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Esperanza Rising Unit Plan

Instructor: Shanna Fox

Shanna has been part of the whirlwind world of teaching middle school for 20 years. She has a Master of Education degree in instructional design.

This 'Esperanza Rising' unit plan, geared toward middle school students, will help you teach the novel's historical context and literary elements. In addition, resources are provided to help you guide meaningful peer discussion of central themes.

Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan

Esperanza Rising follows the Ortega family as they engage in the backbreaking work of migrant farming and encounter discrimination along the way. This unit plan will help you guide middle school students in understanding the historical context of the novel. In addition, this novel unit provides resources to help you teach theme, figurative language, and characterization. Engaging students in meaningful peer discussions and activities is an essential part of novel comprehension. Summative assessment options, including literary and historical projects, provide a way for you to help students synthesize their learning.

Historical Context

Guide student thinking by posing the following three questions (listed below). Providing an anticipation guide for the historical context portion of the unit can help keep students focused and engaged. After they have answered the questions, use the accompanying resources to teach them about important historical influences that affect the novel's characters and events. Students may benefit from responding to the three questions again at the end of this unit segment. Their responses can also serve as an excellent formative assessment before moving forward with the remainder of the unit's content.

Why did the Ortega family leave Mexico?

What did they encounter when they arrived in the United States?

What kind of work did they do?

Pam Munoz Ryan

Exploring the life and work of the author is important when reading a novel because it can help you point out underlying themes. In this case, the details of the author's childhood are mirrored in the characters and events of the story. Exploring this connection can help you provide a framework for students to understand the novel and how it relates to the author's life.

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