Last week we decided it would be most beneficial to come up with actual lesson plans that we could potentially use in the classrooms. I suppose one question we have is: What are lessons either about Mexican/Hispanic culture or specifically on the Mexican border that you have used? How can you make this relevant for younger students?
Lesson Plan #1: Showing what it is like crossing the border
Which people do you think played the most important role in the War with Mexico?
Was NAFTA a fair agreement? Why or Why not? Who benefited? Who suffered?
How does NAFTA affect US-Mexico relations today?
We found resources! YAY.
-This is looks like a good resource for all ages, but you have to pay. If I was teaching on this though I would pay for it.
-A website that lets you narrow done resources to your class age and focus.
-Resources for teachers to accomodate ELL.
-Resources for Middle School and High School.
FOR NEXT WEEK: Write short lesson plan on what it is like to cross border catered to whatever age group.
We decided that Enrique’s Journey, would not be the best resource for this class because it will not discuss ways to teach on this issue. We are especially interested in learning more about how to teach these issues for elementary school, since The Line Between Us was mostly based on high school curriculum. For younger students, the politics would be less important to teach, but we could still discuss the issues in a way that children could understand. We discussed that lessons on the US influence in Mexico and how it affects students here would help broaden children’s understanding of what it means to be an immigrant. For next week, we will find resources for lesson plans and activities to use with students and discuss the ideas and their effectiveness.
This week our mission was to find new resources to supplement the book since we haven’t had much success and are now finished with it.
We were successful.
The first resource we found was Enrique’s Journey by Sonia Nazario. It is a book about a boy in Honduras who makes the trip across the border to the United States to find his mother.
Claire found Donald Trump’s proposed immigration reform policies. It is interesting that he claims immigrants are taking advantage of the US, but in past readings we have seen the opposite occurring. Meanwhile, we also found this article about how borders are inherently immoral. It is an interesting juxtaposition.
Another point that we found in another article is that “historical figures are either regarded as heroes or villains”. We should investigate this more. This is especially exciting since some people regard today as “Columbus Day”…while it should really just be Monday. Here is a video to explain this sentiment.
So…where are we going from here? For next week we decided to begin Enrique’s Journey and decide where to go from there next week. The link to the first chapter is here.
The media source we are choosing to discuss is Narco Cultura (2013). It is a documentary on Netflix, but the trailer link is below.
It is relevant to what we are reading because it deals with two border towns. It mentions the stark differences between El Paso and Juarez. El Paso, on the side of the United states is low in crime which is juxtaposed with the more violent and crime-filled Juarez.
As we have been discussing in past posts, we are having trouble connecting the book to the age group we’d like to teach. We have expressed a need for more Elementary or Middle school geared material. This section (section 4) was much more what we needed, but it would have been convenient if the entire book could have been more like this. The question, then, is how do we make the topic of the border applicable and relevant to younger students?
We have discussed finding outside resources to expand upon the topic of the border. We all agree it is an important subject to broach with children, this book just hasn’t adequately prepared us.
We are choosing to discuss section 4 next week in detail and not add any additional reading.
This week we learned some more history and different perspectives on NAFTA and the history of the border. Something we liked about this lesson is that it introduces students to both sides of NAFTA (poor v. wealthy, farmers v. businesses, Mexico v. US, etc.). Additionally, the lessons were very fact-oriented which drew in a great aspect that previous lessons had not focused as much on, which was the actual information about this issue in addition to the effects, and not simply the aftermath of NAFTA. We agree that the reflection aspect of this activity is very important. One thing in the realm of teaching social justice that was important is the part of the activity that asks you to place yourself in your role and figure out how you would feel, because this begins to help students develop empathy to different sides of many social issues.
One question that we have for our teacher is how to continue to present these issues (with the border and social justice in general) from both sides to help our students expand their own opinions more. Additionally, we are still wondering how to adopt these lessons to fit younger age groups.
For next week, we will be reading Section 4 of The Line Between Us.
The section we read this week focused on the history between Mexico and the US, this chapter is an excerpt from Howard Zinn’s book A People’s History of the United States. One of the good things about this chapter is that the history is not only told from the typical American viewpoint, but rather depicts a more accurate portrayal of what actually happened. The section sums up the Mexican-American war and how the western portion of America was won, or rather taken from Mexico, in the war.
The assignment that the teacher described can be made as hard or as easy as is needed, depending on the level of the class. It can be adapted for different age groups. The questions that go along with the activity are good critical thinking questions, they force the student to do more than just apply the information, but apply the information from various different perspectives. The objective of the activity is to be able to see and understand the different sides of the Mexican-American war and to also be able to understand and see how different people on each side felt about the war and the issues surrounding it.
How could you incorporate similar activities in classrooms of younger grades?
For high schoolers or mode advanced classes, have students also read a history of the Mexican-American war from a typical American school textbook and compare and contrast the perspectives and depictions of the war given.
Next week: read section 3