Today we used the chapter “Those Who Don’t” from Sandra Cisneros’ The House on Mango Street as a mentor text in my 11th grade classes. We’re in our “Landscapes” unit, and we’re writing about places that are meaningful to us. I haven’t really done any mentor writing with my students this year (I only came back from maternity leave in February and I was finishing up their other teacher’s work for a while), and I was amazed at how good their pieces turned out! They were thoughtful and reflective when thinking about how other people see places they love. I wrote with them, as usual. Here are my two entries. (One class needs a little more . . . hands on attention, so I didn’t write a piece with them today. Sometimes keeping them on task is like herding cats!)
Those Who Don’t (about the high school I attended, Bishop Kearney High School)
Those who don’t know any better look at our school as sheltered. They think we’re unsocialized. They think we are crazy feminists who don’t know how to talk to boys. They are ignorant people who don’t know the history of our school.
But we aren’t sheltered. We know that the nun with the habit runs the best library in Brooklyn, and the loud boom on the third floor came from the Physics classroom where future engineers are studying, and the leadership positions like captain and president and editor are all held by girls.
All girls all together we are one. But watch us go out into the world and our voices get louder and our stances get firmer and our spirits get stronger. Yeah. That is how it goes and goes.
Those Who Don’t (about the local Dunkin Donuts, which the kids challenged me to write about)
Those who don’t know any better walk into Dunkin looking for caffeine. They think it serves one thing. They think Dunkin is only good for coffee and donuts. They are undercaffeinated people who are tired and craving a jolt.
But Dunkin isn’t one thing. We know the coffee comes in many varieties, and the breakfast sandwiches are hot and cheesy, and the hash browns are crisp and salty.
All caffeinated all full we are energized. But watch us go into Starbucks and our voices quiver and our eyes water and our orders get mixed up. Yeah. That is how it goes and goes.