Leslie Kreikemeier
Literature, Education, English Language Arts
Material Type:
High School
  • Compare an Contrast
  • NE ELA
  • Nebraska Department of Education
  • Reading
  • compare-an-contrast
  • comprehension
  • reading
    Creative Commons Attribution
    Media Formats:
    Downloadable docs, Interactive

    Education Standards

    "Homeless Essay" and "The 1st" Poem and The Glass Castle

    "Homeless Essay" and "The 1st" Poem and The Glass Castle



    "Homeless," by Anna Quindlen, allows the student to understand homelessness as it affects many people on a broader scale. She emphasizes the individuality of homelessness, the fact that they not only lack possessions but have no place to keep them.

    "The First" (also titled "Eviction") is a short poem by Lucille Clifton that provides the opportunity to compare and contrast the approach to the same issue through another genre.

    In "The Glass Castle" by Jeannette Walls the parents choose to live as homeless students.  Students will compare and contrast the Walls' view of homelessness with Quindlen's and Clifton's.

    Final Assessment: 

    How do Anna Quindlen and Lucille Clifton use language to convince the reader that their arguments have value? (focus on use of specific language, word choice, mood, tone, etc.)  Would Walls agree?

    Class Discussion

    1.  After Rosemary and Rex choose to live on the streets, please read "Homeless" by Anna Quindlen.  Here's the link:

    2.  Now, please re-read beginning of the essay and be ready to discuss/answer the following questions:

    • How does the author’s introduction begin?  (What type of lead is in the essay?)

    • Why did Quindlen begin her essay by discussing one individual?

    •  How does that set up the rest of the essay?

    • Where does the introduction end and the body of the essay begin?   

    • What is the tone of the introduction?  What mood does it establish? 

    • Do you believe Rex agrees with Quindlen?  Why?  Give me two, well supported reasons.

    • Do you believe Rosemary agrees with Quindlen or Rex?  Give me two well supported reasons.



    Choose three of the quotes below to analyze. Do this as part of your annotations OR respond on lined paper. 

    • “You are where you live.”

    • “She was somebody.”

    • “Home is where the heart is.”

    • “Homes have stopped being homes. Now they are real estate.”

    • “ It has been customary to take people’s pain and lessen our own participation in it by turning it into an issue, not a collection of human beings. We turn an adjective into a noun…” (consider the title and it’s part of speech in your response)

    • “Sometimes I think we would be better off if we forgot about the broad strokes and concentrated on the details.”

    • “No window to look out upon the world. My God. That is everything.”




    Close Read the Poem

    See lesson plan.

    Create a Padlet site linked within parenthesis here: ( 

    Topic: What makes someone who they are? Does where you live matter?

    If technology is not available, create a class poster or make a list on the board as you discuss.

    Optional FlipGrid (be mindful of students who may currently be homeless): Interview a classmate and record a short introduction of that person on FlipGrid. Include aspects of Padlet discussion and HOW these things make this person who he or she is. Site linked here in parenthesis: (


    Following the Walls' eviction from the depot, read "the 1st" by Lucille Clifton.  


    Close Read the Essay



    Read the poem independently and annotate.

    Annotation Choices:

    1.  Use the attached TPCASTT organizer and fill in each box.

    2.  Complete the following questions on a document or lined paper:

    • Who is the speaker? What is going on?  
    • Reread the title—why is it important   Is “Eviction” or “The 1st” a better title? 
    • What conflict is presented between the first stanza and the last stanza?  How does the mood change? What does the situation appear to be in the first stanza?  
    • Summarize the story being told in the first stanza.  Who? What? When? Where? Why?
    • What do you notice about the punctuation?  The capitalization (check out the letter i…)?  What does this tell you about what the poet is trying to say?  
    • What is the effect of the repetition in the last two lines?  What has been emptied? What does the word “emptied” mean?
    • What has probably happened between the first stanza and the second?  What has changed about the speaker in the second stanza?