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Lesson Plan

Assessing Cultural Relevance: Exploring Personal Connections to a Text

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Assessing Cultural Relevance: Exploring Personal Connections to a Text

Grades 9 – 12
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Six 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Traci Gardner

Traci Gardner

Blacksburg, Virginia


National Council of Teachers of English


Materials and Technology






¡Sí Se Puede! Yes, We Can! Janitor Strike in L.A. (optional)

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  • Choose a text to use as a model for this lesson. You will work through the analysis of the text as a class to demonstrate the activity that students will complete. Choose a book, film, or television program that everyone in the class is familiar with, OR choose a picture book that you can read to the class before completing the analysis.
  • If desired, obtain a copy of ¡Sí Se Puede! Yes, We Can! Janitor Strike in L.A. (Cinco Puntos Press, 2002) by Diana Cohn to read to the class during Session Four. This book is the focus of the Model Cultural Relevance Essay, so making students familiar with the book will increase their understanding of how the book fulfills the requirements for the writing assignment. Alternatively, you might write your own model essay, focusing on a book that students are already familiar with.

  • If students have access to computers, they can complete the online rubric and print their own customized version of the questions for gathering evidence. If computers are not available, make copies of the PDF version of the Cultural Relevance Rubric and the Gathering Evidence of Cultural Relevance handout for each student. You may also make overhead transparencies of the documents to use during class sessions as you demonstrate and discuss the analysis process.
  • Make copies of the handouts for the lesson.

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