Review of Perkins’s Between Us & Abuela

Review of Mitali Perkins’s Between Us and Abuela: A Family Story from the Border (ages 3 – 6)

& Our Book Guide with Supplemental Activities and Resources

In Between Us and Abuela: A Family Story from the Border (Farrar Straus Giroux, 2019) , María, a young, clever and quick-witted girl from Southern California, narrates her family’s story about celebrating Las Posadas at the annual La Posada Sin Fronteras celebration that occurs at the aptly named Friendship Park, which is along the border between Tijuana, MX and San Diego, CA. Prior to this celebration, María introduces us to her younger brother, Juan, and her Mamá, Sylvia. María explains that sadly she hasn’t seen her Abuela in five years; however, both María and Juan are elated that they will see their Abuela (albeit through the fences along the border) and thus are busy making final touches to their homemade presents for their Abuela.

After a long bus journey and waiting in line for their turn, María, Juan, and Mamá finally get their chance to see and talk with their beloved Abuela who stands on the other side of the border, in Mexico. Their time spent together goes by quickly as they sing Las Posadas, pass hugs and kisses through the fences, and catch up on other family members that live on either side of the border. At the end of their time together, María tries to pass the scarf that she and Mamá have made for Abuela through the fence when she is stopped by Border Patrol Agents that explain that it is forbidden to pass things through the fence. However, this inspires crafty María to find a different way to ensure that Abuela can receive her Christmas gifts without disobeying the Border Patrol’s rules.

Author: Mitali Perkins; Illustrations by: Sara Palacios; Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux (2019)

Check out our full book review and educator guide on Between Us and Abuela here.

Have you read this heartwarming story? Share your thoughts below! How do you plan to celebrate Las Posadas this year?

Join us! LAII K-12 Afro-Latinidad Workshop Series

Join the LAII for the first installment in the Institute’s first-ever teacher workshop series on Afro-Latinidad! Throughout the series, we’ll discuss a variety of Afro-Latinx cultures across Latin America, a range of spiritual and cultural Afro-Latinx traditions, and a diverse selection of historical Afro-Latinx figures.

We’ll spend our first workshop discussing resources for curriculum about the Afro-Latinx traditions of Bomba (Puerto Rico), Santeria (Cuba), and Carnaval (Brazil). Lessons will include reading, video, music, and podcast components and will include content in both English and Spanish. Participants will receive certificates of professional development and curriculum resources.

Register for tomorrow’s workshop at: https://unm.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJUudumvqTssHtNJjUUiJpPW-leXCKp8TH5s

All three workshops will complement one another but can also stand alone so please join us for as many as you can!

Workshop Schedule:

Afro-Latinx Cultural Traditions
Friday, October 23 • 3:30 PM
Register at: bit.ly/3iCmKT0

Significant Afro-Latinx Figures
Friday, December 4 • 3:30 PM
Register at: bit.ly/34qfLHQ

Zooming in on Afro-Latinx Culture in Mexico
Friday, February 5 • 3:30 PM
Register at: bit.ly/3cZ8GSx

For more information or questions, contact us at laiioutreach@unm.edu.

LAII K-12 Educator Newsletter: October


Happy fall, educators! We hope it’s been a great start to a new season for you and your students under these unusual circumstances. In our October newsletter, we share ideas and prepared lesson plans to help incorporate Hispanic and Latinx themes into your learners’ studies this month. ¡Disfrútalo! 

Join Us!: LAII K-12 Afro-Latinidad
Teacher Workshop Series

Join the LAII for the Institute’s first-ever teacher workshop series on Afro-Latinidad! Throughout the series, we’ll discuss a variety of Afro-Latinx cultures across Latin America, a range of spiritual and cultural Afro-Latinx traditions, and a diverse selection of historical Afro-Latinx figures. All three workshops will complement one another but can also stand alone so please join us for as many as you can!

Workshop Schedule:

Afro-Latinx Cultural Traditions
Friday, October 23 • 3:30 PM
Register at: bit.ly/3iCmKT0

Significant Afro-Latinx Figures
Friday, December 4 • 3:30 PM
Register at: bit.ly/34qfLHQ

Zooming in on Afro-Latinx Culture in Mexico
Friday, February 5 • 3:30 PM
Register at: bit.ly/3cZ8GSx

For more information or questions, contact us at laiioutreach@unm.edu.

Current Events

October 12 – Indigenous People’s Day

Indigenous Peoples’ Day is a holiday that celebrates and honors indigenous peoples and commemorates their histories and cultures. This activity guide about Indigenous Peoples’ Day for high school students includes an article from the Smithsonian paired with in-depth questions to assess comprehension. Following is an interactive vocabulary exercise based on the Smithsonian article and another article about Indigenous Peoples’ Day. The second article from NPR gives students another perspective on the holiday and asks them to consider the two articles to complete an opinion writing activity. 

