Grade Levels: 6-8, 9-12

NOTE TO EDUCATORS: The House on Mango Street is a coming-of-age novel with some references to sexual behavior and sexual violence. This movie describes the main character's attitudes toward puberty, and alludes to a scene in which she receives inappropriate attention from an older man. Due to the sensitivity of this topic, consider previewing the movie before showing it to the class.

In this lesson plan, adaptable for grades 5-12, students use BrainPOP resources to explore the coming-of-age novel The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros.  They discover that the chapters are vignettes that give readers a look inside the protagonist’s life. Students then use what they learn to write vignettes about some aspect of their own lives and growing up.


Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Listen to an interview with the author and respond to questions about the interview.
  2. Watch a movie about the novel The House on Mango Street.
  3. Use the Make-a-Map tool to identify aspects of the movie that make it a coming-of-age story.
  4. Write a vignette about some aspect of their lives and share with a partner.
  5. Use Make-a-Movie to turn their vignettes into a movie (optional).


  • Internet access for BrainPOP
  • Interactive whiteboard


Preview the movie The House on Mango Street to plan for any adaptations.

Preview the Primary Source to plan for adaptations.

Lesson Procedure:

  1. Tell students that today they will watch a movie about a coming-of-age novel titled The House on Mango Street. Ask students what they think “coming-of-age” means? Allow time for them to respond. Make sure they understand that it has to do with growing up and becoming an adult.  Explain that the author, Sandra Cisneros, is a Chicana -- an American woman with Mexican roots. The experiences of the protagonist in the novel are similar to her own growing up.
  2. Display the Primary Source activity on the whiteboard. Tell students they will listen to an interview with the author about her background. Read the instructions and review the questions. Click the “Listen” on the top right and listen to the interview. Then return to the question page and answer the questions as a class.
  3. Show the movie The House on Mango Street on the whiteboard for the whole class once through without pausing.
  4. Next, working independently or with a partner, have students open the Make-a-Map feature within the movie and choose the Spider Map. Instruct them to write “Coming-of-age moments” in the center circle. As the watch, prompt students to fill in examples in Esperanza’s life that illustrate these coming-of-age moments.
  5. Remind students that the narrator describes the novel as a series of vignettes -- brief descriptions of powerful moments--written in the first person. She also compares the novel to a book of poems, and that like poetry, the language is full of multiple meanings. Now invite students to write their own vignettes, drawing on details from their daily lives that have to do with their identify in some way. Like Esperanza, they could write a vignette about their name, for example. Suggest that they can write it as a journal entry or even a poem if they like.
  6. When they’re done writing, have them share their vignettes with a partner or small group.
  7. If you have a My BrainPOP subscription, extend this activity by having students use Make-a-Movie to create a movie of their vignette. Then have students share their movies with a partner or small group.

Extension Activities:

Challenge students to play Time Zone X: The House on Mango Street and put events in chronological order using an interactive timeline tool.

Divide the class into groups of four. Assign each person in the group one of the Related Readings to read. Then have them share what they learned with the rest of the group.