“The House on Mango Street” Activity
In the space below, draw the house on Mango
street based on the speaker’s description
In the space below, draw the narrator’s dream
house
Look at both of your drawings and explain the symbolism behind each of the houses. What deeper
meanings do these descriptions have on the houses?
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“The House on Mango Street” Free Write
Take 5 minutes to free write about your house. Do not spend too much time constructing a story, but
rather free write without picking up your pen for the full 5 minutes.
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“Hairs” Activity
Please complete the chart below based on the reading.
Character
Description and Visual
Symbolism
Papa
Esperanza (Narrator)
Carlos
Nenny
Kiki
Mama
“Hairs” Free Write
Take 5 minutes to free write about either your hair or the hair of your family members. Do not spend
too much time constructing a story, but rather free write without picking up your pen for the full 5
minutes.
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“Boys &Girls” Activity
After reading “Boys & Girls,” take a few minutes to brainstorm a list of characteristics that you believe
are related to your gender (i.e. if you are female maybe some of the characteristics would be loving,
emotional, etc. and if you are male maybe some of the characteristics would be outgoing, active, etc.)
Circle your gender: Male Female
Brainstorm your list in the space provided.
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Now pretend you were the opposite gender. Brainstorm a list of things that would make your life
different as the opposite gender. What might you have to deal with that you do not have to deal with
now in your present gender?
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Unconventional Metaphor
Sandra Cisneros uses many unconventional or unique metaphors in her novel. Esperanza describes
herself as “a red balloon, a balloon tied to an anchor.” I would like you to think of a unique metaphor for
yourself as a teenager. It may be helpful to think of what makes you different from others or maybe a
unique.
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“Boys & Girls” Free Write
Take 5 minutes to free write about your perspective on boys and girls. Do not spend too much time
constructing a story, but rather free write without picking up your pen for the full 5 minutes.
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“My Name” Activity
In the space provided, please respond to the writing prompts thoroughly and specifically.
How did you get your name? Were you named after a family member? Why did your parents choose
this name for you? Do you like your name? Why or why not?
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If you could have any name in the world, what would it be? Explain why you want this name and what
is means to you? Do you think your new name would affect your personality and overall existence?
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“Cathy Queen of Cats” Activity
Please complete the chart below by filling in different characteristics of cats and what it may symbolize
about them and their personalities.
Characteristics of cats
What does this characteristic symbolize about
their personality?
“Cathy Queen of Cats” Free Write
Take 5 minutes to free write about a person who has been mean to you. Try to create a free write that
shows their personality based on your words. Do not spend too much time constructing a story, but
rather free write without picking up your pen for the full 5 minutes.
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“Our Good Day” Activity
Write a brief description of the characters below based on the description from the vignette.
Cathy
Esperanza
Rachel
Lucy
“Our Good Day” Free Write
Take 5 minutes to free write about a good day that you remember. Do not spend too much time
constructing a story, but rather free write without picking up your pen for the full 5 minutes.
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“Laughter” Activity
Think of a list of people in your family or who you are very close to. Write their names down and then
describe how they sound when they laugh and look like when they smile. Try to make these descriptions
unconventional or out of the ordinary metaphors. For example, Esperanza describes her laugh as
“surprised like a pile of dishes breaking.”
Family Member/Friend
Laugh
Smile
“Laughter” Free Write
Take 5 minutes to free write about your laugh (how it sounds, feels, etc). Do not spend too much time
constructing a story, but rather free write without picking up your pen for the full 5 minutes.
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“Gil’s Furniture” Activity
Make a list of the items in Gil’s junk store.
Now, pick two of the items and explain how they are symbols. Remember, symbols are objects that
represent something else; usually of a deeper meaning.
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“Gil’s Furniture” Free Write
Take 5 minutes to free write about the first item you ever bought. Do not spend too much time
constructing a story, but rather free write without picking up your pen for the full 5 minutes.
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“Meme Ortiz” Activity
Please take a few moments to journal on the following writing prompt.
Reflect on the “Meme Ortiz” vignette and analyze Meme’s character in relation to his dog and his
house. Why do you think Cisneros describes this character the way she does? How do you picture
Meme? Do you know someone like him and if so, explain who that person is in your life?
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“Meme Ortiz” Free Write
Take 5 minutes to free write about a time you played pretend. Do not spend too much time
constructing a story, but rather free write without picking up your pen for the full 5 minutes.
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“Louie, His Cousin & His Other Cousin”
Please take a few moments to journal on the following writing prompt.
Reflect on the vignette and think of a time when you were younger and having fun, but did not realize
it was something dangerous. Maybe you were riding your bike too fast or alone in a crowd. Explain
the situation and how you felt the moment you realized your fun could turn into danger.
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“Marin” Activity
Think of someone you look up to and write a brief description of them. Why do you think you look up to
them? What about them makes being around them so special?
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“Those Who Don’t” Activity
In your own words, explain what you think this vignette is about. Can you relate? Why or why not? Be
specific and explain.
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“There Was an Old Woman She Had So Many Children She Didn’t Know What to Do” Activity
Rewrite this vignette in your own words and your own experiences. For example, maybe you know a
family like this, but keep in mind the subject matter and the use of unconventional metaphors. I would
also like you to create a title for your vignette.
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“Alicia Who Sees Mice” Activity
In the space below, draw an object or a thing you are afraid of.
Now, describe an uncomfortable event in your life.
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Using both the object that you are afraid of and the uncomfortable event, write a brief creative piece
combining the two. Look back at the vignette for inspiration.
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“Darius & the Clouds” Activity
Choose an aspect of nature (the sky, the trees, flowers, the ocean, the mountains, etc.) that you love or
feel connected with and write a mini vignette on your experience with that aspect of nature.
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“And Some More” Activity
Think of three words that have multiple names for them and write them out using the chart.
Ex. Purse=pocketbook, satchel, bag
Word
Other words that describe the word
“And Some More” Free Write
Take 5 minutes to free write about one word. Do not spend too much time constructing a story, but
rather free write without picking up your pen for the full 5 minutes.
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“The Family of Little Feet” Free Write
Take 5 minutes to free write about something you either found or were given when you were little
and it changed your life just for that moment. Do not spend too much time constructing a story, but
rather free write without picking up your pen for the full 5 minutes.
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“A Rice Sandwich” Activity
Describe what you eat for lunch every day.
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If you could eat anything you wanted for lunch, what would it be?
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Why do you think Esperanza wants to eat in the canteen?
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“A Rice Sandwich” Free Write
Take 5 minutes to free write about how you spend your time during lunch. Do not spend too much
time constructing a story, but rather free write without picking up your pen for the full 5 minutes.
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“Chanclas” Free Write
Take 5 minutes to free write about an event in your life when you felt uncomfortable based on your
appearance. Do not spend too much time constructing a story, but rather free write without picking
up your pen for the full 5 minutes.
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“Hips” Free Write
Take 5 minutes to free write about growing up. Do not spend too much time constructing a story, but
rather free write without picking up your pen for the full 5 minutes.
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