Download the Indigenous People’s Day Activity Guide


November 1 & 2 – Día de los Muertos

Día de los Muertos is a day of commemoration – an opportunity for individuals to come together to focus on their loved ones who have passed away, and to honor, revere, and celebrate their memory. Far from the somber tones of many Western European or North American funeral services, Día de los Muertos is a time of celebration. It is believed that upon these two nights of the year the deceased may return and visit with the living.  In partnership with the National Hispanic Cultural Center, the LAII developed a curriculum guide to provide hands-on art activities and literacy exercises to bring Día de los Muertos to the classroom.

Download the Dia de los Muertos Activity Guide


November 11 – Veterans Day

Veterans Day is a federal holiday to honor those who have served in the United States Armed Forces. Did you know Hispanics and Latinos make up the second largest minority group that serves as active-duty military? This activity guide for middle school students includes an article about Sergeant Leroy Arthur Petry, who received the medal of honored followed by comprehension questions. Students will then watch the medal of honor ceremony paying close attention to extra details the article did not offer. A class discussion follows and, lastly an at home research activity where students learn about a Latino veteran and then share their findings with classmates. 

Download the Veterans Day Activity Guide

LAII Educator Newsletter: September 2020

We hope that the 2020-21 school year is off to a great start. In this newsletter, we share ideas and prepared lesson plans to help incorporate Hispanic and Latinx themes into your learners’ studies this month in addition to other helpful ideas for teaching during the pandemic. ¡Disfrútalo! 
In the month’s newsletter:· Hispanic Heritage Month Activities, Vamos a Leer Educator Guide: The Surrender Tree by Margarita Engle (in English and Spanish), Tech Spotlight: Google Meet, Current Event Activities

SEPTEMBER NEWSLETTER (ENGLISH)
SEPTEMBER NEWSLETTER (SPANISH)

We also invite you to join our newly created LAII Educator Community Google Classroom for educators and parents to share how these tips worked for you and any other ideas you’ve come up with!

Colombia’s Virtual Cultural Box

During this time of Quarantine and of staying at home to work and study, in collaboration with our graduate student assistants, we have built a package of activities that are related to Colombia and its culture and geography. In this package we want to share with you activities that go from Kindergarten up to 12 grade.

As some of you know, we at the LAII department of the University of New Mexico have some Cultural Boxes with materials that you can use in class to teach the culture and traditions of the different countries of South and Central America. Today we are going to present Colombia’s Virtual Cultural Box, a didactic resource full of guides, activities, videos and knowledge about Colombia. This Virtual Cultural Box comes with a teaching guide, where teachers can find other resources and instructions on how to use the different activities from the Cultural Box.

We are happy to share with all of you this new package of guides that are part of the Viajamos a… project and the My Passport activities.

Single Activities:

Guide: America, a continent with two seasons.

Guide: Speaking more than two languages.

Guide: Viajamos a Colombia

Guide: Colombia’s Native Customs and Languages.

My Passport Template.

Cultural Box

Colombia Virtual Cultural Box

Colombia Virtual Cultural Box, Teaching Guide.

Enjoy it!

Commemorating The Earth’s Day

This 2020 has been a very different year from what we imagined it would be like. It has been a year in which it has allowed us to enjoy more of the coexistence with our families and has led us to live a unique experience in life. The commemoration of Earth Day takes place on April 22 of each year and is celebrated in honor of the resources, places and raw materials that the earth offers us.

That is why in Vamos a Leer, we have decided to make some guides that as a teacher will allow you to explore, learn and teach about natural resources and the importance of Earth Day from Colombia.

These guides are part of My Passport activities and have been designed incorporating activities aligned with the following Common Core Standards.

We hope that you enjoy and use the guides that we made for you.

Guide: America, a continent with two seasons.

Guide: Speaking more than two languages.

Guide: Colombia’s Native Customs and Languages

My Passport Activities.

Ilustración 108868891 © Makc76 – Dreamstime.com

My Passport is a project we are working on that is part of Viajamos A… of our website, which will have activities from countries like Ecuador, Colombia, Peru, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Mexico.

The principal idea of My Passport is to build a curriculum that helps teachers and students to travel through South and Central America without leaving the classroom. While engaging in the activities, students and teachers will learn new concepts, cultures and places.

In My Passport you will find a variety of activities and resources to teach, learn and travel to South and Central America. The different resources of My passport have been designed incorporating activities aligned with the following Common Core Standards, and are divided in:

Cultural Virtual Boxes.
Teaching Guide Cultural Virtual Boxes.
Single guides.

My Passport Template.

We hope that you can enjoy, use and learn from these different guides and materials that we have created for you.

