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A Different Approach for a Special Child:Part Two

Bethania UrenaHernandez

Contents of Curriculum Unit 90.04.04:

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The students I work with are Spanish speaking, very slow learners, diagnosed as learning disabled (LD), educable mentally retarded (EMR), and/or socially maladjusted (SMA). These children exhibit disorders in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or using spoken or written language. These disorders manifest themselves in the students’ listening, thinking, talking, reading, writing, spelling, and/or arithmetic. (1) Most of them also exhibit accompanying problematic behaviors: they dislike school, are disobedient, disruptive, destructive, lazy, moody, negative, unmotivated, etc. (2) Such conditions prevent the students from achieving academically; this in turn creates a lot of frustration and a very low selfesteem. Thus a cycle is created which requires a very well structured behavior management program to correct these problematic behaviors and a very well planned curriculum designed to focus on the specific disabilities encountered in these students.

My students also have a great degree of cultural deprivation, coming from large families, with four, eight, and sometimes even as many as thirteen children, and many aunts and uncles. The majority live with stepfathers or single mothers, sometimes in foster homes. Most of them come from illiterate parents or parents who did not pass the fourth grade in their native Spanish. Having come from rural areas primarily in Puerto Rico, most have not been exposed to cultural events—only to limited regional dances at the most; nor have they been taken to places where they could acquire some knowledge of their past, such as museums, theaters, libraries, etc. Added to these problems are a high degree of migration and the difficulty of coming to live in a country completely different in language, climate, race, and culture in general. Because these children have little or no ability to cope with new life situations, all these factors make the teaching and learning process very difficult.

Facing this reality in my classroom, needing to improve my students’ level of competency, and looking always for new strategies and techniques that will help me to motivate my students, I decided to expand on a curriculum I began last year. In this curriculum the students will experience new activities in a different environment from the school setting.

I have called this curriculum “A Different Approach for a Special Child: Part Two.” With this unit I hope to help my students through different activities that will motivate them to participate more actively in classroom discussions, reading, and writing. I hope also to create in my students some inner motivation to discover things around them and enable them to observe from different sources the changes that occur over time. Such sources include people: the family as the smallest and most important group in society, its customs, and the things around them—for example, costumes, houses, building structures, schools, heating systems, transportation, parks, etc.

We will analyze how families move to other places trying to improve their way of living, how they take with them parts of their own culture, adopting others, and how families and countries go through changes in their development. We will look at some of the family pictures and other artistic expressions of families from the students’ own and other countries.

Objectives: In order to help the students improve in reading and in oral and written expression, my main goal is first to involve them in the different aspects of the family, and second, to relate what they have learned to their own family and to other families from Puerto Rico and other countries coming to America. Students will be encouraged to talk and write about their observations and experiences.

Activities: Students will

a.talk about the family and the role of every member in the family
b.read passages and short stories about Puerto Rican families and families from other countries
c.look for the main characters, settings, etc. in their readings
d.participate in class discussions
e.describe pictures
f.search in the school library
g.take note of things that catch their attention during trips to the museum, parks, churches, etc.
h.view and comment on films
i.classify pictures of costumes, buildings, etc. according to their different epochs
j.complete written assignments


Instrumental Enrichment materials on family relations
reading books
illustrated pictures and cards from the 19th and 20th centuries
paper and pencil
water color and brushes

Places to be Visited:

school library
the Yale Art Gallery: the European Gallery, 3rd floor
a church from the 18th century
a church from the 20th century
This curriculum unit will cover five weeks:

1st week: Introduction to the family using the family relations from Reuben Feuerstein

2nd week: The Puerto Rican Family in the 19th Century and its Changes Over Time

3rd week: Study of families who emigrated from Europe to America. We will look at pictures of European families and visit the Yale Art Gallery’s 3rd floor to analyze Picasso’s painting of the mother and the child.

