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Pepita Talks Twice

PDF Version With Materials

Grade Level: 3

Character Education Focus: Respect and Responsibility


Students will read the story "Pepita Talks Twice" which is about a girl who becomes frustrated because she has to translate between Spanish and English for her friends, family, and neighbors. Students will identify, write and share examples of respect and responsibility demonstrated by the characters in the story. Then students will identify how they demonstrate these in their own lives and compare their actions to the main character's actions.

(90 minutes or two 45 minute sessions)

Materials Needed

  1. Lachtman, O.D. (2003). Pepita talks twice. In J. Cooper & J. Pikulski, Houghton Mifflin Reading: A Legacy of Literacy Grade 3 Theme 6.(pp. 245-271). Boston , MS: Houghton Mifflin. 

  2. Student journals  

  3. Handouts of male and female doll patterns

Academic Character Education Objectives

Students will:

  1. Be able to define the character traits of respect and responsibility and provide examples.
  2. Read a short story and identify ways the main character in the story exhibits the character traits of respect and responsibility by writing them down on a character trait doll.
  3. Recognize the character traits of respect and responsibility they possess in themselves.
  4. Write about similarities and differences between themselves and the main character in the story.

California English-Language Arts Standards Addressed


2.0 Reading Comprehension

  • 2.2  Ask questions and support answers by connecting prior knowledge with literal information found in, and inferred from, the text.

3.0 Literary Response and Analysis

  • 3.3  Determine what characters are like by what they say or do and by how the author or illustrator portrays them.

Reprinted, by permission, California Department of Education

Lesson Procedures

    1. Introduce the definitions shown below of respect and responsibility and provide examples of each. With each example, highlight the critical attributes of the definition that are illustrated by the example.

    Responsibility:  Being accountable for my own actions and choices (and their consequences) without blaming others.

    Respect: Treating others the way I want to be treated.

    Respect for others:  Being considerate and honoring the feelings, opinions, and property of others.

    Respect for self:  Being good to myself and not putting myself down, taking care of myself.

    2. After the definitions are introduced, then ask students to share their own examples of respect and responsibility and tell why this is an example of the trait.

    3. Tell students that they will be reading a story about a young girl who is bilingual in Spanish and English and she gets frustrated because she has to translate for her friends and family. In the story she demonstrates both respect and responsibility. As they read the story, ask students to find examples of both respect and responsibility. Tell them they will be writing down some of the examples after reading the story. Students will read “Pepita Talks Twice” with a partner.

    4. Distribute the doll pattern handout. Direct students to draw a line down the middle of the character doll pattern lengthwise.  On one half of the head write respect, and on the other half of the head write responsibility.  Have students review the story text to find and write specific examples on the appropriate half of the character profile doll that illustrate Pepita showing respect and responsibility.

    5. Divide students into groups of four. Have them take turns sharing one example each for respect and responsibility that is written on their character trait doll. Remind students to listen attentively and show encouragement and appreciation for each person in the group.  Have the group select one student to share their profile with the class.

    6. Have students process their group work by orally responding to one or more of the following prompts in their group:

                How did you show respect and responsibility in your group?
                How did someone show you respect in your group?
                What can the group do next time to improve how they work together?
                What would you do differently next time in the group?

    7. Students then identify specific instances when they have shown respect and responsibility in their lives by writing about them in their journals. 

    8. Students will divide a paper in half and label each column as shown below.  Students will then record the similarities and differences between Pepita and themselves using Pepita’s examples and their own personal examples from their journal notes of how they show respect and responsibility.

    How Am I Similar to Pepita?
    How Am I Different from Pepita?

    9. Students will share their similarities and differences in their small groups.

    10. Give each group the opportunity to share anything they discovered about themselves with the entire class.

Academic – Character Education Assessment

Academic Assessment: Teacher observation of the traits listed on the character dolls and statements made during class discussion. Assess the students’ understanding of similarities and differences with Pepita.

Character Education Assessment: Observe the examples students provide for the traits as well as the identification of how they demonstrate respect and responsibility in their own lives. Observe how the students respond to the processing of their group experience.  

Reflective Journaling Prompts

  • If Pepita was a girl in your class would you choose to have her as a friend?  Why or why not.
  • What do you do that proves you are responsible at home or school?
  • Share a time when someone showed respect toward you.
  • Share a time when you witnessed someone showing respect toward others.
  • Share one of your family’s customs or traditions.

Extensions and Variations

  • Discuss the ways people of other countries and cultures show respect toward others and themselves.
  • Take the information from the similarities and differences list and write it in the form of a personal narrative.
  • Find and share newspaper or magazine articles about people showing respect or responsibility.
  • This story has many vocabulary words that are Spanish words that have been adopted into the English language.  Have students brainstorm and research to create a list of words from other languages and cultures that have been adopted into the English language (e.g., taco, fiesta).

Based on a lesson by Jenny Watson

Edited by Mary Wilson

© 2005 Orange County Department of Education