As in past semesters, I had my preservice teachers work together to create visual responses to one of two short texts by Sandra Cisneros (check Authors tagline on this blog). They worked as small groups to draft ideas and then got busy. The sharing at the end of class session was powerful. As often as I have read the two texts: Salvador, Late or Early and Eleven, I am still amazed at how much more I know from their visual responses. The middle grades are so verbal-linguistic-heavy, yet visual response can also reveal deep comprehension of text. In past blog entries for this assignment I haven’t provided captions for the posters; I decided to do so at this time, as well as my own brief synopses of the two Cisneros texts.
Salvador, Late or Early Is the story of a young, impoverished boy with adult-like responsibilities (sibling care). Shy and harboring untold grief, Salvador is the story of a boy you won’t forget.
Eleven is the story of Rachel, whose birthday is missing the “happy” part. It’s her birthday, but it’s hard to let go of the sadness and tears that are the result of being unfairly accused of leaving an ugly red sweater in the class cloakroom.
Salvador’s–late or early, but always whipping around from one responsibility to the next–taking care of young siblings, helping out with the baby at home with Mom. Facing the schoolyard gate, Salvador is gray, unnoticed and weathered. His younger siblings have yet to become “adults” at such young ages; they can still smile and be children.
Salvador as two people–the sad, forgotten, boy with adult responsibilities on his fragile shoulders, and the boy who enters another colorful world of school each day, a world in which he does not belong.
Rachel is eleven years old today; she wears the ages on sleeves of the ugly red sweater she’s accused of owning; 126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.3.2 and 1. The happiness that should come with a birthday is unraveling….
Her family celebration is supposed to be happy, and they will sing to her and shower her with presents, but her birthday cake has layers of happy and sad.
Even at home with a family who loves her, Rachel is alone and broken.
…when words aren’t enough, visuals reveal deep comprehension, and texts that bring out heavy emotional responses are the best choices for letting images reveal thinking. My quick summaries above don’t come close to the fabulous share sessions we enjoyed following this work.