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Teaching Multicultural Literature: A Workshop for the Middle Grades

Social Justice and Action: Joseph Bruchac and Francisco Jiménez Student Work

This section features student work from Lisa Espinosa’s unit on representation featured in Workshop video 8. Samples include:

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?


Ruiz School

Photography essay
My name is Ariana and I am 12 years old. I’ve lived in Pilsen all my life. I really enjoyed doing this project because I got to SEE Pilsen through different eyes. It gave me a chance to see how rich my culture and community really is. One of my hobbies are playing the electric guitar and writing stories. I never was into photography. So I really had no idea about how photographers work. I had a lot of questions.

I call my picture “Puestesito”. It represents many immigrant workers who come here and open their little stands in the streets of Pilsen to earn a living and support their families. Many of them stand outside in the bitter cold from the early morning hours until late at night. Most of them sell Mexican finger foods like tamales, hot champurado, and elotes. In the summer they may have raspas (snow cones) and fresh fruits sprinkled with a little powdered spicy chile. In my picture you can also see a man that is going to buy something. The street vender seems to have her stand in front of a grocery store.

When you look at the picture a lot of feelings come to mind. Sad because the woman selling probably came here for a better life and didn’t get what she expected. Inspired because she isn’t from here yet she works very hard. Thankful for what you have because maybe you don’t have to work in those harsh conditions. Maybe even motivated to help someone you know that is in need of help.

This is the message of my picture. This is a true hard worker and like me, this woman will work hard. Although she may be struggling and barely making ends meet she’s still out there regardless. I hope I will never have to earn a living that way. It makes me thankful for my education and the opportunities that I have to become whatever I want in life. We should not take this for granted.