WWW: Latin American Art in the White-Walled Galleries of Google Museums

Alexis Leyva MachadoIn the past, we have seen that corporate wealth and a love for the arts and antiquities have come together to establish some of our most preeminent cultural institutions.  We can look at the Rockefellers and the Museum of Modern Art, J.P. Morgan and the Museum of Metropolitan Art, the Guggenheims, Carnegie Hall, and the list goes on.  But we could also look all the way back to the Babylonian Princess Ennigaldi-Nanna, who in the 6th century B.C. established a museum of artifacts in order to promote the cultural heritage of her wealthy and powerful empire.  The rise of wealth and power is often coupled with the desire to collect and promote the cultural artifacts of its past.  Therefore, it is no surprise that the internet giant Google has created the Google Cultural Institute, a digital collection of pristine visuals from the interiors of the world’s most celebrated museum galleries and exhibitions.  It truly is a world tour through art from the seat of your chair, and part of its Art Project takes us to the incredible Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA) in Los Angeles.

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En la Clase: Tamales, Poinsettias, and Navidad

As I was researching books and materials for our last two En la Clase posts on Las Posadas, I came across some other really beautiful books and fun activities that are perfect for December.  These just may help you get through these last couple of weeks of school before winter break!

Too many tamalesOne of my favorite children’s books for this time of year is Gary Soto’s Too Many Tamales. In the story, the main character Maria is helping her mother prepare the tamales for Christmas dinner.  She decides to try on her mother’s diamond ring.  She only meant to wear it for a minute, but suddenly the ring was gone, and Maria and her siblings are left with 24 tamales that just might contain the missing ring.  It’s a fun story that my students always enjoyed.  It’s the perfect book to lead into a discussion about all the different foods that are part of students’ winter holiday celebrations.  Lots of times they are surprised to find out how different their classmates’ celebrations are from their own.  There are lots of different lesson plans out there for Too Many Tamales.  Here are a few that I found:

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En la Clase: More Resources for Teaching Las Posadas

LuminariasLast week’s En la Clase shared a number of children’s books and ideas for how to teach about Las Posadas.  There were so many resources that I just couldn’t fit them all into one post, so today I’m sharing some other online resources and art activities that you can use to complement any of last week’s literature. Continue reading

En la Clase: Conjuring Poetry and Ofrendas

SBMA Dia de los MuertosContinuing with this month’s theme of teaching about Día de los Muertos, in today’s En la Clase I’m going to share one of my favorite poetry writing activities from our Día de los Muertos teaching guide: Calaveras and Conjuring with Words.  If you’re planning on having your students make a classroom ofrenda or individual mini-shrines this is the perfect activity to pair with that.  This activity was produced by the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, and they very kindly let us reprint it in our guide.  They have excellent K-6 and Middle/High School lesson plans available for free on their website.  It’s definitely a site that I recommend you spend some time with. Continue reading

WWW: Teaching Día de los Muertos through Animated Film

Book of life picIt seems that with each passing year, we find it more and more common to see students learning about Día de los Muertos in their classrooms and communities.  A testament to the growing popularity and influence of Dia de los Muertos in U.S. culture and education is this year’s acclaimed animated film “Book of Life”, produced by Guillermo del Toro.  Día de los Muertos serves as the backdrop for the entire story, which follows a young man as he journeys through adolescence, facing his fears, learning how to celebrate the past while still looking forward. Continue reading

WWW: Fascinating & Educational Artwork – “Mesoamérica Resiste”

Mesoamérica ResisteThe Beehive Design Collective is a group of artists that voluntarily creates artwork dedicated to “cross-pollinating the grassroots” for use as educational and organizing tools. The graphics are created anonymously and can be used by anyone.

Beehive has released an epic trilogy of artwork exploring globalization and colonialism in the Americas. The third and final installment, released this fall, is truly magnificent. For nine years, Beehive artists worked on this intricately detailed, double-sided folding poster, illustrating stories of resistance. Titled “Mesoamérica Resiste,” the massive map drawn in old colonial style opens to reveal “the view from below, where communities are organizing locally and across borders to defend land and traditions, protect cultural and ecological diversity, and build alternative economies.”  Continue reading

En la Clase: Día de los Muertos, Sugar Skulls & Acrostic Poetry

IMG_3829It’s that time of year again! Día de los Muertos is a month away, so for the next couple of weeks we’ll be sharing various resources to help you teach about this cultural celebration in your classrooms.

Last week we had a wonderful professional development workshop on “Día de los Muertos: Skeletons & Cultural Literacy.”  I thought I’d share a few of the activities we talked about that night and how you could turn them in to a mini-unit including Acrostic Poetry and Sugar Skulls.  You can also access our entire guide on teaching about Día de los Muertos here.  It includes background information and reading, lesson plans, an annotated bibliography divided by grade levels, and a glossary.

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