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Finding Home: The House on Mango Street

Lesson 7 - Narrative Writing


Describe the structure of the first and last paragraphs of “My Name” and use descriptive, figurative language in own writing.

Readings and Materials

  • Book: The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros  — "My Name"

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Target Task


Writing Prompt

In The House on Mango Street, Sandra Cisneros introduces many aspects of her narrator, Esperanza, through the vignette “My Name.” In this task, you will write your own “My Name” vignette, in which you describe the literal and figurative meaning of your name in order to provide your reader a better sense of who you are as a person.

Your vignette must be at least five paragraphs and should:

  • Establish a clear narrator’s voice
  • Include at least one additional character
  • Use precise words and phrases
  • Use descriptive details
  • Use vivid sensory language
  • Provide a strong conclusion

Lesson Guidance

  • Unpack the prompt.
  • Read “My Name” aloud. Remind students that although it is a relatively short essay, it gives us a clear sense of who Esperanza is. Each paragraph in this vignette has a purpose; they all fit together to create structure and meaning in the text overall.
  • Ask: What information is provided in the first paragraph? How does this paragraph develop our understanding of the narrator?
  • Have students pick out examples of figurative language in this vignette. What does Esperanza compare her name to?
  • Ask students to draft a first paragraph in which they compare their name to at least two different objects/ideas/activities, etc.
  • Use show-call to point out strong examples.


  • Students may not know the “meaning” of their name or their name might not have a particular meaning. Some websites may provide meanings of different names, and you may wish to look these up in preparation for this lesson (to save time!). Tell students who don’t know, or whose names don’t have specific meanings, or who don’t know why their parents chose their names that they have the awesome opportunity to make up what their names mean to them!

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.7.5 — Analyze how a drama's or poem's form or structure (e.g., soliloquy, sonnet) contributes to its meaning.

  • W.7.3 — Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, relevant descriptive details, and well-structured event sequences.

  • W.7.3.d — Use precise words and phrases, relevant descriptive details, and sensory language to capture the action and convey experiences and events.