Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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the expanding canon teaching multicultural literature
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Reader Response: Pat Mora and James Welch Reader Response: Keith Gilyard and Mourning Dove Inquiry: Rudolfo Anaya and James Baldwin Inquiry: Tomás Rivera and Esmeralda Santiago Cultural Studies: Ishmael Reed and Graciela Limón Cultural Studies: N. Scott Momaday and Russell Leong Critical Pedagogy: Octavia E. Butler and Ruthanne Lum McCunn Critical Pedagogy: Abiodun Oyewole and Lawson Fusao Inada
Theory Overview Lesson Plans Teaching Strategies Authors and Literary Works Resources
Session 4 Inquiry: Tomás Rivera and Esmeralda Santiago - Lesson Plans

Lesson Plan 1
Lesson Plan 2


REFLECTION - Interactive Forum

Explore two poems using four approaches.


Share your views on the discussion

Download the Session 4 Guide

Author: Esmeralda Santiago
Work: When I Was Puerto Rican

Bo Wu uses an inquiry approach to explore Esmeralda Santiago's memoir When I Was Puerto Rican. The students engage in a dramatic reading of several sections of the chapter "The American Invasion of Macún" and discuss Santiago's usage of dialogue and descriptive language. Sparked by their personal interests, the students develop and research topics based on the chapter. Using Santiago's work as a model, the students create timelines of their lives and write their own memoirs.

To prepare for the lesson, view The Expanding Canon video program 4, Part I. Online review the session 4 theory overview, strategies, information about the authors and literature, resources, and the downloadable print guide. Read Esmeralda Santiago's memoir, When I Was Puerto Rican.

Teachers will need the following supplies:
  • board and/or chart paper
  • a television monitor or screen on which to show video program 4 or on-demand video (optional)
  • computers
  • Copies of When I Was Puerto Rican.
Standards for the English Language Arts

Teachers may want to show students the profile of Esmeralda Santiago from The Expanding Canon video program 4, Part II.

Day 1
1. Bo Wu begins her class by asking students to write predictions about Santiago's work in their journals. She then asks students to read aloud from the text. Two students read the dialogue and one reads the narration. Afterwards, the class discusses the importance of description in narration and the difference between direct and indirect dialogue.

2. Students write down responses in their journals and post these on the class Internet site.

3. Divided into small groups, students discuss issues and topics from their journal entries. Wu asks the groups to come up with a list of issues to explore further and to post this list on the class Internet site. She tells students that they are going to use these topics as a basis for writing their own memoirs.

4. Once students have generated topics for research, Wu asks students to share these topics with the class. Students lead the discussion, with Wu providing guidance to focus their topics for research purposes. For homework, Wu asks students to analyze how Santiago describes "The American Invasion of Macún" in the chapter by that name.

Day 2
1. Wu asks students to analyze Santiago's writing choices. She creates a graphic organizer for students by drawing a web with the words "American Invasion" at the center. As students propose ideas and information relevant to this topic, she writes their ideas around the words in the center. She also guides students to focus on evidence by asking questions such as:
  • How did Santiago illustrate this idea of the American invasion?
  • What are some of the changes that the American invasion brought to Santiago?
  • What kind of teacher was Miss Jimenez?

2. Wu then asks students to write a personal story in response to Santiago's work. She asks them to begin by generating a timeline of events, including sensory experiences. This timeline functions as a graphic organizer for the students' stories. As Wu explains, "We'll use the timeline to help you explore and discover some of the stories in your life about the topic you have chosen." The timeline includes events, detailed with specific sensory experiences, as well as their connections to the larger events of history.

3. Students pick out two events in the timeline and research their cultural and historic background. Wu then asks students to write a short memoir that connects personal stories with the historic and cultural events they have researched.

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