Esperanza Rising Teaching Ideas

Esperanza Rising Teaching Ideas

Are you looking for some Esperanza Rising teaching ideas? This post includes a character trait activity as well as novel unit samples.

Esperanza Rising Summary

The year is 1930, just ten years after the Mexican Revolution. Esperanza is the only child of a wealthy landowner. She lives in a vineyard in Mexico. Esperanza only knows the life of the very rich. She wears silk dresses, plays with porcelain dolls, and goes to private schools. 

Bandits kill Esperanza’s father. Her father’s two evil brothers take control of the family’s money. Tío Luis wants Mama to marry him. He thinks she will bring him power. When she refuses, the uncles burn down the family home. Esperanza’s grandmother is injured in the fire. She goes to live with her sisters in the convent until she is better.

Flight to America

Esperanza and her mother flee Mexico. They go with their servants to the San Joaquin Valley in California. They move into a small worker’s home. There, Mama works alongside the migrant workers. Her life changes completely. She goes from having servants to living in a poor Mexican labor camp.

The story follows Esperanza through years of hardship.

After a dust storm, Mama becomes ill with Valley Fever. She is hospitalized. Esperanza must begin working to pay Mama’s medical bills. Esperanza also wants to earn enough money to bring her grandmother to California.

Due to the poor working conditions along with extremely low wages, the migrants organize a strike. The workers in Esperanza’s camp decide not to participate. Many strikers are rounded up and deported. This upsets Esperanza. She takes out her frustrations by arguing with Miguel. Miguel takes Esperanza’s money and leaves.

Will Esperanza’s family ever be happy again? Read Esperanza Rising to find out.

Esperanza Rising Teaching Ideas

Book Unit Samples

Esperanza Rising Novel Study

This packet contains free samples. You will find:

  • vocabulary practice
  • Chapter 1 comprehension questions
  • constructed response question 

You can get the free book unit sample by clicking the button.

Esperanza Rising Teaching Ideas #1 – Character Trait Cards

Esperanza Rising Character Trait Cards

Students will enjoy making these character trait cards. The cards make a great interactive notebook page.

First, students write a brief description of 15 main characters. Answer keys are also included.

Once created, the cards may be sorted by where the characters were born: Mexico or the United States.

This is a great way to help students remember a large number of characters while they practice an important skill.

Esperanza Rising Teaching Ideas #2 – The Book is on Youtube.

Do you have students who like to hear the story read aloud? You can find the entire novel on Youtube.

Teaching Idea #3 – Ten Interesting Facts . . . The Great Depression

Ten Interesting Facts . . . The Great Depression

The novel takes place during the Great Depression. In my Ten Interesting Facts Series, I created a page on the Great Depression.

Reading about the price of goods is a fun way to teach students to better understand tables.

The nonfiction piece is also a great way to teach close reading. Some facts are hard to believe. For example, doctors only made $3172 a year.

Esperanza Rising Book Unit
Novel Study Samples
Esperanza Rising Book Unit
Novel Study Samples

See the product that inspired this post.

Esperanza Rising Novel Study

Esperanza Rising Book Unit contains vocabulary, comprehension, constructed response writing, and skill practice.

Gay Miller

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