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Esperanza’s World – Teachers Guide – Starting

Esperanza’s World – Teachers Guide – Starting


Starting Esperanza Means Hope

Lesson One Summary:

This lesson will focus on an introduction of the book – its genre, structure, and story line.  Background information (as well as the writer’s note and the prologue) pertinent to Tucson and southwest Arizona will be introduced using visuals and maps as a means of understanding the time and place of the novel and to connect it to present day Tucson.  A review of the parts of a story and meanings of vocabulary words for Chapters 1, 2, and 3 will be included.   Lastly, students will organize a book journal for written responses and personal reflections during the reading of the novel.

Time:  Two  35 – 45 minute periods


Strand 1: Reading Process

Concept 4: Vocabulary – Acquire and use new vocabulary in relevant contexts

RO4-S1C4-02 Use context to determine the relevant meaning of a word.

RO4-S1C4-05 Determine the meanings, pronunciations, syllabication, synonyms, antonyms, and parts of speech of words by using a variety of reference aids, including dictionaries, thesauri, glossaries, and CD-ROM and Internet when available.

RO4-S1C4-06 Identify antonyms, synonyms, and homonyms for given words within text.

Concept 6: Comprehension Strategies – Employ strategies to comprehend text.

RO4-S1C6-01 Predict text content using prior knowledge and text features (e.g., illustrations, titles, topic sentences, key words).


Strand 3: Writing Applications

Concept 5: Literary Response

W04-S3C5-01 Write a reflection to a literature selection (e.g., journal entry, book review).

Social Studies

SS04-S1C3-O2 Describe the impact of Spanish colonization on the Southwest:

a. establishment of missions and presidios

SS04-S1C3-O3 Describe the location and cultural characteristics of Native American tribes (e.g., O’odham, Apache, Hopi) during the Spanish period.

SS04-S4C1-02 Interpret political and physical maps using the following map elements: title, compass rose (cardinal and intermediate directions), symbols, legend, scale,  road map index, grid (latitude and longitude)

SS04-S4C1-07 Locate physical and human features in Arizona using maps, illustrations, or images:

a.  physical (e.g., Grand Canyon, Mogollon Rim, Colorado River, Gila River, Salt River)

b.  human (e.g., Phoenix, Yuma, Flagstaff, Tucson, Prescott)

SS04-S4C2-01 Describe how the Southwest has distinct physical and cultural characteristics.

SS04-S4C2-03 Locate the landform regions of Arizona (plateau, mountain, desert) on a map.

SS04-S4C4-03 Describe how the building of transportation routes (e.g., trails, stage routes, railroad) resulted in human settlement and economic development in Arizona.

SS04-S4C4-04  Describe the cultural characteristics (e.g., food, clothing, housing, sports, customs, beliefs) of Arizona’s diverse population.

SS04-S4C4-05 Describe the major economic activities and land use patterns (e.g., agricultural, industrial, residential, commercial, recreational, harvesting of natural resources) of regions studied.

Common Core State Standards College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards

Reading Standards for Literature

Craft and Structure

6. Compare and contrast the point of view from which different stories are narrated,

including the difference between first- and third-person narrations.

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas

9. Compare and contrast the treatment of similar themes and topics (e.g., opposition of good and evil) and patterns of events (e.g., the quest) in stories, myths, and traditional literature from different cultures.

Writing Standards

Production and Distribution of Writing

4. Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

Speaking and Listening Standards

Comprehension and Collaboration

1. Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 4 topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

c. Pose and respond to specific questions to clarify or follow up on information, and make comments that contribute to the discussion and link to the remarks of others.

Language Standards

Vocabulary Acquisition and Use

4. Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 4 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.

a. Use context (e.g., definitions, examples, or restatements in text) as a clue to the meaning of a word or phrase.

6. Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate general academic and domain-specific words and phrases, including those that signal precise actions, emotions, or states of being and that are basic to a particular topic.

Lesson Objectives

1. Students will review the genre of historical fiction and the parts of a story.

2. Students will define the term “prologue” and will predict the storyline of the book based on an oral reading of the book’s prologue by the teacher.

3. Students will compare and contrast Tucson, Arizona and its surrounding area (1870s) with modern day Tucson.

4. Students will analyze primary documents and interpret maps and charts.

5. Students will list the institutions and businesses located in a typical town setting.

6. Students will organize a book journal for written responses.

7. Students will determine the meaning of vocabulary words using context clues.

Lesson Guiding Questions

1. How is the book, Esperanza Means Hope, similar to and different from other books, we have read?   (historical and realistic fiction)

2. What historical background information (about people and setting) will help us to better understand southern Arizona in the 1870s?

3. What are the parts of a story we should find in this novel?

4. What is a writer’s note and a prologue?

5. How should we organize a book journal for our written responses?

6. What vocabulary words are important to clarify before reading Chapters 1, 2, and 3?

Parts of A Story Terms for Review





resolution of conflict/problem

point-of-view – 1st person and 3rd person

Vocabulary for Introduction of the Story

historical and realistic fiction (genre)

habits of mind

essential questions



writer’s note

Vocabulary for Chapters 1, 2, 3

scowled – (p.4)

embroidery – (p.4)

serenade – (p.4)

flared (p.5)

parasol (p.12)

smug (p.13)

sulked (p.14)

corset (p.14)

mercantile (p.15)

exquisite (p.15)

rickety (p.21)

wrenched (p.23)


  • individual student book journal notebooks or portfolios
  • class set of Esperanza Means Hope
  • other related lit circle book choices (optional)
  • whiteboard and markers
  • poster or paper copies of “Essential questions” and “Habits of Mind”
  • key terms on whiteboard or as matching cards
  • ”revenge” activity picture and optional quotes
  • PowerPoint presentation of then and now pictures
  • vocabulary lists
  • comprehension questions and writing prompts
Day One


Introduce book study of Esperanza Means Hope by Gwen Harvey, a Tucson resident.  Explain that students will use a book journal to record their written responses and reactions to the book.  Students should write the title of the book and the author’s name on the first page of the journal along with their name.

