Overview: Free Esparanza Rising lesson plan. After reading a chapter of Pam Muñoz Ryan's Esperanza Rising, readers summarize part of the story in the form of a journal entry written in Esperanza's voice.
Subject: ELA: Narrative Writing, Reading Literature, Speaking & Listening
Grades: 5th, 6th, 7th
Duration: 1 hour
Related Concepts: Elements of Plot, Summary, Point of View
Students will be able to:
- Apply their ability to comprehend and summarize a chapter of a book into a short passage.
- Interpret a character's viewpoint and write from that character's point of view in the form of a narrative journal.
Essential Questions: How can I summarize a longer reading passage? Can writing from a character's perspective help me understand the story more deeply?
Vocabulary: journaling, empathy, collaborative writing
Common Core Standards Addressed:
- ELA: Writing:
- W.5.3, 3b
- W.6.3, 3b
- W.7.3, 3b
- ELA: Speaking & Listening:
- Student copies of Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan
- Paper and pens
- Student computers (optional)
This lesson is for students who have read Chapters 1-7 of Esperanza Rising.
Have students summarize the events of the first half of the book, either independently, in pairs, or as a whole group. (This could have also been a homework assignment the night before.) Encourage the class to focus on specific examples of Esperanza’s character growth as she is beginning to adjust to life as a migrant worker in America.
Lead a discussion about what journaling is, including asking students if they have kept journals before and for what purposes they found journaling to be effective. Explain that the class will be journaling from the point of view of Esperanza. Briefly review the concept of “point of view,” calling on students to share their understanding of the idea (including defining “first person” and “third person” points of view).
Divide students into small groups and assign each group a chapter that the class has read so far (1 through 7). The groups can take some time to review their assigned chapter and take notes about what Esperanza’s point of view was at that particular time in the story. They should ask themselves questions such as “How was Esperanza feeling at this point?” “What was she doing?” Students then work independently to write their own one-page journal entries from the first person point of view of Esperanza.
Group members share and compare their completed journal entries from the same chapter. When the class comes back together, volunteers can share their journal entries with the whole class.
Explain that the class will repeat this activity once the class has read the remaining half of the book to create a complete first person class journal of Esperanza’s experiences. Have learners write an exit ticket that answers the question “How did journaling from Esperanza's point of view help you to better understand her character?"
- Walk around while students are working on their journals to make sure they understand the assignment and are following directions.
- Assess each student's journal entry for accurate summarization of the book's events and the character's current viewpoint, using a narrative writing rubric if necessary.
Group English learners and students with learning disabilities with students who have strong language skills. Encourage students to use their visual, vocabulary, or other aids from their original reading of their assigned chapter as reference materials for this assignment.
Higher Level Students: Challenge advanced learners to focus on a more minor character from the text and compare their perspective to their Esperanza journal entries. How does looking at the text from different points of view help their understanding of the book?
Students can further practice writing and publishing journals, this time from the point of view of someone living through The Great Depression of California.
Keep the journal going and have learners update when something important happens to Esperanza, or when she begins to learn her lesson.