1. Project the photographs of the Florida room in front of the class. Ask your students to look at the photos closely and to write down what they see and notice. Next ask them to imagine they are standing or sitting in the room and to make a list of what they would see, hear, smell, and taste.
2. Ask your students to share out loud what they saw and noticed in the photos and to support their observations with evidence. If they write down, for example, that someone looks happy or confused, they must give evidence from the photo to support their observations. Consider asking them the following questions: How does the room change from photograph to photograph. What room (den, living room) do they think is depicted in each photograph, based on the evidence of what they notice. Which occasions might be taking place in each photo (Christmas, Thanksgiving)?
3. Project the poem “El Florida Room” by Richard Blanco in front of the class and ask your students to read it silently and to write down the words, phrases, and images that jump out at them.
4. Go around the class and ask your students to each read a stanza aloud to the class, while the listening students continue to jot down new words and/or phrases that jump out at them.
5. Ask your students to share what they think the poem, the poet, and the photographs are saying about the Florida Room. Does the imagery evoked by the poem say the same or different things as the imagery in the photographs? How so? (Make sure your students use evidence from their experience of the poem and the photograph to support their answers.)
6. Whole-class discussion: Ask your students to share their description of a favorite room in their current home, a home they once lived in, or a room from a relative’s home (e.g. grandmother’s house).