“Every Day We Get More Illegal” by Juan Felipe Herrera

A study of Jan Felipe Herrera's poem "Every Day We Get More Illegal" opens the door for a discussion on immigration. To begin, class members examine the photograph "Desert Survival," record their observations of the image, and then discuss possible interpretations. Next, the class does a close reading of "Every Day We Get More Illegal" and records their observations, including how the poet places his words on the page. Finally, scholars draw comparisons between the poem and the photograph.

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CCSS: Designed
Instructional Ideas
  • Download and project the PDF version of the "Desert Survival" image
  • Share links to the background information on Herrera and his poem with students
Classroom Considerations
  • Presumes a protocol is in place to permit a safe, respectful discussion of controversial issues 
  • Includes activities that can be used before, during, and after reading Herrera's poem
  • Class member develop their own rubric to assess their poems
  • None
Common Core