Language Arts Unit: Culture in Literature

Heritage and culture are important themese explored in literature. By reading “Leti’s She Escandalo” from the book Once Upon A Cuento, students are introduced to the importance of these themes and asked to delve into their own heritage and culture. This unit plan, and its lesson plans within it, are written to comply with Utah Core objectives, but may be adapted to any core objectives you wish. It also has a great project that allows students to make use of technology and their family heritage to teach ohters about themselves. This unit includes objectives, activities, and a full unit project and assessments. Enjoy!

Unit Title: Heritage and Literature

Core Standards and Objectives:

Standard 2 (4100): Students read functional, informational, and literary texts from periods, cultures, and genres.

-Objective 3: Demonstrate competency in reading and interpreting LITERARY text.

-Use comprehension strategies before, during, and after reading a literary text, e.g., myth, essay, poetry, young adult literature, classics.

-Recognize the features of each literary genre to increase understanding and appreciation of literature, e.g., myth, essay, poetry, young adult literature, classics.

-Compare and/or contrast the experiences of various cultures that might be reflected in the literature.

-Share responses to text, e.g., small and whole class discussion, book clubs, visual presentations, written response, multi-media.

Unit Plan:

-Pre-reading: Discuss heritage, what is it? Why does it matter? Where have you seen it in literature before?

-Students read short story from Once Upon a Cuento: “Leti’s Shoe Escandalo”

-Start by reading the story and discussing the theme of culture and understanding your background and the background of others, first in groups and then as a class.

-We would discuss the irony in Carmen and not appreciating her own culture and how Leti starts to understand hers.

-Why does Leti come to this conclusion?

-Why write this story?

-Start a project:

-Timeframe: Students have 3 days of research and lab time in class and 3 days to present in class.

-The students will have to interview family and find their own heritage and background

-They will do a research paper on their own heritage with a presentation

-A short family tree will be required, so that they know their immediate family background, will show an example from, students may also go there to print off to create their family trees. Teacher will provide them if needed.

-They are required to know a little about the history of their culture. If there are several represented, choose one you’d like to focus on.

-Also include information about your family, traditions, etc.

-They will need to have part of their paper be a reaction to their discoveries.

-Must create a Power Point (will have time in the lab) and do a presentation in class on what they found. (I will participate as well and give an example of what I expect by doing a report myself and a presentation.) If Power Point is not available, then students will create posters to present information.


-Wrap it up by discussing what we learned about heritage as a class and discuss why it is such a common thread in literature.

-Assessment: assess the information presented in a rubric. Students demonstrate understanding of concepts through research and information collected.

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