WWW: Ocean in a Saucer

Laura Resau's Office - image from the Ocean in a Saucer blog.

Laura Resau’s Office – image from the Ocean in a Saucer blog.

For my next few blog posts, I decided to feature other, unique blogs dedicated to Latin American young adult literature. Laura Resau’s blog is called Ocean in a Saucer because writing novels, to Resau, feels like “trying to fit a raging, deep, sparkling, infinite thing like the ocean” into a saucer.

In case it wasn’t obvious from this imaginative quote, Resau is an extremely thoughtful, interesting person. Her background is in cultural anthropology and ESL-teaching. She has lived and traveled in Latin America and Europe, which has inspired her books. She has taught English in the Mixtec region of Oaxaca, and she donates royalties to indigenous rights organizations in Latin America.

This blog is just cool. I visited looking for lesson plans and was quickly sidetracked by the apparently awesome life of a writer. Resau has been typing out her masterpieces in a whimsical trailer/writer’s pad (complete with butterflies, bells, trapeze outfits, and an altar with the Virgin of Juquila), visiting amazing places like Portugal, and meeting (and no doubt, inspiring) the students that read her books. Continue reading

WWW: Mexican Revolution – The Storm that Swept Mexico

ZapataOur outreach team recently partnered with Instituto Cervantes of Albuquerque, the Mexican Consulate of Albuquerque, the Spanish Resource Center of Albuquerque, and the National Hispanic Cultural Center to put together a workshop for teachers, discussing how to incorporate the Mexican Revolution into middle and high school classrooms.

Frankly, I had no idea how difficult it is to learn about this cataclysmic event in Mexican history.

Plainly, the Revolution meant—and continues to mean—different things to different people. Diverse groups with contradictory goals were involved in the fight against Porfirio Díaz. Those who took up arms were farmers, miners, professionals, artisans, businessmen, and career soldiers. Some clung tightly to abstract principles such as “liberty,” while others demanded labor protections or the immediate restoration of indigenous lands. Some sought only to rid the community of the local hacendado, while others reacted in principle against three decades of Díaz’s ironclad rule. Folks routinely traversed armies or switched sides altogether. Alliances formed and fragmented. With few exceptions, the leaders of the Revolution were assassinated or exiled by political opponents.  Continue reading

WWW: Primary Documents at The Mesolore Project

I wonder if students who are taught history exclusively by reading history textbooks ever learn to be historians.

With that in mind, The Mesolore Project is a bilingual, primary document resource for scholars and students of Mesoamerica. Its developers, Liza Bakewell and Byron Hamann have structured the Project to “focus on the value of consulting primary documents at any age.” Mesolore features three sixteenth-century interactive documents from Central Mexico and three from the Mixtec area of Oaxaca. Continue reading

WWW: Teaching for Change: Put Central America on the Map in Schools!

TFC LogoTeaching 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: Continue reading