3 Powerful Ways that Last Stop on Market Street Models Empathy

Thanksgiving is such a wonderful holiday, and it provides a great opportunity to teach traits like empathy and gratitude. Last Stop on Market Street is a mentor text that works well for modeling empathy for our students along with many other skills. It is a beautiful and heart warming story; one all students will enjoy. In this post, I’ll share ways you can use Last Stop on Market Street as one of your November mentor texts.


As a child, author Matt de la Pena, grew up in the border town of National City, California. His mom was white, and his father was a first generation Mexican-American. He often felt unseen and experienced low expectations in school. His life experiences have led him to write about kids like himself to help them see themselves in literature. His hope is to help them learn to love reading. This article about Last Stop on Market Street offers more background on the story.

about my Last Stop on Market Street Book Companion

Book companion resources include a broad range of activities for reading, writing, and the content areas. With my book companions, I organize them in a before-during-after format with both printable and digital options. Over the last year, I have focused my book companion creations on titles that address social emotional learning.

This year, I am sharing my unit for the book, Last Stop on Market Street as my gift to you over these four days. To get the resource, you’ll need to complete the form below, and the unit will be delivered to your inbox.

Last Stop on Market Street is a beautiful book for modeling empathy and gratitude.

All you need to do is write up the lesson plan in the format your division requires. I give you the printables and the digital version you can use on your smartboard for modeling. If you want to go paperless, no problem. Assign one page at a time through Google classroom.

Last Stop on Market Street is a beautiful book for modeling empathy and gratitude.
Last Stop on Market Street is a beautiful book for modeling empathy and gratitude.

The Last Stop on Market Street unit includes both black and white pages for printing and color for Google Slides TM. You’ll find materials for lots of skill options including a schema builder about city living, vocabulary introduction and word cards, an character traits anchor chart and organizer, sequencing events Stop and Jot activity, making connections anchor chart and organizer, making comparisons, visualizing using text evidence, discussion task cards, and two writing prompts

Last Stop on Market Street is a beautiful book for modeling empathy and gratitude.

The image above shows the digital version of a few pages. I like using these pages for shared writing and group discussion. I suggest giving the students the printable version to use with collaborative groups or learning partners.

how to use last stop on market street to teach about empathy with your students

Last Stop on Market Street sparks conversations

Of course, if you follow my blog, you know how much I love mentor text lessons. Throughout my site, you’ll find many posts about mentor texts for both comprehension and writing. I also think mentor texts can spark conversations that help with social emotional issues too. If you’re having trouble with disrespect for example, there are great books that can be chosen to provide positive examples. Here are just a few discussion questions for Last Stop on Market Street:

  • Why do you think CJ feels the way he does about not having a car? How does his Nana help him see things differently?
  • Discuss the various characters CJ and Nana encounter during their bus ride. How do they show kindness and community spirit? What can we learn from their actions?
  • In the book, CJ and Nana volunteer at a soup kitchen. How do you think this experience affects CJ’s understanding of others?

Showing Gratitude in the classroom

Another idea using Last Stop on Market Street is to choose a week to focus on gratitude. I just added a Gratitude Journal option to this book companion. It includes a cover and three 1/2 page writing prompts for students to write just one paragraph about something they are grateful for each day and a space to illustrate. It’s a simple project, but I think pausing to reflect is good for them too. You can refer back to the book for examples of CJ and Nana’s gratitude (trees, the bus, the folks they meet, and what they gain by helping others).

Classroom Community Projects

Finally, in Last Stop on Market Street, CJ and Nana work in a soup kitchen to help those in the community. There are a plethora of ways kids can help in the community and beyond. As a group, you might brainstorm ways that you as a classroom community can show kindness in the broader community. You might collect canned goods, art supplies, gently used books, or self care items others may need and donate them. You could even take a fieldtrip to a soup kitchen and volunteer. Giving to the community feels good, and the kids gain much more from this giving.

