Compare and Contrast Essay: Summer of the Mariposas and Latin American Folklore | EL Education Curriculum

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ELA 2019 G8:M1:U3

Compare and Contrast Essay: Summer of the Mariposas and Latin American Folklore

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In the first half of the unit, students read informational texts relevant to Summer of the Mariposas and the topic to determine central idea. In the second half of the unit, students write a literary analysis essay using the Painted Essay® structure to compare and contrast how La Llorona was portrayed in Summer of the Mariposas with the original story, to explain how Guadalupe Garcia McCall has rendered the story new. For their end of unit assessment, students write another essay explaining how they modernized their own monster in the narrative piece they wrote in Unit 2.

For homework, students will continue to preread chapters of Summer of the Mariposas before discussing them in class. On any day that a prereading of a chapter is not assigned, students should continue their independent research reading by reading for at least 20 minutes and responding to a prompt. Additionally, students should continue independent research reading over the weekends.

Please note: For the 6-8 Language Arts Curriculum, there are Teaching Notes for each unit that contain helpful information for supporting English language learners. These overview notes complement the more specific English language learner supports and differentiated materials within each lesson. You will find the Teaching Notes in the Unit download below.

CCS Standards

The Four Ts

  • Topic: Folklore of Latin America
  • Task:
    • Students will determine the central idea of a new text.
    • Students will compare and contrast the original depiction of La Llorona from Latin American Folklore with Guadalupe Garcia McCall's depiction in Summer of the Mariposas and will write an informative essay explaining the similarities and differences.
    • Students will write an essay comparing the original depiction of another "monster" from Latin American folklore with their own modernized depiction from their Unit 2 narrative essays.
  • Targets: RL.8.1, RL.8.9, RI.8.1, RI.8.4, RI.8.10, W.8.2, W.8.4, W.8.5, W.8.9a, W.8.10, L.8.4a, L.8.4c, L.8.4d
  • Texts: Summer of the Mariposas by Guadalupe Garcia McCall, La Llorona by Joe Hayes, Model Essay: "Peuchen" by EL Education


Each unit in the 6-8 Language Arts Curriculum has two standards-based assessments built in, one mid-unit assessment and one end of unit assessment. The module concludes with a performance task at the end of Unit 3 to synthesize students' understanding of what they accomplished through supported, standards-based writing.

Habits of Character/Social-Emotional Learning Focus

Central to the EL Education curriculum is a focus on "habits of character" and social-emotional learning. Students work to become effective learners, developing mindsets and skills for success in college, career, and life (e.g., initiative, responsibility, perseverance, collaboration); they work to become ethical people, treating others well and standing up for what is right (e.g., empathy, integrity, respect, compassion); and they work to contribute to a better world, putting their learning to use to improve communities (e.g., citizenship, service).

In Unit 3, students track working to become ethical people as they finish the novel Summer of the Mariposas. In Lessons 1-7, they summarize each chapter and look for examples of how the Garza girls grow in their capacity to show empathy, compassion, and integrity in their interactions with others (and especially with one another).

In addition, students focus on working to become effective learners as they complete a series of partner tasks while preparing to write their explanation essays. As students work together, they identify ways in which they can increase their perseverance and effective collaboration. Students then evaluate their successes and challenges in this work, setting new goals for the next partner session.

For their Performance Task, students work on contributing to a better world by creating a website to house their narrative retelling of a myth from folklore of Latin America and their compare and contrast literary analysis essays that compare the original myth to their retelling. Myths and folklore of Latin America are not well represented on the internet, and creating a webpage for these stories helps to contribute to a better world in which these important stories are more well known.


Each unit is made up of a sequence of between 10-18 lessons. The Unit-at-a-Glance charts, available on the grade-level landing pages, break down each unit's lessons, showing CCS standards, agenda breakdown, daily learning targets, and ongoing assessments. The charts also indicate which lessons include mid- and end of unit assessments and the performance task.

Texts and Resources to Buy

Texts and resources that need to be procured. Please download the Required Trade Books and Resources Procurement List for procurement guidance.

Text or Resource Quantity ISBNs
Summer of the Mariposas
by Guadalupe Garcia McCall
One per student
ISBN: 9781620140109

Preparation and Materials

Prepare vocabulary logs and independent reading journals.

Ensure that families are aware of the sensitive content of Summer of the Mariposas, and prepare students who may be affected by this content in advance.

The following materials are introduced in this unit and referenced throughout both the module and the school year:

  • Paint an Essay lesson plan (for teacher reference)
  • Painted Essay® template (one per student)
  • Peer Critique Protocol anchor chart (new, to be created)
  • Directions for Peer Critique (one for display)

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