Archives For National Hispanic Heritage Month

After expanding their cross cultural knowledge base, my students were almost ready to face the paparazzi. (See this post for how they got there)

In other words, they were nearly ready to play the “Get to know a Hispanic Hero/Heroine bingo game” that I created for them. But first they needed to do a little more work to be an expert.

  • They re-read their mini-biographies and reviewed why their person was famous. They had already highlighted keywords in the paragraph to determine that as the main idea of the paragraph. ( In case you forgot, I found their age appropriate biographies at Scholastic’s site for Discovery History Makers.)
  • They then identified at least one fact about their Hispanic Hero/Heroine that they thought their classmates should know. I had already told them they were going to be “interviewed” by the paparazzi (their classmates).
  • Students then received “Get to know a Hispanic Hero/Heroine bingo game”. Click here for a downloadable version.

hispanicherobingo

  • Once they had found a teacher, or astronaut, etc., they asked the student the name of the Hispanic Hero/heroine that he or she was portraying and recorded it in the appropriate square.
  • They then interviewed the Hispanic Hero/Heroine and recorded the “interview”.
  • The goal was to get a bingo and be able to boast about how much they knew about as many Hispanic Heroes/Heroines as possible.

This week, students will take their paparazzi questions and turn them into “WHO WAS/IS clues” to scatter around the school. Each clue will say ask a third grader for the answer.

This way each child can take pride in the beginnings of their journey as they expand their cross-cultural knowledge and understanding of Hispanic Heroes/Heroines.

Obviously, this unit on learning about Latinos/as can be adapted to any group of individuals. I particularly like thinking about windows and mirrors and groups that aren’t often addressed in the mainstream curriculum. So feel free to adapt this idea for differently abled people, or Cambodian contributors, or whatever under-represented group that you feel passionate to share with the world.

Let me know how it goes.

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No matter your opinion on the Obamacare debate, there are unnatural causes of this country’s health crises that need fixing. So when the government shut down today,I felt compelled to take a hiatus from posting about Hispanic Heritage and instead share some startling statistics.

1)  Wealth equals Health

The single strongest predictor of your good health, is your position on the socioeconomic ladder. Your health is tied to your access to resources.  In other words, your zip code is the most powerful indicator of health!  Don’t believe me?  See how zip codes and class affects life expectancy in this map of Lousiville created by the filmmakers of the disturbing documentary, Unnatural Causes: Is inequality making us sick?

2) Inequity is bad for your Health

Fifty years ago, life expectancy in the U.S. ranked number one in the world. After the 1980’s widening of the economic gap, the U.S. ranks 29th. Today the top 1% own more than the combined ownership of the rest of the 90%. This makes us the most inequitable country.The U.S.  also has one of the worst health records.

3) More equity and longer lives for all

Countries like Sweden mitigate the difference between a family’s personal resources and equal access to the country’s resources. They make health care available to both the affluent and to those who work hard to make ends meet. Their citizens live longer and healthier lives than those in the U.S.

4)  Your neighborhood can change your life.

White neighborhoods have 4 times as many supermarkets and access to fruits and vegetables than Black and Latino areas. These communities are zoned in ways that there are more liquor stores and fast food franchises than the white neighborhoods. They also have higher rates of diabetes, obesity, and higher blood pressure.

5) There are lessons in the “Latino Paradox”

New Latino immigrants to the U.S. upon arrival have better health than most of the U.S. Population. However, after a mere five years of living in the U.S. their health declines. Within a generation they will be 50% more likely to develop high blood pressure and other health risk factors.

6) Sickness and in Wealth

People in the highest income groups can expect to live at least 61/2 years longer than those in the lowest income bracket. College graduates live five years loner than those who do not finish high school They also live two years more than those who have not finished college.

7) Sick Day or Pay Day

The United States is the only industrialized nation that doesn’t require employers to provide sick leave. 47% of private sector workers are faced with the choice of a sick day or a pay day. Which choice would you or do you make?

8) Third World Health is better

Many African Americans and Native Americans are less likely to reach the age of sixty-five than their counterpart in Bangladesh or Ghana.

9) It’s a tough ladder to climb

3 out of the 4 Americans who, in the 1980’s, started at the lowest rung of the income ladder, are still there.

What are you going to ask your doctor or politician today?

Watch the powerful documentary, Unnatural Causes: Is inequality making us sick? Or examine their comprehensive website to learn more about how class, immigration status, and where you live can change your health.

