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Teacher Lesson Return to "The Kitchen Is Not the Only Place for a Dominican Woman"
The Kitchen Is Not the Only Place for a Dominican Woman
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English Language Arts Lesson: Challenging Gender Stereotypes
Reading Comprehension, Discussion, Written Response

• Students will read and analyze a personal, non-fiction narrative.
• Students will use strategies to support their reading comprehension.
• Students will reflect on and discuss gender role expectations and stereotypes.
• Students will do a close reading of key passages from a text.


Before the Activity
• Write the word “stereotype” and “traditional” on the board and ask for volunteers to define them.
• Ask the class to give examples of how traditionally “male” and “female” roles for men and women have changed.
• Ask volunteers to share a time when their culture or social group imposed expectations that they conform to a traditional male or female role or behavior. How did they feel about it? How did that shape them?

Activity 1: Reading and Reflecting
Tell students they are going to read a story about a girl who objects to the traditional gender role she feels her culture imposes on her. Select volunteers to take turns reading the story aloud to the class. Then, ask students to write responses to the following reflection questions:

Why does the author resist learning how to cook? What does cooking represent to her?

What is the author’s point in the following quote? “I may not be able to make the most delicious plate of rice, beans and chicken yet, but I sure can solve a math problem in one heck of a second.”

How would you describe the writer’s relationship with her father?

The author says her father is different than other Dominican men she knows. How does she describe those differences?

How does the author’s interpretation of her father’s emphasis on learning to cook change over the course of the story?

Consider this excerpt from the text: “Now I realize a lot of “typical women activities” are only as dangerous to my feminist pride as I let them be. I can be a feminist who knows how to cook.”

Have you ever been in a situation in which cultural pressures or stereotypes turned you off from doing something? Share your story.

Activity 2: Discussion
Discuss students’ responses as a class.

Aligned with Common Core Standards for English Language Arts 9-12

Common Core Standards for Reading:
Key Ideas and Details
RL.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says.

RL.2 Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.

RL.3 Analyze how the author unfolds an analysis or series of ideas or events, including the order in which the points are made, how they are introduced and developed, and the connections that are drawn between them.

Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity
RL.10 Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.

Common Core Standards for Writing:

W.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.

Range of Writing
W.5 Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences.

Anchor Standards for Speaking and Listening:
Comprehension and Collaboration
SL.1 Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

SL.3 Evaluate a speaker’s point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric, identifying any fallacious reasoning or exaggerated or distorted evidence.

SL. 4 Present information, findings, and supporting evidence clearly, concisely, and logically such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose, audience, and task.

Anchor Standards for Language:
Conventions of Standard English
L.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
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