Visibility & Invisibility in Short Texts

Lesson 12


Unit 1

9th Grade

Lesson 12 of 15


Analyze how the author uses literary devices to convey the boy’s complex experience as a child of immigrant parents.

Readings and Materials

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Target Task

Writing Prompt

In the following poem by Jose Olivarez, the poet explores the complex experiences of being a child whose parents are immigrants. Write a response in which you analyze how the poet uses literary devices to illustrate the boy’s complex experience.

Criteria for Success

  • Thesis: Responds to the prompt with a thesis that presents a defensible interpretation
  • Evidence: Includes multiple and varied evidence to support your line of reasoning
  • Commentary: Explains how your evidence supports your line of reasoning
  • Sophistication: Demonstrates sophistication of thought or develops a complex literary argument 

Sample Response

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Key Thinking

Scaffolding Questions

What experiences or characteristics make the baby a citizen?

What experiences or characteristics make the baby an illegal?

The poet includes the words “citizen” and “illegal” in parenthesis throughout the poem. Consider all the instances in which the poet has made this choice. How does the structure of the poem influence the meaning?

Discourse Questions

How and why is the boy’s experience complex? 

Although complex, is what the boy experiences just and fair?

Annotation Focus

What lines, words, and phrases reveal the boy’s complex experience as a child of immigrant parents? What is Olivier doing with language in these lines, words, and phrases? 



  • Read and annotate “Super Orphan” by the next class.
    • Annotation Focus: What makes the speaker an author?

Enhanced Lesson Plan

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  • LO 1.3B — Analyze how the writer's use of stylistic elements contributes to a work of literature's effects and meaning.
  • RL.9-10.4 — Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone (e.g., how the language evokes a sense of time and place; how it sets a formal or informal tone).

Supporting Standards

LO 1.4B
LO 5.1A
LO 5.1B
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