It’s embarrassing how little I know about Hispanic contributions. You can see below in my own answers to the question I posed earlier this week. (Click for the original post)

I attribute my ignorance to several things.

1)     I didn’t have a lot of Hispanic history or Latino literature taught to me in school.  Let me correct myself. I don’t remember any!

2)     I live in a part of the country where the Hispanic culture and heritage is not prevalent.

3)     I get news from sources that inherently can’t cover every story. So what one organization choses to include or not, shapes my understanding of current events.

4)     I view the world through a certain lens. My lens has been formed by my upbringing, my heritage, my education, my location, my circumstances, etc. So I filter information through that perspective.

All of these contributing factors often remain unconscious. Unless, I make an effort to find out what viewpoints I am missing, or who’s story I haven’t heard, I will continue to have a narrow and less rich connection with all those with whom I share this planet. And why would I want of that?

So I continue to find as many windows and mirrors as I can. I continue to seek out multiple stories and multiple perspectives. That helps me understand what it’s like to walk in someone else’s shoes while deepening my understanding of the world.

Maybe, one day I can also fill in such a list for all the wonderful different human experiences that exist.

Until then, here are my answers and my gaps. Follow the links to learn more about the individuals I named, or wait until next time when I’ll share who they are and what resources you can use with children.

Congress Women

Writer: Julia Alvarez

Picture Book Illustrator: David Díaz

Astronaut:

Nobel Prize Winner

Basketball Player

Union Leader: Cesar Chavez

Senator

Mayor

Governor

Actor

Singer/Musician: Jennifer Lopez

Community Organizer

United States Surgeon

Golfer

Artist: Frieda Kahlo

Baseball Player: Roberto Clemente

 

How much do you know? Can you name a Hispanic individual in any of  the following categories. But wait. Stop. This isn’t a test of your research skills. Can you do it without asking a friend? Without looking it up on the Internet? Without using your best research tool, aka, your local librarian?

No cheating now. See how many categories you can fill.

Congress Women

Writer

Picture Book Illustratorred-question-mark-circle-clip-art_428358

Astronaut

Nobel Prize Winner

Basketball Player

Union Leader

Senator

Mayor

Governor

Actor

Singer/Musician

Community Organizer

United States Surgeon

Golfer

Artist

Baseball Player

These are just a few to get you started. Do you notice any patterns? Do you think a child under 18 would have different answers? Why? Why not?

Do you have more general knowledge in one area than another? Why do you think that’s so? Do you have lots of gaps? How long did it take you to answer? (You can be honest – at least to yourself.) How did you feel about your answers?

Feel free to share you answers in the comments below.

Share what you know about that person if you know more than a name. If you can, identify that person’s family ancestry or cultural heritage.  If you feel comfortable sharing your own ethnicity, please do. How do you think this does or does not  influences your knowledge base?

How did you learn about this person? Were you taught it in the educational system? Do you think you should have been? Could you answer these same questions if they were for a different cultural group? Could you answer all of them if you were thinking about White European Americans? Why do you think you answered the way you did?

Obviously, this exercise is meant to be thought provoking rather than let’s try and pass the test. (Though do keep an eye out for answers in the next post!) What did you just discover?

Look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Today I asked my third graders if they could name anyone of Hispanic descent. They could list a someone they knew personally, a person from history, or a figure from pop culture.

Their lists weren’t long. In fact. Most were blank.

I wasn’t surprised given the community in which I teach. There aren’t a lot of opportunities for first hand encounters. And so my work begins. Unless I or other adults explicitly have conversations about the rich Hispanic heritage, history, and accomplishment, their lists will remain short.

It was time to lead the children to find stories. My third graders are fairly good at knowing how to solve information problems. So they eagerly rose to the challenge of using the library catalog to find biographies.

I recommend keywords – in this case, search terms like Latino/Latina, Hispanic, Puerto Rican, Costa Rican, Dominican, Mexican-American, Chilean, etc. I remind students of the definitions of Hispanic and Latino/Latina. I also provide them with a few examples. This helps the class brainstorm more names to use in their searches.

One of the biographies that provided my readers with a window

The children know how to identify the call number of a book in their computer search. Then they use that to locate the book on the shelf. So they fly to the next step. Reading the book which offers them a window into new experiences, and a peek into an unfamiliar culture. I remind them that this is just one person’s particular story of being Hispanic and that like any group of people there are similarities and differences within that group as well as in comparison to another group.

Next week they will craft jeopardy type questions to post around the school to educate others within our community one story at a time.