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6-8 Core Literature Themes and Connections

Baseball in April by Gary Soto
Eleven short stories by award-winning poet Soto portray Latino kids bridging the span between cultures and generations. Soto brings sensitivity and humor to these portrayals of first love, deceit, success vs. failure and the ups and downs of friendship.

6th grade Core Literature

Key Concepts and Vocabulary Words
Hispanic, Mexican-American, culture, poetry, poems, Gary Soto, family, generations

Family, Poetry, Cultures


English/Language Arts

Theme Questions


Extensions/ Activities

What is the importance of setting in the work of Gary Soto?

The Official Gary Soto Website
This site is the official Gary Soto website with a complete bgiography, list of books, information about his latest whereabouts, and a way to order his books. This is a commercial site.

Online Poetry Classroom
This site is a program of the Academy of American Poets and provides teaching tips and tools on how to teach poetry. You can search for a poet or poem.

Write a biographical sketch of Gary Soto
Discuss short stories and have students write a short story about where they live.
Have students join a discussion forum on poetry.

Write a poem about family.

6th Grade Language Arts Content Standards
1.0 Writing Strategies
Students write clear, coherent, and focused essays. The writing exhibits students' awareness of the audience and purpose.
Organization and Focus
1.1 Choose the form of writing (e.g., personal letter, letter to the editor, review, poem, report, narrative) that best suits the intended purpose.


History/Social Science

Theme Questions


Extensions/ Activities

What themes appear in Hispanic art?

Why should I learn about Mexican American culture?

CybreGuide on Gary Soto’s Short Stories
This CyberGuide by Barbara Garrison provides standards-based activities linked to resources on Hispanic Art and Culture.

Hispanic Culture
This website is a commercial site for Education-World, but it provides good resources and ideas for teachers.

Create a picture using themes that appear in Hispanic Art

Design a Postage stamp that represents Hispanic culture

5th Grade History/Social Science
5. Describe the continued migration of Mexican settlers into Mexican territories of the West and Southwest.
6. Relate how and when California, Texas, Oregon, and other western lands became part of the United States, including the significance of the Texas War for Independence and the Mexican-American War.

6th Grade Visual and Performing Arts
Understanding the Historical Contributions and Cultural Dimensions of the Visual Arts
Students analyze the role and development of the visual arts in past and present cultures throughout the world, noting human diversity as it relates to the visual arts and artists.
Role and Development of the Visual Arts
3.1 Research and discuss the role of the visual arts in selected periods of history, using a variety of resources (both print and electronic).
3.2 View selected works of art from a culture and describe how they have changed or not changed in theme and content over a period of time.



Theme Questions


Extensions/ Activities

What forces act over time to change Earth's features?

How does change in climate affect Earth's ecosystems?

StudyWorks: Did the Earth’s Climate Change? 0,,EXP630_NAV2-79_SAR624,00.shtml
Study Works! Online is a service of MathSoft Engineering and Education, Inc. and provides free online activities and lessons for teachers and students grades 6-12. This activity on Global Warming makes learning real by making them investigators of temperatures and climate starting with ancient times and then comparing it to different times and places in history.

Compare Current Climate and Temperature to Past
Students can use the online acticity to investigate if there really is global warming. Teachers can use these ideas as writing prompts.

6th Grade Science Standards
Investigation and Experimentation
7. Scientific progress is made by asking meaningful questions and conducting careful investigations. As a basis for understanding this concept and addressing the content in the other three strands, students should develop their own questions and perform investigations. Students will:
a. Develop a hypothesis.
b. Select and use appropriate tools and technology (including calculators, computers, balances, spring scales, microscopes, and binoculars) to perform tests, collect data, and display data.
c. Construct appropriate graphs from data and develop qualitative statements about the relationships between variables.
d. Communicate the steps and results from an investigation in written reports and oral presentations.
e. Recognize whether evidence is consistent with a proposed explanation.
f. Read a topographic map and a geologic map for evidence provided on the maps and construct and interpret a simple scale map.
g. Interpret events by sequence and time from natural phenomena (e.g., the relative ages of rocks and intrusions).





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