At the beginning of the school year, I think it's an important practice to learn what every student's hopes and dreams are for themselves. In addition, to prepare for their first student led conference, they interview family members and write out their hopes and dreams and discuss them at parent conference. This practice allows me a window to assess the effectiveness of my teaching against the standards set by the student and the family. In lesson planning for this work, this text is a wonderful resource. Written in verse, we learn that Juan Filipe Herrara, U.S. Poet Laureate, author and son of migrant farmworkers, had dreams for himself as a child just like my students do.


Social Justice Activities:

Relevant Social Justice Standards:

Identity 4. Students will express pride, confidence and healthy self-esteem without denying the value and dignity of other people.

Diversity 6. Students will express comfort with people who are both similar to and different from them and engage respectfully with all people.

Diversity 9. Students will respond to diversity by building empathy, respect, understanding and connection.

Reading Strategies:

Poetry: Read and analyze the poetry of Juan Felipe Herrera. Connect the concepts that are taught on each page and notice how each section starts with "If I..."

Imagery: Analyze the metaphors and similes like, "tiny rivers across soft paper..." 

Cause & Effect: As a child, Juan devote time and energy to writing and creating music and this lead to him developing skills that he later used as a profession.

Book Details:
  • Poetic Memoir, All Ages
  • Perspectives: child of migrant farmworkers, dual language learner
  • Author's stated heritage: Mexican American
  • Subject Integration: Poetry, Social Emotional Learning

Book covers images are from publishers and in the public domain