Afrolatinos famosos

I was asked to share this unit… In the month of February, I try to incorporate a unit related to Afrolatino culture and history.

For my Spanish II classes, we have done this project: Popcorn Bag project I designed this so that I can incorporate what they learn into the curriculum (the grammar focus).

For my higher levels, we focus on the literary devices that are unique to la poesía afrolatina. We create a “Coffee shop poetry reading” setting on a selected date and they read their chosen poems with spirit and rhythm. Here is the document: La poesía afrolatina.

Here is a recording I made with a student who did a really good job of reading: Video

Other topics of interest:

  • Music:
    • Musical influences from Afrolatinos (from Cuban Jazz to Reggaeton)
    • Music of Chocquibtown:
    • Only in New York: Machito & His Afro-Cubans (2nd chapter of the DVD, (viewable on YouTube, purchasable from PBS, and available in Spanish).
    • AfroCuban Jazz and its influence on the American music scene of the 1940’s
  • Garifuna:
    • Origin of los Garífuna: a group of shipwrecked slaves who intermarried with local natives on the island of St. Vincent, only to be deported to the Central American coast in the late eighteenth century.
    • New York Times Article, Being Garifuna: 
    • Excellent documentary of Garifuna: – Follow with questions: ¿Qué deben hacer los Garífuna para seguir conservando su cultura tras las nuevas generaciones? ¿Si tú fueras Garífuna, que sería lo más importante para conservar la cultura tras las nuevas generaciones?

We have all been hearing about Project-Based Learning.  The main idea behind PBL is that it is inquiry-based, relevant, and that students are learning through the process rather than learning material and putting it into a project.

There are some topics to consider when planning a Project-Based Learning unit:

  • Relevance to the student: Focus on raising awareness and promoting an appreciation of diversity. Encourage the students to think deliberately on issues of racism and education and determine how this relates to them.
  • Content: At the core of PBL is content.
    • Read the current standards and pick out those that apply to your unit.  It is very easy to match standards to units such as this one.
    • Scrutinize your curriculum map and find areas in which your unit will be used to teach the content.
  • Driving question: This is an open-ended question that will guide them as they learn more about La cultura afrolatina.
  • Hook: Think of a video with great impact that will gain their interest. Use an image that will capture their attention as part of a lesson.  Show several images of Hispanic people, with varying appearances, and ask the students to identify the ones who are “hispanic”.  Discuss their responses and what conceptions we have of what Hispanics should “look like.”
  • Product: Think of ways that the product can be shared with a public audience outside of the classroom. They should think on what they learned and find ways to share that information with others.
  • Voice and Choice: Can you offer a variety of product options in your project? What other options can you give them to encourage ownership?
  • 21st century skills:
    • Find ways to let the students collaborate on the project, either making individual projects or working as a class to a final goal.
    • Share articles about the current trends regarding recognition of African roots in Latin American countries.  Students use critical thinking to plan ways of raising awareness and contemplate why it is important.
    • Most importantly, the students should be communicating in Spanish as much as possible.
  • Learn more here: Afrolatinos: The untaught story documentary series

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