5th Grade Chapter Book Inspires Riley Students

Charles E. Riley Elementary School fifth-graders enjoy sampling fruits and vegetables mentioned in “Esperanza Rising,” a book they read about a character’s journey through the Great Depression.Fifth-graders at Charles E. Riley Elementary School placed themselves into the life and time of characters in “Esperanza Rising” to gain a better understanding of the Great Depression through the lenses of a Mexican farm worker family.
As a culmination activity to reading the book, the students were tasked with recording how samples of asparagus, cantaloupe, raw potatoes, raw onions, peaches and avocado looked, smelled and tasted. Teacher Mary Pisa said each of those produce samples were included in a title of the book’s chapters and represented a point in time in the main character’s life.
Some of the words used to describe the fruits and vegetables included: dirt, white snow, grass, orange and green, among several others. They favored the sweet cantaloupe and peaches, and several students asked for second helpings of avocado and asparagus.
Riley students also learned how to be more empathetic as they recalled Esperanza’s story which detailed the struggles of her family’s move from Mexico to the United States of America.