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Finding Home: The House on Mango Street

Lesson 17 - Socratic Seminar


Take a clear position on a question and share evidence to support that point of view for a Socratic Seminar on The House on Mango Street.

Readings and Materials

  • Book: The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros 

  • Socratic Seminar Guide 

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  • Enhanced Lesson Plan
  • Essential Task Guide
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  • Vocabulary Package


Key Questions


  • How and why does Esperanza change over the course of the text?
  • How is Esperanza different from the other residents of Mango Street? How is she similar?
  • How do gender expectations and roles shape Esperanza’s experience of her neighborhood and the world in general?
  • What is the difference between a house and a home? What do these things symbolize for Esperanza?
  • How does Esperanza’s neighborhood shape who she becomes?
  • How does Esperanza’s Latinx identity (and her identity as a second-generation immigrant to the United States) shape her experience of the world and her understanding of her place in it?
  • In what ways does Esperanza’s experience reflect parts of a more universal “American experience?”

Lesson Guidance

Pre-Seminar Teacher Prep:

  • Print out and post sentence starter posters.*
  • Determine groups/jobs and how you will communicate these to students.
  • Prepare teacher-tracker.*
  • Decide how students will be graded for the seminar and develop rubric you will use.*
  • Print out student packets, if using.*
  • Think through logistics: how will students move through the classroom? How will desks be arranged? How will you make sure students understand the expectations and logistics of the seminar?

Day of Seminar:

  • Set seminar ground rules with students or ask them to develop their own as a group.*
  • Provide students with the rubric you will be using to grade their participation (this can also be provided during the prep day). Ask students to explain the difference between exemplary, satisfactory, and unsatisfactory participation.
  • Explain logistics and flow of the block: what groups students will be in, how to move around the room, what will happen at each stage of the seminar.
  • Begin the seminar.
  • Ask students to self-reflect after each round, or at the conclusion of the seminar.*

*Examples/guidance provided in the Socratic Seminar Guide in the materials section of this lesson.


Enhanced lesson plan

Enhanced Lesson Plan

Get recommendations on pacing and lesson structure, as well as suggestions for meeting the needs of a range of learners. Download Sample

Coming Soon:
January 2021


Common Core Standards

  • RL.7.1 — Cite several pieces of textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.

  • SL.7.1.a — Come to discussions prepared, having read or researched material under study; explicitly draw on that preparation by referring to evidence on the topic, text, or issue to probe and reflect on ideas under discussion.