Juxtaposing House on Mango Street, Local Latinx History, and Personal Experience through Student Writing

In this lesson students are encouraged to draw connections between an interview with a local Latina, Marta Moreno and three vignettes from Sandra Cisneros’ House on Mango Street with similar themes in order to help students ultimately produce their own vignette mirroring Cisneros’ writing style.

Drawing text-to-text and text-to-self connections is essential when asking secondary students to read and analyze a variety of literature and informational material. Common Core State Standards and state initiatives encourage students to be able to synthesize and draw connections between texts that are printed, analog, and multimedia; through these mediums, there are an assortment of ways students can practice the aforementioned connections which ultimately inspire empathy and self-awareness.

The following lesson prompts students to listen to an oral history told by a prominent figure, Marta Moreno –one of the founding members of El Comite –, uncover “big ideas”, or overarching themes (which mainly involve self-esteem, challenges with dual identity, and family roles), of that interview, then read an excerpt of vignettes from House on Mango Street where the narrator of that fictional text experiences similar obstacles or occurrences which will lead them to constructing their own narratives around a similar theme.

Once students have read and understood both mediums (the interview along with its transcript, as well as the vignettes from House on Mango Street) through text annotations and discussion procedures, they will compare and contrast the experience of both individuals through a venn diagram.

Finally, the venn diagram will be used as a point of inspiration for a short piece of personal narrative writing (a vignette) where students, poetically, write about a personal obstacle in their lives regarding self-esteem which can be compared to The House on Mango Street and Marta Moreno’s oral history.

The ultimate goal is that students will compose their own vignette using a parallel structure to Sandra Cisneros’ writing style.

*Note: Students, before this lesson, should be aware of text annotation techniques and what a vignette is as well as major poetic devices.

Created By:Jamie Hedlun, Mead High School