Essential Questions and Habits of Mind

Discuss Essential Questions related to the themes in Esperanza Means Hope and the Habits of Mind as general guiding questions.  (Paper copies of the Essential Questions and Habits of Mind could be attached to pages in book journals or posters could be hung in the classroom for student perusal.)

Definition of “Revenge” (Part of Essential Questions):

Explain that revenge is one of several themes explored in the novel.  Define “revenge” by making connections to students’ lives. You may wish to confine discussion to playground or sibling acts of revenge.

Essential Question to consider: Does revenge bring justice and solve problems?

Definition: to inflict injury in return for an injury or damage

Ask students to think of synonyms for revenge. Synonyms: payback, settling the score, getting even; “an eye for an eye; a tooth for a tooth”

Use the photo of the cat and bird to visually clarify the definition of revenge. Students could also be asked to draw their own visual for the term in their book journals.

How does this photograph represent your understanding of revenge?

Optional quotes about revenge:

  • By taking revenge, a man is but even with his enemy; but in passing over it, he is superior. – Francis Bacon
  • An eye for eye makes the whole world blind. – Mahatma Gandhi
  • There is no revenge so complete as forgiveness. -Josh Billings
  • Those who plot the destruction of others often perish in the attempt. -Thomas Moore

Review Mini-Lessons

Review of historical fiction as a genre (could also discuss term “realistic fiction”).

Historical Fiction

This genre of stories are written to portray a time period or to convey information about a specific time period or an historical event.  Authors use historical fiction to create drama and interest based on real events in real people’s lives.  The characters can be a combination of real people, entirely fictionalized people or a combination of the two.  Historical fiction books can be powerful teaching tools because they give students a greater understanding (empathy) of how people felt at the time and what sort of dilemmas they faced.

Children’s historical fiction presents history from the point of view of young participants in the event in addition to the adult’s.  It attempts to help readers see how history affects people of the same age.  Children’s historical fiction features young people playing an important, participatory role in real historical events, although aspects of the stories are fictionalized.  The books give teachers an opportunity to contrast the true historical accounts with the fictionalized accounts. 

Parts of a Story:

Review parts of a story – plot, conflict, setting, characters, resolution of conflict, point of view (1st and 3rd person)


plot – story line; events in a story arranged in a particular sequence or pattern; can be retold in an abbreviated format with a beginning, middle and end

character – a person, animal or (personified) object in a story

setting – time and/or place of a story

conflict – plot tension (problem) or buildup of suspense in a story

conflict resolution – occurs when an answer to a conflict or a problem is found

point-of-view –  angle of narrator of a story

first-person POV –

1. Told from one character’s viewpoint

2. Action of the story and the feelings of the characters limited to the narrator’s knowledge

3. Uses personal pronouns I, my, mine, etc.

third-person POV –

1. Told from an outside viewpoint (not a character in the story)

2. Narrator  describes everything that is happening, often even telling what some characters are thinking

3. Used most often by authors

Parts of a Story Activity:

Pair students and check for understanding by having them arrange the parts of a story under the right headings. 

Book Structure

Introduce the table of contents and the three basic parts of the book – In Town, On the Ranch, and At the Fort and the appendices.

Introduce “writer’s note” and discuss the book plot or story line based on the writer’s note.

Introduce vocabulary term “prologue” and peruse and discuss prologue drawing.

Definition of prologue – introductory statement or opening; synonyms are preface and foreword.

Read the prologue to student’s orally; ask them to predict what they think will happen next in the story and have them explain their reasons to a shoulder partner.  Discuss the prologue illustration. 

Day Two

Teacher Led Discussions:

Elicit student responses about cultural ways of life and institutions common to all cultures.  Explain to students that Esperanza Means Hope will feature both the Hispanic and Indian cultures of 1870s Arizona.   They should consider the following Essential Questions: In what ways are all cultures similar? How do people of different cultures contribute to each other’s lives?

Make a list to include the following:

  • food
  • clothing
  • shelter/housing
  • language
  • celebrations/holidays
  • games
  • religion
  • expectations of girls
  • towns
  • transportation
  • jobs

1870s Arizona:

Introduce 1870s Arizona and its institutions through PowerPoint photographs– towns, ranches, mines, farms, military camps/forts, businesses, churches/missions (AHS archives) for a then and now comparison of the Tucson region.


Introduce map of 1870s Tucson from the book and a modern map of Tucson for a then and now comparison.  Students can record their reflections of the now and then Tucson activity in their book journals. 

Assign Book Reading:

Students read Chapters 1, 2, and 3.



Story Parts Review game

Informal “Checks for Understanding” during whole class discussions

Then or Now responses

Vocabulary activity