En la Clase: Black Indians, Sugar and Slavery

As Ailesha wrote in her last World Wide Web post, over the next few weeks we’ll be writing on different ways to teach about Black History Month through a Latino lens.  Often times classroom lessons in January and February focus on U.S. history topics like slavery, the Civil War, and the Civil Rights Movement.  Yet, there’s actually an incredibly rich history of African resistance in Latin America, which is typically overlooked in our standard curriculum.  The following highlights some great resources to use to teach about this topic.  Many of these resources come from the teacher resource book Rethinking Columbus: The Next 500 Years.  I know I’ve mentioned this book in a number of previous posts.   Continue reading

En la Clase: Using the novel Morning Girl in the classroom

Morning GirlAs many of you may already know, our featured novel for January is Hurricane Dancers: The First Caribbean Pirate Shipwreck by Margarita Engle.  If the novel is new to you, be sure to check out our Book Review and Educator’s Guide.  In discussing the book through comments here on the blog and our book group meeting, a common theme continues to arise: Hurricane Dancers is a great way to teach an alternative point of view to the commonly presented ‘discovery’ of the Americas.  Sadly, there aren’t many great children’s or young adult books out there that do this.  So, for today’s En la Clase post, I thought I’d share another book that also provides an alternative narrative to the discovery story: Michael Dorris’ Morning Girl. Below, I’ve included a  link to the pdf of our Educator’s Guide on Morning Girl–just scroll to the end of the post. Continue reading

Book Review: Hurricane Dancers: The First Caribbean Pirate Shipwreck

Margarita Engle’s Hurricane Dancers: The First Caribbean Pirate Shipwreck is a beautifully written novel in verse, similar in many ways to her earlier book The Surrender Tree (click here for our review).  Here again, Engle brings to life a lesser known period of Caribbean history through three distinct but intertwined stories: that of Quebrado; Naridó Hurricane 3and Caucubú; and Ojeda and Talavera.  While many of us are familiar with the history of Christopher Columbus, other stories of the conquest and colonization of the Americas are often overlooked.  This book offers part of that missing perspective. Continue reading

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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Quick Bit: More resources on Latino Heritage Month and Rethinking Columbus

I just came across these resources and wanted to share them here, as both seem to be popular topics among our readers.

Latino Heritage Month and Hispanic Heritage Month Resource: The Zinn Education Project just recently wrote about one of our own Vamos a Leer featured authors: Margarita Engle.  They highlighted her book: Tropical Secrets: Holocaust Refugees in Cuba. They write, “This book of historical fiction by Margarita Engle for ages 10+ tells the story of refugee ships from Germany during WWII, turned away from the U.S. and Canada, that sailed on to Cuba. Despite an intense anti-Semitic propaganda campaign waged by German government agents in Cuba, and the fact that the island of Cuba was much smaller and poorer, Cuba took in 65,000 refugees. This is the same number as were taken in by the U.S.”  Their facebook page also lists a number of upcoming events in D.C. related to Latino literature, including the Americas Book Award on October 5th where you can meet Engle.

Rethinking Columbus Resource: Rethinking Schools editor Bill Bigelow recently wrote an interesting article for GOOD magazine.  Not only does he make a great argument for the need to Rethink Columbus, but also links the same ideological issues surrounding our teaching of Columbus to the recent attacks on Tucson’s Mexican-American Studies Program.  Check out Bigelow’s latest “If We Knew Our History” column for the Zinn Education Project at http://www.good.is/posts/our-lies-about-columbus-are-at-the-root-of-arizona-s-mexican-american-studies-ban.


En la Clase: Rethinking Columbus with Mind Maps and Venn Diagrams

In our last En la Clase post, I wrote about how I’ve used a GLAD strategy called Pictorial Input Charts to teach content knowledge to my students.  In this post, I’m going to share another GLAD strategy that builds on the Pictorial Input Chart: the Mind Map.  I’d never heard of a Mind Map until I participated in an introductory workshop on GLAD.  I was curious about how my students would respond to it, so I implemented it right away.  I have to admit, I was a little surprised at how much they liked it.  I used it numerous times throughout the year, often because they’d ask to do it.  To help you visualize the activity, I’ve included a blank version of a Mind Map below.

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Local Event!! Rethinking Columbus: The Colonization of the Americas

For all of our local New Mexico Readers:

We are very excited to announce our first LAII k-12 Teacher workshop of the year “Rethinking Columbus: The Colonization of the Americas.”  The workshop will be held on Wednesday October 3rd from 5:00-8:00 pm.  We are very fortunate to have two guest speakers–Dr. Glenabah Martínez, LLSS, UNM professor,  and Natalie Martínez, Principle, Laguna Middle School.  We will be looking at the history of colonization in the Americas, and the ongoing struggle on the part of Indigenous peoples of the region to maintain the integrity of cultural life, pre-Christian religious traditions and ceremonies, and political sovereignty.  We will be focusing on both a new curriculum developed through the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center and the Rethinking Schools Publication Rethinking Columbus: The Next 500 Years.  I’ve linked to a pdf of our flyer below.  Feel free to share this information with anyone else who may be interested.

The first 20 teachers to register will receive a free copy of Rethinking Columbus!! Dinner will be provided.

If you have any questions or to register, email Keira at kphilipp@unm.edu

Click Here for a pdf version of our flyer.

Rethinking Columbus, Professional Development, Education

En la Clase: Rethinking Columbus Using Pictorial Input Charts

Pictorial Input Charts are another activity adapted from GLAD teaching strategies (click here to be taken to the Project GLAD website).  For more information on GLAD strategies there is a great free resource book in pdf format available here.  I’ve had great success using these.  I’ve found it a much more engaging and interesting way to present information to my students.

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En la Clase: Columbus and Exploration ~ An Introduction

Often times it can be difficult to find a way to introduce a thematic unit, like one on Columbus, in a way that is new and exciting.  More than likely, your students have learned about Columbus and exploration in previous years, so many may be tempted to tune out the entire unit because they believe it’s nothing new.  The Observation and Inquiry Chart is an activity that I have used with great success in situations like this.  There are two versions of this activity, and both are adaptations of Guided Language Acquisition Design (GLAD) Strategies.  What’s great, is that they can be modified to work with almost any unit.

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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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