Book Group Recap: Juana & Lucas

Book Group Recap: Juana & Lucas

¡Saludos a tod@s! We hope everyone is hanging in and doing well in this crazy time.

This month’s *virtual* book group discussed Juana & Lucas (grades k-3; lexile 870L) by Juana Medina. This heartwarming story takes place in the magical city of Bogotá, Colombia and mimics a Junie B. Jones or Judy Moody -esque style. The story focuses on Juana, who struggles with seeing a value in learning English as a second language. In addition to this dilemma, Juana also faces social and academic challenges as the new school year begins; however, fortunately for Juana, she has a superb support team that includes Lucas (her loyal perrito), Juli (her best friend), Mami and her abuelos.

The main themes that we identified in this fun read were: friendship, the importance of language learning, and expressing emotions. Despite the challenges that Juana faces throughout the text, her relationships with Lucas and Juli are admirable and help readers to cherish the important relationships in their own lives. One of Juana’s most prominent struggles is mastering the strange sounds that make up the English language, which leads Juana to wonder whether it is even important to learn another language. These struggles are very relatable for language learners of all ages! They also provide the opportunity to reflect upon why it is so important to learn another language. Like many kids her age, Juana experiences many feelings that vary from the disappointment she feels with her struggles to the excitement Juana experiences on her way to Astroland. Juana expresses her emotions in English and Spanish, which can serve as an example for learners and speakers of both languages. Check out the guide we created for ideas on how to promote language learning to your little readers, click here!

If you enjoyed this read, check out Medina’s sequel: Juana & Lucas: Big Problemas!

¡Feliz mes de la historia de la mujer!

¡Feliz mes de la historia de la mujer!

Women’s History Month is here! Which inspiring women are you teaching your students about this month? Share their names in the comments below!

When it comes to women from Latin America and Latinas from the U.S., there is a long list of mujeres poderosas from which to choose. Here I will spotlight a few Latinas who have paved the way for future generations interested in STEM.

First, we have Mirna Roman; she the tica (costariqueña) who was the first Indigenous doctor in Costa Rica. This trailblazer is from the Ngäbe community and became inspired to practice medicine by watching her mom treat her siblings. We’ve created a STEM guide in Spanish that includes interviews of Roman and a reflective follow-up activity. Click here to access it!

Next up, we have Ellen Ochoa. Did you know that in addition to being the first Hispanic astronaut Ochoa has also made and patented 3 inventions? Our lesson plan on Ochoa is in English and perfect for grades 3-6; it includes two interviews of Ochoa in which she reflects upon her achievements and goals for future generations. Click here to check it out!

Last, but certainty not least, is Nicole Hernandez Hammer. Hernandez Hammer is a climate scientist, who spent her early childhood in rural Guatemala and is currently based in Florida where she works with communities who are most afflicted by climate change. Our STEM guide on Hernandez Hammer is in English and features an interview of this advocate in addition to a news article that addresses the impacts of climate change in Florida. Click here to learn more about this current issue!

Here’s to mujeres poderosas everywhere!
May we know them.
May we be them.
May we raise them.

Is there another Latina in STEM that you want to see featured in one of our STEM guides? Drop her name in a comment below!

Book Group Recap: Under the Mesquite by Guadalupe Garcia McCall

¡Feliz (casi) primavera, lectores y educadores!

This month, we discussed Guadalupe Garcia McCall’s Under the Mesquite (Grades 7-12; Lexile 990L) at our book group. This is a very heartwarming read about Lupita, a high schooler who experiences and overcomes challenges both at home with her family and at school with her peers. Lupita’s experiences and challenges are very relatable to readers of all ages. Click here to view our book guide. For extended notes on Under the Mesquite, check out our previous post about it by clicking here.

McCall begins Under the Mesquite with a definition of the mesquite tree that attests to its strength and resilience to endure harsh climates and its adaptability. It becomes clear from the beginning of the text that this resilient tree symbolizes this key theme that we see as Lupita is put in tough situations and valiantly overcomes these challenges.

Consider creating a memory box as a way to extend Under the Mesquite with your class! As Lupita grows and faces different difficulties in her life, she journals her memories of her mother, family, friends and cities in her blue book. Her interest in saving the memories of loved ones allows her to write stories that will revive the moments. It is from the desire of keeping the memories of her loved ones that the activity of memory box is thought. Students will put a drawing, an object, a photograph, a note and other things in a box that keeps the memories of their loved ones, places or moments of their lives. And finally, they will keep this box in their classroom as a door that will lead them to the memories.

Join us next month! On April 9th, we will meet at Ponderosa Brewing (1761 Bellamah Ave NW) to discuss Juana and Lucas by: Juana Medina. (Grades 2-4)