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Fish Cheeks

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Fish Cheeks

Lesson Plan: “Fish Cheeks” by Amy Tan

This is a short story I use for teaching character traits as well as learning to write a Response to Literature essay.

Grade Level: 6-12 Subject: English Prepared by: Carrie Morgan
Overview and Purpose: The overview and purpose is to teach Character traits by using a mentor text “Fish Cheeks” A second purpose is to teach how to write a character analysis essay.
Standards addressed:
Objectives: Students will read and annotate a mentor text “Fish Cheeks” During the read they will be focusing on character traits. After a second and third read they will write a Response to Literature essay.
Materials needed: Copies of Fish Cheeks for each student. Character traits summary, using sentence frames. Writing assignment guidelines. Selection test. Character traits page. All these are attached for your use.
Activities: 1. Students will read and annotate “Fish Cheeks”
2. Take a blank piece of paper and make three categories
Beginning Middle End
Ashamed embarrassed understanding
-shabby chopsticks/manners parents were making her favorites
-noisy “Stunned into silence” belching didn’t notice parents love
-food Dad offers her the fish cheek Quiet, reflective
-Different than American despair “Wanted to disappear” Not appreciating her culture
Theme: Be proud of who you are and your culture
Describe character at each stage
3. Fill in Character traits summary (See attachments)
4. Begin prewrite for essay. Pass out directions for essay writing.
5. Pass out Fish Cheeks one pager and assign groups to work together.
6. Assessment on story.

Summary: This is a great story of a young Chinese girl that is embarrassed of her family and her culture. This story shows her development as a character and shows how she eventually becomes proud of who she is.

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Message from csanchez

I used to teach 7th grade World History and your lesson reminded me of a lesson I used to do with my students. I used to do a lesson where students analyze fairytales from different parts of the world and they looked for historical context and how their stories reflected important parts of society. I specifically chose Cinderella stories from around the world and we read them and broke down the similarities and differences from each society. Your lesson made me think that my lesson can also be done with just East Asian stories and it can be differentiated with and increase or decrease the rigor for different grades and abilities. For high school I would have students use primary source documents first and then use the stories to analyze historical context and its impact.

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Message from skollar

Amy Tan is my absolute favorite author. I have read all of her books, short stories, memoirs, and children's books. I was slightly surprised to see that you had chosen this story to introduce to your class. Then I looked it back over along with the lesson plan and had to keep in mind that this is geared towards middle or high school aged students. I do agree that the meaning and embarrassment exposed by Tan is something that all children, regardless of the age, would be able to easily relate to. Tans writing is so real, so raw. She provides the reader with such intimate details and lets you truly get in to who and where she was as the main character, her stories become even better when you realize that most of them (even the ones she says aren't) are all about her real life and her childhood. I think this lesson plan looks wonderful and the students are truly going to enjoy the reading and assignment.