and Public Space."  

Because these words are very new to most of my students, the vocabulary activity I have designed is a whole-class guided use of the words in sentences.  While I do believe that encouraging students to use new words in original sentences is an essential skill, I find that if the words are very unfamiliar to students, they tend to get misused the first time.  Thus, by creating sentences together as a whole class, I can orally confirm when they are used correctly, as well as correct student sentences on the spot when there is a misfire.

I call it a "vocabulary challenge" activity because I have found that the introduction of healthy competition among students, at any age and however slight, is generally a good results-producing approach.

Review "Black Men and Public Space" and Assign Poetry Homework

35 minutes

From the vocabulary review, we move into a more thorough whole-group sharing of the partner work questions from the essay "Black Men and Public Space" (this is a continuation of the previous day's lesson). Students share their answers to the partner questions, and when they are discussing the structure of the essay, I introduce them to the word anecdote.  They should have discovered, through the partner questions, that the writer's thesis is found in the second paragraph (unlike the previous essay from The New Yorker), and have realized that the first paragraph is a small example or story about the writer.  Anecdote then gets added to the new vocabulary list.

I eventually steer the discussion towards comparing the theme of stereotyping and its consequences found in both the vignette "Those Who Don't" from The House on Mango Street and the essay "Black Men and Public Space."  I ask students to explain the ways the texts are similar and the ways they are different in terms of how the respective themes are developed.  Students should be able to detect not only a difference in genre and structure, but a difference in voice, tone, and mood as well.  

This then leads into an explanation of the Poetry Assignment, where students have an opportunity to work with the theme of stereotyping in an original poem of their own. For this assignment, I am asking my students to blend two lines, one from each text, into an original poem about stereotyping. Additionally, my students will demonstrate their continued grasp of figurative language by including an example of figurative language in their poem, as figurative language has been a central focus of our House on Mango Street unit.  

Why a poem, you might ask?  In addition to the rationale I provide in the video, my reflection offers further insight.