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Teaching Multicultural Literature: A Workshop for the Middle Grades

Engagement and Dialogue: Julia Alvarez, James McBride, Lensey Namioka, and more Student Work

This section features sample student work from Carol O’Donnell’s unit on dual identities and multiple worlds in Workshop video 1. The samples include:

  • Questions, quotes, and reactions prepared by one student for the peer facilitation circle about The Color of Water. (See Teaching Strategies: Peer Facilitation Circle.)
  • An identity statement written by a student-panelist for the talk show (an activity in which student-panelists took on the roles of characters in the literature they were studying). This student wrote in the voice of Khoi T. Luu, author of “Family Ties: the Lighter Side of the Vietnamese American Experience.” (See Teaching Strategies: Talk Show.)
  • Interview questions prepared by a student-reporter for the talk show. (See Teaching Strategies: Talk Show.)
  • An identity story — the final project in which students, drawing on all of the literature and activities in the unit, crafted stories about dualities in their own identities. (See Teaching Strategies: Identity Stories.)

As you review the student’s work, consider the following questions:

  • What do you notice that this student did well?
  • What questions might you ask this student about his or her work?

Peer Facilitation Preparation

Talk Show Identity Statement

Khoi Monologue

When I came here as a young child, I always had a breathing living desire to become more “American,” whatever that means. As I become older, I realized that there really wasn’t a way to completely free my mind of a sorrowful Vietnamese past. When I had fully realized this, I not only began acting like myself but I started to preserve and improve the Vietnamese personality that haunted me in the past. I decided to embrace it, not push it away or dissolve it with some kind of Febreeze for personalities. Now, I have set up a reserve for my Vietnamese self like those that are set up to preserve Native Americans, and no longer do I fear to convey my true personality.

Talk Show Questions

Workshops