English Lesson
Author: Sonia Sanchez
Who is Sonia Sanchez?
 African-American poet
 Most often associated with Black Arts Movement.
 Author of poems, plays, and children’s books.
Early Life
 Born in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1934.
 Grew up with Grandmother.
 Moved to Harlem to live with her father when she
was 9.
 Received a B.A. in Political Science in 1955 from
Hunter College (New York)
 Completed postgraduate work at New York
 Taught 5th grade in NYC until 1966
 Was a professor at 8 universities
 Lectured at over 500 college campuses
 First to create and teach a course based on black
women and literature in the U.S.
 Taught at Temple University, current poet in
 Wrote many plays and books dealing with struggles
and lives of Black America.
 Edited 2 anthologies on Black literature
 Known for innovative melding of musical formats
(haiku and tanka)
 P.E.N. Writing Award
 National Education Association Award, 1977-1988.
 National Academy and Arts Award
 National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship Award,
 American Book Award
 Short Story
 From larger work: Homegirls and Handgrenades,
 First person narrative about two girls who are
students at the same school, with the same access to
education, but end up on different paths in life.
Before Reading Activity
Time: 5 minutes
 On a piece of paper: Answer the following questions:
On a scale between 1-10 (1 is low and 10 is high)
how much do you value getting an education?
2. Using the same scale, how do you rate your
teachers, in general?
3. Yes or No, do you think some students are just
naturally smart?
Before Reading Activity Cont.
4. Yes or No, are you naturally smart?
5. List one subject/class in school that comes easily to
6. Yes or No, do you think you would be treated better
if you were the opposite sex?
Reading Activity (10 Minutes)
 Teacher: Read the story out loud.
 Students: Take notes on the story as the teacher
Post Reading Activity: 15 minutes
 Separate Students into groups of 3:
1 student takes notes on questions
1 student facilitates discussion
1 student will use notes to present information to the class.
Post Reading Questions
What kind of student was Norma? What do you
think should have happened to her? Why do you
think her life turned out as it did?
2. What kind of student was Sonia Sanchez? What do
you think should have happened to her? Why do
you think her life turned out as it did?
3. Would Norma’s life have turned out differently if
she had been Norman? Explain.
Post Reading Discussion: 15 Minutes
 Each group will present their results. Teacher will
lead discussion.
Journal Prompt: 15 minutes
 After reading the story, answer the writing prompts
based on your life/education experience:
 Who do you relate to more, Sonia or Norma? Why?
What influences do you have that make you come to
school everyday? How do you think Mr. Castor and
Mrs. LeFevebre could have helped Norma? Do you
have a teacher who inspired you? Do you have a
teacher who made you dislike school? Explain.