Second Generation

by Janice Lobo Sapigao

Writing Workshop

Workshop Title: Food

Step 1

Start by watching the brief scene from the TV show “Fresh Off the Boat.” When it’s done, ask your students to try to think of any experiences – like the young boy from the episode – in which they were teased or looked at differently for what they were eating.

Step 2

Read “Second Generation” by Janice Lobo Sapigao. When you’re done, briefly discuss how the speaker feels about being teased for her food and about the larger implications her experiences hold.

Step 3

Say, “Take some time to think about an instance in which you’ve been mocked or teased for the kind of food you were eating. If you’ve never personally experienced this, then you may discuss a time in which you’ve observed this happen to somebody else. Try to think about the larger meanings that you can draw from that experience: what it really says about you, the people teasing you, our society, etc.” Then give your students 5-10 minutes to brainstorm.

Step 4

Have your students write a poem similar in sentiment to “Second Generation” in which they recount an instance when they were mocked/teased for the food they were eating.

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. The prominent literary devices & techniques that this particular poem includes are diction, structure (syntax), tone, and selection of detail.

Step 2

Start the class by showing your students the following interview from The Daily Show.

Step 3

When you’re done, read “Second Generation” by Janice Lobo Sapigao. Once you’ve finished, ask your students to discuss how Sapigao’s experience with food as a second generation Filipina American mirrors the sentiment and message of David Chang’s interview from The Daily Show.

Step 4

Have your students open the following document. In this assignment, your students will explore how Sapigao’s poem acts as a “Trojan horse” to other important cultural issues, and then find examples of how those issues manifest themselves in the real world. Then give your students time to work on the assignment.

Step 5

When your students are done, have a few volunteers share their findings and responses with the rest of the group.

Step 6

If time permits, share the exemplar essay with your students.

Lesson Details

Lesson Info


  • Various


  • Children / Youth
  • Class
  • Community / Culture
  • Economy
  • Education Formal / Informal
  • Family
  • Food / Hunger
  • History
  • Home / Homelessness
  • Immigration
  • Race / Ethnicity / Racism

Literary Tags

  • Diction
  • Selection of Detail
  • Structure
  • Structure (Syntax)
  • Tone