8. Language Expansion
Illinois Learning Standard(s) for additional Content Area(s):
14C3, 14D3, 15A3d, 16C3b, 17C3a,
26B3d Fine Arts
La lucha hispana: El caso de los trabajadores migratorios Learning scenario objective:
Students will improve their reading strategies and learn about the lives of migrant workers in the United States through reading memoirs and biographies of migrant workers in Spanish. Students will use their previous discussion of what is a hero to determine if everyday people such as migrant workers can be considered heroes, and who in turn would be the heroes in migrant workers’ lives.
Suggested time frame: 3 weeks
Descriptors: Students will use knowledge of cognates and word endings to comprehend words related to Social Studies. WIDA 1A3b
Students will connect texts to their personal experiences as well as to world events. WIDA 1C3f
Students will analyze how literary characters confront real-life problems such as poverty and inadequate opportunities for education. WIDA 1C3h
Students will read Chicano literature in Spanish about the migrant worker experience in order to develop comprehension skills, a strong vocabulary, make predictions, and relate texts to other texts, themselves, and the world. WIDA 1C3i
Students will practice writing quotations from a primary source. WIDA 2B3h
Areas:(1) Reading & Literature; (3) Oral Language; (4) Language Use & Structure
Learning scenario: Note: While the content focus of this learning scenario is migrant workers, this is not meant to be a comprehensive social studies unit on migrant workers (which would be a good interdisciplinary unit to develop). The focus of the learning scenario is reading strategies and literacy in Spanish.
Part 1 Students will form groups of 3 or 4. The teacher will give each group a few photos of migrant workers. Some very moving photos are Dorothea Lange’s photos of migrant Dust Bowl workers as well as Mexican workers in the 1940s. Students should make oral observations in Spanish to each other, comparing the photos to their own experiences and to any texts they have read before. As a class, students will discuss how they felt when they saw the photos and why.
Referring to the photos and to students’ comments, the teacher will introduce the term el trabajador migratorio to students and inquire whether students have any personal experiences with the word and background knowledge about it. For the next few class periods, the teacher will
introduce 20 vocabulary words that are essential for the understanding of their upcoming readings:
los trabajadores migratorios, el trabajo, trabajar, migratorio, el migrante, la migración, migrar, el inmigrante, la inmigración, inmigrar, la granja, el granjero, la agricultura, el campo, el campesino, la cosecha, cosechar, recoger, los braceros, and la temporada. Vocabulary should be introduced as slowly as possible while students predict each words’ connection to the unit. Students should take notes on initial meanings that will grow in context as they read more about migrant workers. These vocabulary units are an opportune time to distinguish between parts of speech (el sustantivo, el verbo, el adjetivo) and group the words according to their roots. The teacher should point out how the meanings of certain words (for example, cosechar and la cosecha) are similar, but if the ending is changed, the meaning is changed slightly (i.e. from a verb to a noun). These groupings of words are deliberate and should aid students in memorizing the words. The students also build their content-area vocabularies more quickly when they see how to “build” words. Furthermore, this would be a perfect time for the teacher to introduce the concept of a cognate. The teacher should ask the students if they recognize any of the words as similar to English.
One ideal way to introduce and review vocabulary is by preparing a dynamic Power Point presentation with one vocabulary word for slide. Each slide would include photos related to the concepts. These photos can show the history of migrant workers from the past until now as well as the plight of child migrant workers that continues. Power Point presentations are especially useful for visual learners.
Part III: The teacher will give each student a copy of the story “Cajas de Cartón” by Francisco Jiménez. While other stories about migrant workers would also function, this story is suggested because of the high frequency of the vocabulary words and for its emotional impact as a memoir. It is also an example of authentic, well-written Spanish with dialectal variation. Students will work with a partner and skim the story for vocabulary words. They will highlight each time a vocabulary word occurs. They should notice that some words do not occur at all and some occur quite frequently. The teachers and students will then do a vocabulary story walk-through. Students will read in chorus sentences where the vocabulary words appear. They should read these sentences in the order they appear in the story. Based on that sentence, students will “walk-through” the story and predict what will happen in the story.
Part IV: At this point, students should be sufficiently acquainted with the vocabulary words to gain a rich understanding of the story. The teacher will read the story aloud to the students while students follow along. Every time the teacher arrives at a vocabulary word, the students should say the word in chorus. This is a fast assessment for the teacher to evaluate whether or not the students are engaged and following him/her. The teacher should also ask students questions along the way that connect the text to their own experiences. For example, when the students discover that the narrator lived in a windowless garage next to the stables, s/he should ask students what they thought that experience must have been like and why. The teacher should invite students to compare and contrast the narrator’s experiences with their own life experiences and backgrounds. The teacher should remind students of their discussion about the qualities of a hero. At this point the students could write a paragraph arguing whether or not Panchito and his family are heroes. They could also write about a hero in Panchito’s life. Lastly, to further enrich students’ reading experiences, the teacher can refer back to the Dorothea Lange photos students viewed at the beginning of the scenario. For example, he/she can tell students that when Panchito refers to a “chocita,” he is speaking of a shack similar to the ones shown in the photos.
Part V: Students will practice vocabulary words within the context of “Cajas de Cartón.” The teacher will provide sentences for them to fill in the blank. Students must also create original contextual sentences. The next day, students will take a spelling quiz on the vocabulary words. The teacher might also require students to state whether the word is a sustantivo, verbo, or adjetivo.
