Lupita Torres and her
brother Salvador are fictional characters. Their story, however,
is based on real events. The United States is a nation of immigrants,
yet certain groups have faced difficult challenges in achieving
the American dream. Mexican and Mexican-American farm workers, for
example, continue to fight for better working conditions and job
opportunities, despite decades of contributing to the U.S. workforce.
The activities contained in this lesson are in recognition of all
who have struggled to make a new and better life for themselves
- and for future generations.
Lupita is an undocumented
worker, which means she does not have the legal documents that would
allow her to work legally in the United States. Before reading the
novel, you will need some background information on the problems
undocumented workers are likely to experience. Team up with 2-3
other students and read Chuck Brodsky's song La
Migra Viene. Since Chuck actually worked with undocumented migrant
workers and wrote the words to this song at that time, La Migra
Viene is a primary source document. Read through the song once or
twice silently, then as a team, read it aloud. As you read, record
your thoughts and questions on the How
to Read a Primary Document Handout.
Activity One: Story
Lupita's journey from
Mexico to California is a centuries-old route. There was a time
when the border between Mexico and California was not fenced. Lupita
and Salvador could have been following trails their ancestors traveled
even before the Spanish conquest on the New World.
Your task is to show
Lupita's journey as a story map. Your map should be done on a large
poster board. It should include each of the places listed below.
Include a caption for each place Lupita passed through to explain
what she was thinking or experiencing while there. Your
story map should be visually attractive, accurately and neatly labeled,
and reflect personal effort. Begin the task by locating a map of
California, either in print or online.
Use the Story Map Scoring Guide as a
- San Gorgonio Pass
- Riverside, along Highway
- Mojave Desert
- Palm Springs
Two: Found Poem
Despite the progress
made by Cesar Chavez and the continuing efforts of the United Farm
Workers Union in improving working conditions for migrant workers,
they still face many challenges in achieving a higher standard of
living for themselves and their children. Undocumented workers like
Lupita and Sal often find themselves in difficult situations with
nowhere to turn to for help. Yet both documented and undocumented
workers continue to do the often backbreaking labor that brings
fresh produce to our tables. Examine the following photographs of
actual farm workers in the Sacramento and central valley areas of
Read the Record Details
that accompany each photograph. Reread your favorite chapter from
Lupita Manana along with the Afterword section
of the novel, which contains a look at migrant workers by writer
Your task is to create
a found poem that captures both the realities of migrant labor and
the hopes and dreams Lupita held for a better life.
Follow the directions
below for creating your found poem:
to Create a Found Poem
10-15 lines or parts of lines (words/phrases) from your favorite
chapter of Lupita
Manana and/or the Record
Details for any of the photos that you feel are important.
Choose whatever is meaningful to you in any way. Consider the
way words look or sound. Is there figurative language? "Showing"
writing? Strong verbs and nouns? Remember: you may choose any
words, phrases, or lines you want.
sure you use actual words, phrases, or lines from the Record
Details and/or Lupita
not try to make your lines rhyme.
your draft and highlight a key word, phrase, or line that captures
the spirit or main idea of your found poem. This will be your
and end your poem with the unifying theme.
your found poem.
final poem should be 8-12 lines
you have finished composing your found poem, illustrate it, and
mount it on construction paper or poster board. Check to see that
your poem meets all the criteria listed on the Scoring
Guide for a Found Poem. You are now ready to present your poem
to your classmates!
All photographs and accompanying record details were copied with
permission from the People of Sacramento CD-ROM.)
Activity Three: Investigating
Our Own Immigration/Migration Stories
- Why do people come
to California from other countries or other places in the United
- What are they looking
- What are they leaving
Your task is to research
your own family tree and find a relative who made the decision to
immigrate/migrate to California. In three to five paragraphs, you
will introduce this family member and answer some of the following
- When did this family
member come to California?
- Where did he/she come
- What kind of work
did this person do when he/she first arrived in California?
- Did he/she have to
learn to speak English? What was that like?
- Does this family member
still speak his/her native language?
- Does this family member
still observe any customs from his/her country of origin?
- Did this family member
experience any prejudice or hostility as a new immigrant?
- How did living in
California change his/her life?
- Was the move worth
- What would this person
like others to know about California living?
Before you hand in your
story, use the Scoring Guide for Immigration/Migration
Stories as your check list.
In order to
meet the deadlines for each activity and to be well prepared, you
will need to work together cooperatively and make every minute of
classroom and at-home research time count. You will be completing
a Group Participation Evaluation for
Activity One and Activity Two.
Lupita and Sal are very
life-like characters. Economic problems in Mexico prompted them
to migrate to California. They arrived seeking jobs and following
dreams. Are any of the problems and challenges these two undocumented
workers faced still important issues in California today?
The photograph of the migrant child was copied with permission from
the online collection of Wayne