In Translation

by Elizabeth Acevedo

Writing Workshop

Workshop Title: Yearning

Step 1

Ask your students, “Have you ever felt stifled by the people who raised you? Why did you feel that way?”

Step 2

Read the poem “In Translation” by Elizabeth Acevedo. When you’re done reading, briefly discuss how the speaker felt stifled by her mother. What did the speaker yearn for, and how did her mother hinder her from attaining it?

Step 3

Say, “Choose in instance (or a larger amount of time) when you left stifled by your parents or guardians. Then simply write down all the feelings that you were feeling in that moment.” Then give them time to discuss.

Step 4

Have your students compose a poem similar in sentiment to “In Translation” in which they depict a time in which they felt stifled by your parents or guardians.

Step 5

When the students are done, have them share their responses with one another.

The full presentation may be found HERE.

Analytical Lesson

Area of Focus: Various

Step 1

This lesson allows students to analyze various concepts and skills, so it is recommended that you have covered several of the “standalone” lessons before assigning this one.

Step 2

Start by showing the following video, an introduction to the novel The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo. Before your students watch, tell them to try to predict what the mother/daughter relationship will entail based on the information provided in the clip. If your students need a bit of a nudge, you can ask them about Acevedo bringing up the protagonist “finding her voice,” and the poem about her mother, “Mami Says.” Then discuss.

Step 3

Read the poem “In Translation” with your students. Then ask your students to determine the dynamic between the speaker and her mother. Discuss.

Step 4

When your students are done, ask them to open the following document and go over the instructions with them. In this assignment, your students are going to have to analyze the poem by moving through it sequentially, from beginning of the poem to the end of it. All of the evidence has been provided for them on the left-hand side of the chart. Then have them work on the assignment.

Step 5

When your students are done, have them share their responses with one another.

Step 6

Share the exemplar essay with your students so they can see if their responses are similar in scope.

Lesson Details

Lesson Info


  • Various


  • Children / Youth
  • Class
  • Community / Culture
  • Creativity / Imagination / Writing
  • Education Formal / Informal
  • Family
  • Home / Homelessness
  • Love
  • Parenting

Literary Tags

  • Diction
  • Figurative Language
  • Imagery
  • Tone