- AMANDA MANCILLA-KIMBROUGH
- English as a Second Language, English Language Arts
- Material Type:
- Middle School, High School
- Creative Commons Attribution
- Media Formats:
Teaching Theme: Fish Cheeks
Attched and or embedded is a teacher's lesson plan for teaching Theme using a short story called Fish Cheeks. This short story needs visuals added to better support ELLs in the main classroom.
Teaching Theme:Fish Cheeks RL 8.2- With resources attached
My Unit Topic
English I - Beginner Level (7th/ 8th grade)
NC.ELA.RL.8.2 & RL.7.2 Determine a theme of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text; provide an objective summary of the text.
Bulleted Summary of my Unit and the Learning Activities
Key Language Use (Most Prominent)
Most Prominent Language Expectation(s)
Interpret language arts narratives by
● Identifying themes or central ideas that
develop over the course of a text
● Analyzing how author choices about
character attributes and actions relate to
story elements (setting, event sequences, and
● Evaluating the impact of specific word
choices on meaning, tone, and explicit vs.
implicit points of view
The lesson went well thanks to visual support and student-teacher interaction. Students practiced how to identify the theme of the short story and enjoyed discussing the theme of the Fish Cheeks. They were able to make a connection to their own cultural aspects of life and cultural adjustment in the US.
Resource: Short Story Fish Cheeks
“Fish Cheeks” by Amy Tan
I fell in love with the minister’s son the winter I turned fourteen. He was not Chinese, but as white as Mary in the manger. For Christmas I prayed for this blond-haired boy, Robert, and a slim new American nose.
When I found out that my parents had invited the minister’s family over for Christmas Eve dinner, I cried. What would Robert think of our shabby Chinese Christmas? What would he think of our noisy Chinese relatives who lacked proper American manners? What terrible disappoint-ment would he feel upon seeing not a roasted turkey and sweet potatoes but Chinese food?
On Christmas Eve I saw that my mother had outdone herself in creating a strange menu. She was pulling black veins out of the backs of fleshy prawns. The kitchen was littered with appalling mounds of raw food: A slimy rock cod with bulging eyes that pleaded not to be thrown into a pan of hot oil. Tofu, which looked like stacked wedges of rubbery white sponges. A bowl soaking dried fungus back to life. A plate of squid, their backs crisscrossed with knife markings so they resembled bicycle tires.
And then they arrived – the minister’s family and all my relatives in a clamor of doorbells and rumpled Christmas packages. Robert grunted hello, and I pretended he was not worthy of existence.
Dinner threw me deeper into despair. My relatives licked the ends of their chopsticks and reached across the table, dipping them into the dozen or so plates of food. Robert and his family waited patiently for platters to be passed to them. My relatives murmured with pleasure when my mother brought out the whole steamed fish. Robert grimaced. Then my father poked his chopsticks just below the fish eye and plucked out the soft meat. “Amy, your favorite,” he said, offering me the tender fish cheek. I wanted to disappear.
At the end of the meal my father leaned back and belched loudly, thanking my mother for her fine cooking. “It’s a polite Chinese custom to show you are satisfied,” explained my father to our astonished guests. Robert was looking down at his plate with a reddened face. The minister managed to muster up a quiet burp. I was stunned into silence for the rest of the night.
After everyone had gone, my mother said to me, “You want to be the same as American girls on the outside.” She handed me an early gift. It was a miniskirt in beige tweed. “But inside you must always be Chinese. You must be proud you are different. Your only shame is to have shame.”
And even though I didn’t agree with her then, I knew that she understood how much I had suffered during the evening’s dinner. It wasn’t until many years later – long after I had gotten over my crush on Robert – that I was able to fully appreciate her lesson and the true purpose behind our particular menu. For Christmas Eve that year, she had chosen all my favorite foods.
Teaching Theme: Fish Cheeks CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.8.2
|My Unit Topic||Theme|
|Content Areas||English I - Beginner Level (8th/ 9th grade)|
|Bulleted Summary of my Unit and the Learning Activities|
|Key Language Use (Most Prominent)|
|Most Prominent Language Expectation(s)||ELD-LA.9-12.Narrate.InterpretiveInterpret language arts narratives by● Identifying themes or central ideas thatdevelop over the course of a text● Analyzing how author choices aboutcharacter attributes and actions relate tostory elements (setting, event sequences, andcontext)● Evaluating the impact of specific wordchoices on meaning, tone, and explicit vs.implicit points of view|
|Reflection||The lesson went well thanks to visual support and student-teacher interaction. Students practiced how to identify the theme of the short story and enjoyed discussing the theme of the Fish Cheeks. They were able to make a connection to their own cultural aspects of life and cultural adjustment in the US.|