The Circuit These activities may be done separately or as a unit. Research
Students will be given a topic from the story, The Circuit, to research using the internet, resources page, reference books, and personal family histories.
El Santo Nino
Students will organize information in a format that can be presented to the class. This can be in the form a poster, oral report, bag report, role play, maps, or other presentation of the student’s choice.
Students will prepare a meal consisting of the foods eaten by the Jiménez family in the book to celebrate the end of the unit and the completion of the projects.
Students will compose an e-mail to Francisco Jiménez, the author of the book, The Circuit, to comment on their thoughts on the book and the impact his stories have had on them.
1) Bring in a classroom guest who works with migrant laborers or who has lived within "the circuit" of migrant labor camps. Have the guest discuss how the experience affects children.
2) Visit a local historical society or museum to learn more about the contributions of members of the Hispanic community; for example, Cesar Chavez, Henry Cisneros, or Ernesto Cortes.
Have students compare The Circuit with John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath. Begin by identifying the basics (author, theme, tone, mood, style and the books’ messages to the readers). Before students begin writing, brainstorm and discuss questions such as: What do the authors' lives have in common? How the books’ themes are similar or different? Do the books have the same type of tone or mood? Have the class share their findings with the class in small group presentations.
Present a unit comparing the differences and similarities between the Spanish spoken by the U.S. Chicano community and that spoken in the villages of Mexico, such as El Rancho Blanco, the author’s hometown. Listen to Chicano music, to literature being read aloud, and to people speaking in the target language.
The Circuit Students will see the following themes, or main ideas, developed in detail in The Circuit.
Trying to balance the traditions of your family with a new set of values and a different way of life
Working hard to fulfill your dreams
Writing a story about your life
Summarizing The Circuit
A summary is a short restatement of written material. Summaries are much shorter than the original passage, but they provide basically the same information as the original.
Summarize the story of how Francisco and Roberto came to the United States.
The Circuit Describe Francisco’s relationship with each of these characters. State briefly what the relationship tells you about Francisco. Did any of the relationships change with time?
The Circuit Characteristics help us understand the character’s qualities or traits - Write the character’s characteristics in the space provided.
The Circuit Use your own paper to write an essay on any of the given topics.
Jiménez writes about his life as it was for a migrant worker some fifty years ago. Do you think that the lives of migrant workers are better today?
One of the book’s themes is “breaking down barriers.” Think of a barrier in your own life that you have had to overcome. Write about the hardship and the process you used to break through.
Jiménez had some wonderful teachers that influenced his life in a very positive way. Write about someone that has touched your life to make you achieve goals that you never thought were possible.
Name __________________________________ Score __________
________________________ The Circuit
The Circuit Lesson Title:
Francisco Jimenez and the Purpose of Public Education
Unit of Study:
The Divergent Paths of the American People: 1800-1850; The Northeast
History-Social Science Standard:
Trace the development of the American education system from its earliest roots, including the roles of religious and private schools and Horace Mann’s campaign for free public education and its assimilating role in American culture.
Setting the Context:
Though Thomas Jefferson and other early American leaders brought up the idea of universal public education, it was Horace Mann who is given credit as the “father of the public school system.”
It would be reasonable to believe that by the 1950s and 1960s the issues would have been worked out enough that public education would serve as an institution that would benefit the children of migrant workers. It was not. One of the goals of the migrant farm worker movement was to secure a proper education for their children. It was as important to the migrant workers to be activists for public education as for any of the demands they fought for in the fields.
Focus Question: Was education one of the goals that migrant workers fought for?
Historically, how were Mexican American migrant workers’ children treated in some of the public schools?
Expected Learning Outcomes:
Through the use of a JIGSAW reading activity, students will be able to analyze how some migrant worker families felt about the educational experiences their children were receiving.
Students will generate a consensus list of the aims of public education from the discussions that they have on the oral interviews. Students can be measured in comparison to the other cooperative education groups.