The House on Mango Street Sandra Cisneros novel study lessons, CLICK HERE for unit on TpT.
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The House on Mango Street is a classic novel written by Sandra Cisneros, and it has been used in the high school classroom for many years. It is an excellent tool for teaching students about life experiences and identity. Through a series of vignettes, Cisneros tells the story of Esperanza, a young girl growing up in a Latino neighborhood in Chicago. In this blog post, we will discuss how to effectively teach The House on Mango Street in the high school classroom.
Introduce the Novel
Before introducing the novel to your students, you should provide them with some background information about the author and her work. This will help set the stage for their reading experience and allow them to build a connection to Esperanza’s story. As you introduce the novel, you can also talk to your students about some of the themes that appear throughout the book such as family dynamics, identity, gender roles, and more. Start introducing the themes of The House on Mango Street early in your course plan. This will help set up conversations about identity, family relationships, poverty, and resilience throughout the year. You could use journaling activities to get your students thinking about these topics from day one. For example, you could ask them to write down their hopes and dreams for their future or what they think it means to “belong” somewhere.
Discuss Each Vignette
The House on Mango Street consists of 44 short vignettes that together form one cohesive narrative. After each chapter or vignette has been read aloud or assigned as homework, lead your class discussion by asking open-ended questions that encourage students to think critically about what they have read. Encourage students to draw connections between Esperanza’s experiences and their own lives or those of people they know or have heard about from others. You can also ask them to evaluate different characters’ actions or decisions and consider how those actions might impact their lives in both positive and negative ways.
When teaching The House on Mango Street, it is important to create lesson plans that engage your students in meaningful discussion and critical thinking. For example, you can have your students focus on the main character Esperanza’s relationships with other characters as she tries to find her place in the world. You can also discuss themes such as identity, dreams, family dynamics, and life in a marginalized community.
Integrating Writing Assignments
Writing assignments are an important part of teaching literature because they help students think critically about what they have read and express their own thoughts and feelings in response to the text. When teaching The House on Mango Street, you can assign writing prompts such as having students write a letter from Esperanza’s perspective or reflect on how one of Esperanza’s relationships has changed over the course of the book. You can also ask them to write a poem about their own personal experience with identity or belonging.
Incorporating Other Media
To further engage your students in the content of The House on Mango Street, you can incorporate other media such as films, podcasts, music, and artwork into your lesson plans. For example, you could have them listen to songs from Latinx music artists that relate to the themes of identity or belonging featured in the book or watch films like Coco (2017) which explore similar themes within a Mexican American family context.
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Assign Creative Projects
To really bring The House on Mango Street alive for your students, assign creative projects related to topics discussed in the book. For example, have your students create artwork based on certain scenes from the novel or write poems inspired by their favorite characters’ stories. These types of activities help students engage with literature at a deeper level while developing their creativity at the same time.
Make Connections Between Texts
The House on Mango Street is a great book to pair with other texts that explore similar themes. For example, if you’re teaching a unit on immigration and assimilation, The House on Mango Street could be paired with Julia Alvarez’s How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents or Junot Diaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. These novels all explore themes of identity formation in different contexts and can lead to interesting discussions about how these characters grapple with their pasts as they try to create a future for themselves.
Engage With Different Modes of Expression
Encourage your students to express themselves through different modes such as art or music when discussing The House on Mango Street. For example, have them listen to songs that explore similar themes (such as Selena Quintanilla’s “Amor Prohibido”) or view artwork that relates back to passages from the novel (like Frida Kahlo’s “Self-Portrait Dedicated To Dr Eloesser”). Through creative expression, your students will engage more deeply with the text while also developing critical thinking skills as they analyze how various forms of media relate back to literature.
Teaching The House on Mango Street in your high school classroom is an excellent way to get your students thinking deeply about important topics related to life experiences and identity. By introducing background information about Sandra Cisneros’ work before diving into each vignette, leading meaningful discussions after each chapter has been read aloud or assigned as homework, and assigning creative projects related to topics discussed in the book, you can ensure that your lesson plans are engaging and effective!