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Teacher Lesson Return to "Sad Señoritas"
Sad Señoritas
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Media/News Literacy Lesson: Are Latinas Sad?—Reading, Discussion About Evidence, and Reporting Assignment

Objectives: Students will be able to identify different types of evidence that writers use in their stories.

Before the lesson: Write this list on the board:

Type of evidence
1) References to studies, books, and reports issued by well-regarded sources (colleges, government agencies, research institutions)
2 ) Interviews with recognized experts such as college professors, government officials, and authors
3) Interviews with people most affected by what’s being reported on, for example, flood victims, soldiers in a war, a woman claiming she’s been discriminated against, etc.
4) Interviews with people who know the people being written about
5) Eyewitnesses to an event or situation
6) Personal account by the author that describes his or her experience with the issue being written about

Write these headlines from the May 12, 2011 New York Times on the board. Both of them deal with gender issues, like most of the stories in this issue.

“Rapes Total in Millions in Congo, Study Finds”

“Enforcing Veil Ban, the French Have Stopped 46 Violators”

Activity: Tell the group, “We are going to read a story by teenager Darlyn Rodriguez. She thinks that depression in Latina girls can be caused when family members expect them to act in certain ways because they are girls.”

Then say something like, “Look at the list on the board. As you read the story, your job is to identify the type of evidence that the author provides. Notice that each type of evidence on the list is numbered. Write the appropriate number next to the text that has that kind of evidence.” NOTE: You should mark up your copy of the story and show them 2-3 examples. So write “2” next to the first sentence beneath the subhead Torn Between Cultures and show the group that it indicates an interview with an expert. Write “6” next to the paragraph directly beneath the subhead My Brother, Papi II and tell the group that the paragraph is a personal account or statement.

After they read the story, ask them something like, “Are you convinced that Darlyn accurately portrayed the problems that girls in Latino families face? If you are convinced, what parts of the story were important in convincing you?”

After the “convinced” have their say, ask if anyone is skeptical. What evidence in the story bothers them? What kind of evidence would convince them?

Writing activity: Then point to the two headlines and tell them they are from a recent issue of The New York Times. Tell them one is for a story about the continuing civil wars and violence against women in the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa. The other is about French officials trying to stop Muslim women from wearing veils in public.

Their assignment is to write a memo to a reporter who is covering these stories. The memo should detail what kinds of evidence the reporter should gather and what the readers should know about the situation. Read an example out loud for them, “Be sure to interview at least three women who have been stopped. Also interview their husbands. Try to find out why they were wearing veils.” Each story should get a 6-8 sentence memo.

Note: There is a veil story in this issue, “Why Do Muslim Women Wear Veils?”




Families and Gender Roles—Reading Comprehension and Writing Response

Objectives: Students will practice writing short responses to questions that are based on reading an essay. Students will think about gender roles in Latino and other immigrant families.

Before the activity
Note: It is always easier for students (and adults) to understand what they read when they know something about the topic. It also helps to do a pre-reading exercise that researchers and pedagogues call “activating prior knowledge”—reminding ourselves of what we know about a topic before we begin reading related articles. That is one of the reasons peer-written stories help students—especially reluctant readers—grasp content more easily and become more receptive to reading. This pre-reading activity may help them “activate” what they know about Latino and other immigrant families and gender roles in these families.

Put the following list on the board or easel pad:
Conflicts with parents
Sadness or depression
Latino families
Immigrant families
Household chores
What parents expect from girls
What parents expect from boys
Mother and daughter relations
Overprotective relatives

Underneath the list, write:
What do I know about the above situations?

What in my personal experience will help me understand a story that contains the above situations?

Activity: Tell the group they are going to read a story about why Latina girls seem to be more depressed than other groups of teens.

Ask them to look at the list for a minute and tell them these situations will be in the story. Ask them to think silently about the items. Then ask them to look at the two questions. Tell them to keep the questions in mind as they read the story. Then tell them they will write short responses based on their reading.

Hand out the worksheet on the next page along with a copy of the May/June 2011 issue of New Youth Connections.



Name____________________________________________Date_________________

Directions: Read the story “Sad Señoritas.” Answer the questions in essay answer format. (This means you should use parts of the question to start your answer.) Write 3-5 complete sentences for each question. The answer for the first question has been started for you. NOTE: You can complete any question on the back of this paper

1. What is the title? Who wrote it? Why do you think she thought it was important to write it? What audience do you think she is trying to reach? [Example: The title of the story is… FOLLOWED BY: The writer wanted to tell readers about…]




2. What does the title of the story mean? How does it relate to the writer’s ideas in the story?




3. What is the author’s main idea or theme? What is she most concerned about? Do you think it is an important topic?





4. What evidence does the writer present to make her argument?




5. What is one thing you know after reading the article that you didn’t know before?





6. Describe one conflict in this story.




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[Other Teacher Resources]
(NYC-2011-05-12)

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