Teaching for Change incorporates social justice into its lesson plans so that students gain the “the skills, knowledge and inspiration to be citizens and architects of a better world.” I’m thrilled to learn that this organization has launched a campaign to support teaching about Central America. The campaign features a collection of lessons, quizzes, book lists, biographies of historical figures, slideshows, and readings dedicated to the study of Central America. Check out some of the available units:
- Wilfredo: Un Niño de El Salvador (elementary school) – This lesson plan is available for free in both English and Spanish and revolves around Wilfredo’s story. Wilfredo is a twelve-year-old El Salvadoran national who immigrated to the United States at the age of ten. With a family divided across two countries, Wilfredo embarks on a new life in California. The lesson plan features historical background on the popular movement and brutal El Salvadoran civil war which created a generation of Salvadoran refugees in the U.S. (many of whom suffer PTSD from their exposure to violence, and some of whom have since been deported back to El Salvador). Activities in this unit use Wilfredo’s story to explore class hierarchies of peasant families, tenant farmers, and plantation owners; promote understanding of Central American geography; and teach students to add and subtract using the Mayan numbering system.
- Rediscovering America (all levels) – This lesson plan explores colonial structures and race and resistance through the writings of Otto René Castillo, Manilo Argueta, and Rubén Darío. While the entire packet is available for sale (20 copies for $20), some of the materials are free online.
- Inside the Volcano: A Curriculum on Nicaragua (middle/high school) – This unit features seven free lesson plans on pre and post-revolutionary Nicaragua. Lesson plans address land distribution, U.S. foreign policy, revolutionary decisionmaking, and youth roles in promoting literacy, workers’ rights, and other just social conditions. There is one caveat. This unit is inexplicably incomplete. Some pages of the unit are left blank and I can find no way to order or otherwise locate the materials in their entirety. Nonetheless, the available portions are fascinating.
I recommend accessing the Teaching for Change website through its home page and exploring the wealth of materials available for your grade level. If nothing else, these materials can be incorporated into your broad discussion of Latino/Hispanic Heritage Month.
Have a good weekend,