Part VI: The culminating project for “Cajas de Cartón” is an illustrated quotation from the book. The teacher should discuss quotations with students and how one use of quotation marks (comillas) is to report an author’s words exactly as he/she wrote it. Teachers should also reinforce the idea of stating a source and page number so that other readers can locate the quotation. Furthermore, the teacher should point out to students how in Latin America and Spain, texts use other symbols such as a quotation dash (---), used for dialogue, or chevrons (<< >>). While students are to be aware of this fact, students are to use the traditional U.S. symbols (“ “) for this project. Students will each choose a sentence from “Cajas de Cartón” that really had an impact on them personally and helped them to visualize what life must have been like for migrant workers. By searching for a sentence, this will ensure that students re-skim the story one more time. Students should copy the sentence exactly, then put quotation marks around it, and finally put the page number where it is located. The teacher will assess these drafts, and when the quote is exact, the teacher will give the students half of an 8 ½ X 11 sheet of colored paper to write the quote neatly upon. Students should use rulers to make straight lines and trace over their pencil with black marker! Students will then paste this colored paper to a large piece of white paper. They are to illustrate (first in pencil) what they imagine when they read this quote. Afterwards, the teacher should provide as many different artistic materials as possible for the students to create their scene (the more materials they have to work with, the more creative they will be). Some examples of materials are pom-poms, wiggly eyes, pipe cleaners, pastels, water colors, corrugated bulletin board borders, ribbon, feathers, tissue paper, confetti, buttons, and yarn.
Through observation, the teacher will assess if students can identify vocabulary words by sight. When students read along and say the vocabulary words aloud, the teacher should be able to hear if students can follow along. There is also the assessment of the vocab spelling test, vocabulary sentences, and the final quote project. A rubric for the final quote project has been included in 6.1.2 (appendix 1). A sample vocabulary and skills test has also been included in appendix 6.1.2 (appendix 2). The teacher can also give students written and oral assignments to assess if they can think critically about the lives of migrant workers. The teacher can also assess if students are thinking critically about heroes through students’ justification of whether or not Panchito and his family can be considered heroes.
Possible related activities:
Students can research las temporadas (growing seasons) of various crops in the United States. They should determine when and where various crops grow. Using a map, students should then draw out a possible route for a migrant worker to follow during the year and justify his/her choices. The student should label the town and state, the crop in Spanish, and the time of year when the crop is picked (in Spanish).
Students can write a week-long diary pretending they are a child migrant worker. Students must use their background knowledge of “Cajas de Cartón.”
The teacher can read students the story book: Calling the Doves/El Canto de las palomasby Juan Felipe Herrera. This book is also the memoir of the child of migrant workers, but it has a less realistic, more romanticized vision of migrant workers than “Cajas de Cartón.” After the read aloud, students can compare and contrast the lives of the two narrators. The teacher can ask students such higher-level questions such as: Which story has a happier tone? Why?
The teacher can present the song to the students such as “Ojála que Llueva Café,” a song by Juan Luis Guerra, a Dominican. Students can compare crops planted in the United States to crops planted in the Dominican Republic and other Hispanic countries. Students can discuss the symbols of the song and sing it. Students could also compare Guerra’s version with Café Tacuba’s version. This song could also be used to review the subjunctive and the phrase “ojála que. . . “
Students can conduct a research project on migrant workers. Some possible research questions are: a) Are all migrant workers in the United States only Mexicanos or Latinos?, b) What are other groups that are migrant workers?, c) Compare & contrast what you have found about non-Latino migrant workers to the lives of Latino migrant workers.
Students could conduct research on children of migrant workers and discuss possible ways to help them receive a better education.
In her website of lessons for the novel Esperanza renace, Language Arts teacher Gail Desler suggests that students listen to Library of Congress’ archived interviews from the 1940s with Mexican migrant workers. The website where these interviews can be found is listed in Suggested resources.
Suggested resources: El Nabli, Dina. “Too Young to Work.” Time For Kids. April 1, 2005. Vol. 10, No. 22. pp. 4-5
Jimenez, Francisco. “Cajas de Cartón.” Cajas de Cartón. New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin, 2000 (1997 English version). Pgs. 66-73. ISBN 0618226168
Herrera, Juan Felipe. Illustrated by Elly Simmons. Calling the Doves/El Canto de las palomas. San Francisco, CA: 1995. ISBN 0892391669
Jacobs Altman, Linda. Illustrated by Enrique O. Sánchez. El Camino de Amelia. New York, NY: Lee & Low Books, Inc., 1993. ISBN 1880000105
Lange, Dorothea. Photos of migrant workers in the 1940s. http://www.multimedialibrary.com/FramesML/IM13/IM13.asp Library of Congress. Voices from the Dust Bowl: The Charles L. Todd and Robert Sonkin Migrant Worker Collection, 1940-1941. “Interview with Augustus Martinez: Interview about lemon picking, FSA camp.”
http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?ammem/toddbib:@field(DOCID+@lit(5146a1)) --------- Voices from the Dust Bowl: The Charles L. Todd and Robert Sonkin Migrant Worker Collection, 1940-1941. “Interview with José Flores: Interview about FSA camp governance, camp work, non-FSA migrant camps, labor issues, attitude toward "Okies." 2) Interview about the Mexican family, discrimination against Mexicans, and life in the FSA camp.”
Mora, Pat. Illustrated by Raul Colón. Tomás y la Señora de la biblioteca. New York: Dragonfly books, 1997. ISBN 0679841733
Muñoz Ryan, Pam. Esperanza renace. New York, NY: Scholastic, Inc., 2002 (1st ed. 2000). ISBN 0439398851
Rivera, Tomás. Translated by Evangelina Vigil-Piñón. . . . Y no se lo tragó la tierra/. . . And the Earth Did Not Devour Him. (1st Ed. 1970). Arte Público Press, 1987. ISBN 155885083X