As students outgrow family and cultural expectations that have already predetermined their future, these topics have become more urgent in the classroom. Depending on the structure of their family, these expectations may be based on outdated traditions that may need to be abandoned because they are a mismatch for young generations. Therefore, the priority goal for this unit is to fuel the next generation to maintain and establish expectations that best suit them.
Reflection on personal identity will enable students to identify, confront, analyze, and critique gender stereotypes in Sandra Cisneros’ coming-of-age novel, The House on Mango Street. The characters represent an assortment of struggles and past experiences that will naturally foster personal connections and engage students in student-led discussions.
Each lesson in this unit will serve as a checkpoint for students to continuously work toward their own definition of identity. Connecting the reading to students’ embeddedness in family will help them see the importance of being thankful, despite adversity. Most favorably, students will learn how to give back, beginning with those who have helped them.
(Developed for Language and Literature, grade 8; recommended for Individuals and Societies, grade 8)