One or more copies of Sitti's Secrets by Naomi Shihab Nye (Aladdin, 1997)

Chart paper


Bring students together for a reflection session. Points for discussion include:
  • Contrast ideas that students may have had about either Arabs or people who live in Palestine with ideas they now have.
  • Review the lives led by Mona's extended family and their families.
  • Review social concerns about which students wrote, the reasons they felt concerned, and the reason they thought the person to whom they wrote was a good choice. Allow them to explain the outcome they hope their letter will influence.
  • Allow students to volunteer things they learned as a result of these sessions. Attempt to ascertain whether they view anything differently. Display their thoughts on the board or on chart paper that you leave up for several days.


  • Use the Observational Checklist to assess student participation and knowledge when discussing the story, talking about the Palestinian/Arabic culture, generating ideas for the Venn Diagram and letter, and evaluating cooperative learning.
  • Assess students’ letters using the Persuasive Letter Rubric .
  • Use the concluding session to help informally assess how well students have learned about the culture of Palestinian Arabs and how well they understood the purpose and method for writing a persuasive letter.