Jefferson Middle School fifth graders in Ruth Kriese, Allison Morganti, Elizabeth Pardue, Mindi Lydell, Tara Mammoser, Adam Mason and Gina Hess’s classes recently had an opportunity to better understand the main character in their English Language Arts book by creating yarn dolls and food tasting. The book, Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan, traces the journey of Esperanza, a young girl born into a comfortable life of privilege in Mexico in the 1930s, who is forced to flee to California and must rise above her difficult circumstances.
As part of their unit, which encompasses comparing and contrasting events, main ideas and supporting details, as well as learning more about themes, the yarn dolls represent a way Esperanza adjusts to her new life in California. The yarn dolls demonstrate bringing a part of the home she knew in Mexico to a home that’s unfamiliar to her. The teachers also provided food that represented different phases of time in Esperanza’s new life, specifically her new job at the farm, for students to try.
“This project enriched the literature that we’ve read,” said Mrs. Hess. “It allowed the students to experience parts of Esperanza’s life that were familiar and unfamiliar to the character, as well as, to many of our students. The value of this project was immeasurable. Whenever we can bring reality to students through literature, there are many life lessons to experience. We are fortunate to have had the opportunity to participate in such a project.”