View Content #20405

Content Type4
TitleMexican Muralist Movement Learning Expedition

Yvonne Fariño teaches at the John J. Duggan Academy Expeditionary School of Social Justice, is a doctoral candidate at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, and she serves as co-chair of ACTFL's Special Interest Group on Heritage Languages. This Activity of the Week exemplifies the Learning Expeditions that she talks about in this week’s Topic of the Week.

The goal for designing the Learning Expedition on El Movimiento Muralista Mexicano initially was to draw on students lived experiences, academic knowledge, home literacies and funds of knowledge, which then led me to think of the following four goals: 1) to beautify the school with students’ artistic talent as a way to create a sense of belonging, 2) to give students’ voice to tell their story, 3) to affirm students’ social identity and memberships while sharing their individual funds of knowledge, and 4) for students to have access to a rigorous curriculum that is often offered in the Advance Placement of language programs at the secondary level. 

The unit design includes:

  • Family structure via surveys and readings. The vocabulary and concepts students practice are the application of question words, what is appropriate to ask, and varying their language use according who they interview.
  • Interviews conducted to family members and neighbors and then share their stories. In this activity, students practice and learn how to describe family members and community in the present and in the past. They also learn how to negotiate turn-taking, synthesize information, while practice real-language in context, and learn about their family and community history.
  • The importance of family and community traditions and celebrations. In this activity, students also learn geography, culture and historical background of where the family member or neighbor comes from or that person’s heritage. In addition, students learn and practice numbers, months of the year, activities that correlate with seasons and weather conditions, and how geographical location, culture and history dictate traditions and celebrations.
  • Artifacts and symbols that represent the heritage or ethnicity of a family member and community.

The full description of the Learning Expedition I developed is included here.

I realized that prior to the Learning Expedition, students were going to need an introduction in understanding the artist’s point of view.  Artists know how to use cultural symbols, cultural artifacts, space, color, brushwork, movement of forms, to name a few, to represent a sentiment, honor a story or a person or persons, etc.  A Case Study is a great activity because it mediates the learner’s awareness of what it means to think like and create art like an artist, while scaffolding academic concepts, structural features, and linguistic variety that exist in Spanish.  Case Studies also offer students an in-depth look at how cultural symbols and artifacts are representations of a group’s identity, and because of its cultural construction, they are flexible and hybrid.  In this perspective, the three-day lesson that follows was a way for students to learn to think like an artist in order to understand his or her pieces of work, and the message they are transmitting.

The student population in my urban school is primarily Puerto Rican, so I chose to introduce Puerto Rico through a Case Study which I named La puertorriqueñidad a través del arte. My goal was to increase students’ linguistic repertoire, practice grammatical structures and develop their writing skills through reading. The idea of a Case Study was to have students building background knowledge through analysis of “puertorriqueñidad”, or Puerto Rican identity, and practice basic Spanish literacy. 

Here is a description of my three-day Case Study lesson, including learning targets, mini-lesson, guided practice, independent practice, and debriefing questions.

SourceCASLS Activity of the Week
Inputdate2015-11-24 15:36:50
Lastmodifieddate2015-12-14 03:27:11
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Publishdate2015-12-14 02:15:02
Displaydate2015-12-14 00:00:00