Poetry Close Reading Lesson: Immigration & the American Dream | Pat Mora

Grade Levels
9th - 12th
Formats Included
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9 pages
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Looking for powerful yet accessible poems to deepen your students understanding of the immigration experience?

These two poems by Pat Mora are seemingly simple and easy to read, but they also bring up bigger issues of language, power, relationships, immigration, and The American Dream.

They are great choices for students who are reluctant to read poetry, and they are great choices to add to a bigger discussions of themes of American Literature as they offer perspectives not often seen in other texts.

Because of copyright restrictions, both poems are not included in the handout.

These handouts of thorough and precise questions are ready to go with minimal prep on the part of the teacher.

Questions encourage close reading, analysis of poetic elements, as well as deeper thinking and discussion about the themes and big ideas of the poems.

There are also prompts for in-class writing as well as for longer assessment.

Easily teach the unit with Google Classroom using the ready-to-go instructions, links, handouts, and forms.

Pairings: “La Migra” and “Elena” could be used with any texts that deal with themes of immigration, The American Dream, power, or language. Suggestions include: The Fortunate Pilgrim, My Antonia, The Joy Luck Club, Bless Me Ultima, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Death of a Salesman, The Great Gatsby, Invisible Man, A Raisin in the Sun, The Grapes of Wrath, and Of Mice and Men.

"Such a powerful poem that has really transcended the times. Excellent resource!"--Cecelia C.

Total Pages
9 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
1 hour
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone (e.g., how the language evokes a sense of time and place; how it sets a formal or informal tone).


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