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IMGALTTAG Volume VIII: U.S. Latino Literature and Culture


A Population Without Borders–Migration of the Mexican and the Monarch Butterfly
Jeannette Campesino
Reizenstein Middle School

The monarch butterfly and the Mexican migrant both have needs that are satisfied by crossing fluidly over the U.S.– Mexico border. Both often find themselves in life-threatening situations with little help or understanding from the dominant human society as to how to alleviate their problems. This study explores the Monarch Butterfly/ Mexican Immigrant analogy and informs the student about the life of both. Lessons are designed to interest students and to enhance their understanding of both monarchs and human migrants. They include: internet research, Mexican pen friends, creative crafts, movies and lively discussions. By drawing a parallel between man and insect I hope to stretch the students’ minds and impress upon them their responsibility to protect the earth’s resources as well as to show compassion to humankind.


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Puerto Rico: Home Away From Home in the U.S.
Elizabeth Kelly
Arsenal Middle School

This unit is intended to provide students with a fuller picture of our global society by increasing opportunities for them to learn more about Hispanic people in the United States. I have chosen to focus this unit on the people of Puerto Rico. Even though Puerto Ricans and U.S. citizens, they are in the unique position of being both citizen and immigrant in the United States. The premise of my curriculum unit is to assist sixth grade students who study Latin America in their World Cultures class to explore the culture and heritage of Puerto Ricans in the United States, particularly New York City, and within their homeland.


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Right Next Door But Worlds Away
Hannah McCarthy
Arsenal Middle School

The unit “Right Next Door But Worlds Away” will assist students in becoming aware of the similarities and differences they have with children from different cultures. The lessons in this unit focus on the communities of Latino immigrants in the United States from Mexico, El Salvador, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic.  Even though the unit was developed for a Sixth Grade, full inclusion Social Studies class, it is easily adaptable for other grade levels.  The activities could also be adapted to study other immigrant cultures in the United States.


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Mirrors on Identity: The Latino World Reflected in Latino Poetry
Connie Weiss
Schenley High School

This curriculum unit discusses issues of Latino identity as reflected in Chicano poetry. It offers an historical examination of the images of Mexican Americans, with particular emphasis on the influence of the policies of the United States government as well as the power of the mass media to shape, define and distort those images. The curriculum unit then presents a selection of Chicano poetry from the past sixty-five years, and discusses it as a reflection of Chicano identity that counters stereotypical images that circulate in white majority culture. Some of the works are purely Chicano, reflecting ethnically specific memories, customs and ancestors, while others express more universal aspects of the human condition. All are examples of fine literature, which has too often been neglected in the study of American poetry.


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Chatham University
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IMGALTTAG Pittsburgh Teachers Institute
Jointly sponsored by Carnegie Mellon University, Chatham University and the Pittsburgh Public Schools.
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