This lesson can be taught in 13 class periods
The focus for students in this age group is on people. Explain to students that they will be learning about one of the largest cultural groups in the United States, Hispanic Americans, and the contributions they have made to this country and to the world.
1. Begin a discussion about Hispanic heritage. Have students talk about what it means to be Hispanic (being a member of Americans descended from more than 20 primarily Spanish-speaking countries as well as from states and territories in the United States) or a member of any ethnic group.
2. Introduce the Meet Famous Latinos activity, which is designed to teach students about famous Latinos and their contributions to American history. As an introduction, choose one of the six famous Latinos to highlight. For example, you can choose Pam Munoz Ryan and showcase her book, Esperanza Rising. This would be a great time to share an excerpt with the class.
3. In the My Heritage activity, seven Latino and Latina citizens discuss the importance of their Hispanic American heritage. Their observations help students to deepen their understanding of ideas related to heritage: what heritage means, the similarities and differences in language and culture among Hispanic Americans, the diversity of backgrounds that shape the Hispanic American community, and the multicultural nature of the United States population. Take the class through a tour of this activity, or encourage students to visit this area on their own. This section provides appropriate material for younger students or low-level readers and allws you to customize your lesson to their needs.
4. Next, organize students into five groups, and assign a biography from the Meet Famous Latinos or My Heritage activity, as appropriate, for each group of students to read. Note: you can do this individually, in a computer lab, or if only one computer is available, as a learning station.
5. Provide students with a copy of the biography skill sheet. Students can complete this activity individually or in groups.
6. Now, have each group of students discuss the famous Latino they read about, and the contributions they made. Students can lead this discussion as a group, in front of the whole class, or the groups can be reorganized so that one person from each original group is the expert on the famous Latino they will be discussing.
Latinos in History
1. In the Latinos in History activity, students can read short biographies about 25 Latinos, past and present, that have contributed to American history in different ways, and write a biographical narrative with the content of this activity. Have students do more research on each of these Latinos online or in the Library.
Provide students with a copy of the biography skill sheet. Students can complete this activity individually or in groups.
If time permits, have students use the biography skill sheet to conduct a class presentation or begin writing the biographical narratives. These narratives can be bound together to create a book.
Extend the Lesson:
Music, games, writing activities, crafts, and recipes offer excellent opportunities to appreciate and explore Hispanic Heritage.
Latinos in the U.S.A.
Use this map and worksheet to demonstrate where many Latinos live
in the U.S.
Source: This activity is from Scholastic News.
Music (Grades 25)
Play music from various countries to show the diverse cultures within Hispanic heritage. As a group, create a multicultural songbook that incorporates the music of the various cultures, and include songs from a variety of countries.
Vocabulary/Word Origins (Grades 35)
Students learn about the influence of the Spanish language by studying the history of common English words. Assign students to each compile lists of five or more words that have Spanish. Encourage students to use a dictionary that contains the historical origins of words. (Example: "ranch" is from the Spanish word rancho.)
Students many also wish to write a play based on the research they have gathered about a Hispanic history maker.
Social Studies (Grades 45)
Students may create scrapbooks with flags, maps, costumes, artwork, and other symbols of various countries from which Hispanic people have emigrated.
Art (Grades 45)
Students design and make a postage stamp or a small poster that honors Hispanic heritage. They can find different art styles from countries in Central and South America and incorporate them. They can also use pictures of famous Hispanic Americans, maps, or different symbols.
Drama (Grades 45)
Students can choose to dramatize the life story of historical figures, rehearse the play, and then present it to the class.
Language Arts (Grades 45)
Students read a book from one of the following authors as an example of autobiographical narrative: Family Pictures by Carmen Lomas Garza, The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros, or White Bread Competition by Jo Ann Yolanda Hernandez. Then students may choose a story or episode from their lives to develop into an autobiographical narrative.
Who is (Pam Munoz Ryan, David Diaz, etc.) in the Meet Famous Latinos activity?
What is this Latino/Latina famous for?
Where is this Latino/Latina from?
Why is heritage important to this person?
What is a biography?
What type of information does it contain?
What do these Latinos/Latinas have in common?
What is heritage?
What does heritage mean to the (dancer, scientist, etc.) in the My Heritage activity?
What is your heritage?
What does heritage mean to you?