WWW: The Annenberg Learning Center

Flickr user Wonderlane used under Creative Commons License

Flickr user Wonderlane used under Creative Commons License

Today I want to highlight The Annenberg Learning Center, part of the Annenberg Foundation which encourages, “the development of more effective ways to share ideas and knowledge.” Wrapping up our weeks on Black History Month and Civil Rights, The Annenberg Learning Center offers a perfect segue into Race in YA Literature, our topic for the coming weeks. Continue reading


WWW: Civil Rights through the Afro-Latino Experience

Monument to Joe

Monument to Joe. Photo provided courtesy of Flickr user James Marvin Phelps.

Civil Rights studies, within the context of Black History Month, give us a great opportunity to expand our umbrella of understanding in order to encompass  other groups that experience racism, discrimination and prejudice. In addition, deepening our understanding of the ties that bind us together in our struggles can help all of us recognize that fighting against injustice does not have to be an extraordinary act, rather, our students can recognize that fighting for what is right is ingrained in all of us and can be taken up from small acts to significant feats. Today, my suggestion for teaching that lesson is to study the history, culture, society, struggle and successes of African diasporas in Latin America and the Caribbean. Continue reading

¡Mira Look!: Marcelo in the Real World

There are multiple ways that we, as complex and intricate humans, experience feelings of prejudice, discrimination and the lonely sphere of being “the other”. On this blog, we mostly focus on the ways in which students may feel excluded based on their ethnicity, history or language skills. But we cannot forget that the layers of exclusion come together to reinforce each other (a term academics identify as “intersectionality,” as coined by Kim Crenshaw). For example, your gender identity, ethnicity, socio-economic status, language ability, etc. all interact and can define the framework of exclusion in which you operate. As teachers, librarians, parents and socially conscious citizens, we need to be aware of these frameworks, how to identify them and how we can help out a student that may be subjected to taunts, teases and exclusions on more than one ground. What better way to do that than literature!? On today’s ¡Mira Look! post, I want to highlight one of these intersectionalities: special needs and ethnicity.

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En la Clase: American Indian Month and Rethinking Thanksgiving

The Fallen | Photo by David Nutter

Thanksgiving is just around the corner.  As a holiday typically celebrated only in the United States, initially I had no plans to write about it for Vamos a Leer.   But the longer I thought about it, the more I came to believe it was an important topic, one we should comment on at Vamos a Leer, regardless of the amount of explicit Latin American content.  It certainly relates to issues surrounding how we deal with conquest and colonization, multicultural education, and cultural representations—all topics that we have discussed in various blog posts.

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¡Mira Look!: Parrot in the Oven: Mi Vida

Perico, or parrot, was what my Dad called me sometimes. It was from a Mexican saying about a parrot that complains about how hot it is in the shade, while all along he’s sitting inside an oven. People usually say this when talking about ignorant people who don’t know where they’re at in the world.”

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WWW: Breaking the Silence, Race in Young Adult Literature: Ideas for How to Discuss.

Even for adults, the topic of race can be a difficult one. Fear of saying the wrong thing, asking the wrong question or feeling ignorant can stop the conversation before it starts. Add young adults to the mix and it can seem an insurmountable problem. That is not however, the case. Today’s WWW post is designed to give you some concrete ideas on how to use literature to discuss stereotypes and race in an intriguing, respectful and productive way.

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En la Clase: Rethinking Columbus and the Anti-Stereotype Curriculum

This is the second post in our En la Clase series on Rethinking Columbus.  While many of us may agree that it is a fruitful and important exercise to encourage our students to re-evaluate the traditional history of Columbus’ exploration, it’s not always easy to know where to start. Embarking on an investigation into what really happened in the conquest of the Caribbean after 1492, can often challenge not only the history we’ve learned from textbooks, but also many stereotypes that accompany that particular view of history.  Given this, Bob Peterson’s Anti-Stereotype Curriculum might be the best place to begin a study like this.

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