If you have taught many novels, these activities will be easy to implement. If you’re looking for a great read for your level 3/4 classes, this is so engaging!
All activities I will be sharing as my class reads the novel are activities that supplement the published . The teacher’s guide is a MUST have but these activities compliment what is already there! These activities have been created and shared with the consent of . Please keep in mind that any time you create and share materials that may be derivatives of another author’s work, it is important to get consent in writing! So many people work so hard to create these materials, it is important to respect their copyright!
In my classroom, preteaching the novel starts with El Salvador’s Civil War. We look at how Oscar Romero, the assassinated Salvadoran Archbishop, created a movement among the poor that led to an uprising against the government. From the war we are able to look at the many who fled El Salvador for what they hoped would be safety in the United States… and here we connect with the gang.
As a prequel to the novel, we listen to the song Gangsta in Spanish by Kat Dahlia and talk about what it means to be a gangster? What does it mean to have a “gang family” versus a traditional family? We watch the documentary “The World’s Most Dangerous Gang” and read the prologue to the book to build background knowledge, and then its time to dive in!
Underpinning the entire novel study is our classroom Vida y muerte twitter feed. Students add to the feed daily as we read. It helps them engage with characters as they create their twitter handles!
On Monday, we read Chapter 1 of the novel. In this chapter the anonymous author describes his initiation. I used this as an opportunity to access prior knowledge by having student groups brainstorm all they had learned about the initiation and missions of MS-13 gang members from the documentary. After reading the chapter, they competed to make the most complete list of facts. (My level 3 are competing a’la Amazing Race this year so it was an Amazing Race task that could earn them first place for the week!)