top of page

Teaching Part 1 of The Poet X

Updated: Jul 4, 2022

This post is a continuation of my post on how to start teaching The Poet X.

To start Part 1 of The Poet X, I asked kids to write a short paragraph about the meaning of their name, since there is a chapter dedicated to the meaning of Xiomara’s name. This assignment would also work well with The House on Mango Street, as there is a small section where Esperanza talks about what her name means in English and in Spanish.

Here is the assignment sheet: Name paper

Poet X Name Paper
Download DOCX • 116KB

I leave concrete, extension assignments for students to do as homework (aka the “name paper,” etc), because they are fun, interesting, and help the kids connect to the book, but I do not assign work for homework that is absolutely necessary for the next day’s lesson.

Today’s post covers more of what I did for Part 1 of The Poet X. The page chunks below are arbitrary; this is what I could cover in a class period with opening and closing activities.

The Poet X, “When You’re Born to Old Parents” (18) to “Final Draft of Assignment” (41)


I started the lesson for this section by reviewing the last class with a quick Q & A and writing the answers up on the digital whiteboard.

  • What is the setting?

  • Who are the main characters?

  • What is the main conflict?

  • What do teenagers need to be happy?

After the opening Q & A, I asked the kids to find the PowerPoint about adolescent needs, which I posted on Canvas (our online warehouse), and look through it for 2-3 minutes.

Once they have reviewed the PowerPoint, I asked them to write in their journal for 10 minutes in response to the following prompt:

Prompt: In your journal, write for 10 minutes about which needs are and are not met in your own life. I didn’t have kids share out responses when they finished, but instead ask them to take a minute to quietly think about the ways in which they did or did not connect to Xiomara.

In a bid to bolster independence, I then asked the kids to read pages 18-27 on their own ( "When You Are Born to Old Parents" through “Rumor Has It”) I then had them fill in this character chart about Mami, which I felt they could handle on their own. After the chart they had to write a paragraph about why Mami was so strict.

Mami & Papi Character Chart

Mami & Papi Character Chart
Download DOCX • 272KB

This is as much as my kids could get done in a lesson. They finished the chart and paragraph for homework.