Having empathy for others certainly goes with our Thanksgiving posts. There are so many situations happening in our communities where showing empathy makes a huge difference. We can offer a helping hand with disaster clean ups, make cards for our service men and women, collect donations for projects in need, and show empathy right in our classrooms by supporting each other.


Interested in done for you activities to use with this great book? The resource I created to go with this book can be purchased HERE on Teachers Pay Teachers or through the direct link to my website shop below. Be sure to check for a coupon using the pop up in the bottom left corner.

other social emotional book companions you might like:

If you are looking for other SEL Book Companions, you can check out what I have available HERE if one of the units below aren’t a good match.

Thanks so much for all you do every single day for your students and their families. I very much appreciate your hard work, hope that these resources are load of fun for your students, and that they lighten your load in the coming weeks and months. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday with those you love most!

Carla with Comprehension Connection
Last Stop on Market Street teaches about empathy and gratitude. This post explains teaching ideas to go with the book.

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Carla is a licensed reading specialist with 27 years of experience in the regular classroom (grades 1, 4, and 5), in Title 1 reading, as a tech specialists, and a literacy coach. She has a passion for literacy instruction and meeting the needs of the individual learner.

This Post Has 33 Comments

  1. Andrea

    I’m thankful for so many wonderful memories I get to make with friends and family!

  2. Brenda

    I am thankful for my family and friends!

  3. Cindy

    Thankful for family and friends!

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    I am thankful for the time I can spend with my family and friends as well as my wonderful students and co teachers.

  5. Amanda

    I am thankful for my wonderful & beautiful daughter who I get to homeschool & be her teacher. And for my wonderful husband who allows me to be able to do that. And thankful to all the wonderful teachers on here for all your time & resources.

  6. Sam

    I am thankful for my husband and children. They have shown me love and taught me to be better. They kept pushing me to work until I found a teaching position that fits our life best and makes me happy.

  7. Mary Anna

    I am thankful that God provides and loves me despite my shortcomings.

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    I am thankful for my husband and my family!

  10. Tonya Zinter

    I’m thankful for family including my teacher family.

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    I am thankful for a trip to Oregon.

  12. Terry

    I am thankful for my faith and hope in a God that knows all.

  13. Jessica

    I am most thankful for my family who supports me in my career.

  14. Kelly

    I am thankful for my family and friends.

  15. Theresa Simoneaux

    I am so very thankful for health insurance that has “come in clutch” as the kids say. After a year of health issues for both my husband and me, we would have been financially ruined without insurance.
    Of course I’m thankful for my family, my home, my friends, my job, and the opportunity to see another Thanksgiving season.

  16. Alexa

    So thankful for my beautiful family!

  17. Catherine Sparks

    I am so thankful for my family, pets, and friends!

  18. BeBe

    I’m most thankful for faith, family and friends.

  19. Jaclyn

    I am thankful for my family, health, friends and faith. I am grateful to be teaching face to face with my students this year.

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    I am thankful for faith, family, friends and my teaching opportunity each day to make a difference…….even after 34 years…………… I love it!!! Grateful!!!

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    I am thankful for my new grandbaby that is due in March.

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    I am so thankful for a wonderful group of 3rd graders, amazingly awesome coworkers, and a loving, supportive family.

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    So THANKFUL for the blessings of family, friends, and a community to go to everyday that others might call work.

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    I am thankful for an amazing and supportive family!

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    I am very thankful for family, friends, and living in a country where we are free!

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    I am thankful for my husband who always supports my teaching endeavors.

  30. Michelle

    I am thankful for so many things, but if we’re talking school-related, then I’m thankful for the best team of teachers I’ve ever had.

  31. Jennifer

    I am thankful so many things. I am especially thankful for the resources on Teachers Pay Teachers. They are well made and make teaching more manageable.

  32. Kamala

    I am thankful for my parents.

  33. Jena

    I am thankful for my family (who continue to support me in my teaching journey).

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