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A Teacher’s Guide for Grades 4-6:

Efrén Divided

Meet Efrén–a kind, intelligent, and empathetic 12-year- old boy who is forced to grow up quickly after his mother’s sudden and heartbreaking deportation from the United States. Witness as Efrén rises as a caregiver in his family, a brave advocate for his beloved Amá, and a leader in his school, and use his story to explore some timely and powerful themes: family, friendship, separation, uncertainty, fear, leadership, and resilience. Students will find themselves relating to and being inspired by Efrén’s story; this curriculum will help students think critically and empathetically, making connections between Efrén’s experiences and their own lives and communities.

Efrén Divided is a timely and necessary book that explores the experiences of an immigrant family living in the United States. The story’s protagonist, Efrén, is a middle school student coming of age in a close and supportive Mexican family. Efrén is a passionate reader, a committed student, a devoted big brother, and a loyal friend; his family teaches him to take pride in his community, language, and culture. The book follows Efrén and his family as they manage everyday life, and as they cope with the effects of their parents’ undocumented status, culminating in Efrén’s mother (Amá) being unexpectedly deported to Mexico. In his mother’s absence, Efrén must shoulder many new family responsibilities, all while coping with some big emotions about what it means to live in a country that does not seem to value his family. Efrén’s father collects the money necessary to help Amá back over the border; because Efrén knows his father isn’t guaranteed a safe return if he goes to Mexico, Efrén volunteers to cross the border himself. Along the way, Efrén encounters people who forever change his perspective on the border and what it means to be Mexican and American. As the story ends without a clear resolution, Efrén and his friends learn that they have the power to create change in their own community, and use their voices to stand up for their beliefs.

Author: Ernesto Cisneros

Our Reading with Relevance teacher’s guide breaks the novel into a series of thoughtful lesson plans. Each lesson is designed to support you to meaningfully explore the social and emotional themes of the day’s reading with your students, inspiring them to read deeply, think critically, talk openly, and write reflectively about topics that matter.

This teacher’s guide includes:

  • A facilitator’s guide with tips and resources for implementing the curriculum.
  • A map of Common Core Standards addressed through this program.
  • 12 individual lesson plans, including vocabulary, discussion questions, journal prompts, extension activities, and all handouts.
  • Two assessments to monitor student progress throughout the program.
  • Regular checkpoints to help teachers assess their students’ progress on ELA standards.
  • A culminating essay-writing unit.
  • An appendix with additional teaching resources and activities to continue exploring this novel.

Pages: 90
Dimensions: 8.5″ x 11″



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