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Exploring Poetry in Land of the Cranes
Author: Cynthia Villarreal Cantu, Texas
Grade 3-6

During this lesson, the students will explore translanguaging used through poetry in the book, Land of the Cranes. The students will make connections to bilingual students' experiences, background, and location. This book of poems tells the story of Betita’s experience in a family detention camp as she waits for her journey from Los Angeles to Mexico. Betita, her mother, and other asylum seekers experience cruel and inhumane conditions. However, through poetry she empowers their voices. Throughout the lesson, the students will discuss how Betita used poetry to overcome the struggles in her life. After reading the poems from Land of the Cranes, the students will learn about the importance of identity, and agency to create a culture that promotes social justice. As part of the lesson, the students will create a song or poem based on the book. They will all also complete a Venn Diagram where they will compare and contrast Betita’s and Esperanza’s experiences.  

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