4th week: We will concentrate on New Haven from the 19th century to the present. We will visit churches and the Green and look at the different buildings: the Court House, banks, stores, etc. We will watch films of New Haven, if available.

5th week: We will study how the Puerto Rican immigrants get involved in New Haven, in the schools, in the shops, in the places of entertainment, etc. and how they keep their own customs at the same time.

6th week: Famous People from Puerto Rico. We will look at these people who have become famous in different areas: education, art, music, military science, community work, etc.

During the different weeks, different activities will take place according to the various objectives.

WEEK ONE: The Puerto Rican Family

Objectives: To enable the students to see themselves as members of a family and to see their families as an important nuclear part in the Puerto Rican society. We will analyze the physical characteristics exhibited by the Puerto Ricans (all the combinations of races—Indians, Spanish, African, etc.), the role that the father plays in the family, the feelings of the Puerto Rican people, their music, and other important aspects of the Puerto Rican society.


¥read passages
¥bring family pictures to the classroom
¥watch films from Puerto Rico
¥visit the Black Print Gallery “A Walk in Truth” where black and Puerto Rican books and paintings by Puerto Rican artists are exhibited.


In a very similar manner we will study families from Europe—their immigration to New Haven, their characteristics and customs, music, food, clothes, etc. We will also talk about their influence in American society, especially in food and arts and architecture.


We will study the city of New Haven—the mixture of races, buildings, educational places, entertainment, transportation, etc.


¥raise topics for discussion about what the students see in the city—for example, where have they been in the city, what is it that they like the most in the city, etc.
¥describe pictures
¥look at the newspaper, recognizing different places and activities, the names of stores, etc.
¥visit the Green and other places
¥watch films if available
¥complete written assignments


In this unit we will concentrate on the Puerto Rican families coming to New Haven, their major reasons for emigration, their feelings. We will compare their life style in Puerto Rico with their life here, in areas such as housing, schools, foods, etc.


¥bring different topics for discussion. For example: How long have you been here? Who was born in Puerto Rico? Who has family in Puerto Rico? Which weather do you prefer, New Haven’s or Puerto Rico’s?


With this unit I intend to improve the students’ selfvalue by letting them know that many Puerto Rican people, like many other people in the world, have been very intelligent, very important, and have made many good contributions for their people and for the society in general. I will draw on examples from music, art, drama, military service, education, etc.

I will present pictures of famous Puerto Rican people. We will talk about them, and read passages about them.

¥look in the newspaper
¥watch films if available
¥bring things to the classroom made by Puerto Rican people—arts and crafts, paintings, etc.
¥invite Puerto Rican people to talk to the students—e.g., nurses, firemen, policemen, etc.

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Week One: The Puerto Rican Family

Objectives: To enable the students to see themselves as members of a family and to see their families as an important nuclear group in the Puerto Rican society.

New Vocabulary Words:


Procedure: Explain to the students that after seeing the composition of the family, now we will study the family in Puerto Rico. Tell them that the Puerto Rican family, like every other family in the world, is formed by the father, the mother, and the children.
Here the teacher explains that for several reasons children have stepfathers or live with single mothers, etc. Explain that some of the reasons include death, separation of the parents, etc. But the most important thing is that the children have a guardian, someone who loves them and takes care of them.

Depending upon the abilities of the students, the teacher might read the following passages to the students, or ask the students to read single paragraphs.

Reading: The Puerto Rican Family

Generally Puerto Ricans have a high respect for their families. The immediate family comes first, and everyone has a responsibility towards the immediate family. Traditionally, the authority of the parents was not questioned by their children.

Men are very proud of being the stronger figure in the family, of providing financial support for the family, and of setting the rules to be followed at home.

The women are protected. Older tradition had the women never traveling very far alone. When a young man was interested in a girl, he had to request permission of the girl’s parents to take her out and was never permitted to be with her alone. Couples had to be chaperoned at dances or social events.

The responsibilities of the Puerto Rican home are shared by all the family members. The older children help to take care of the younger ones and assist with the care of the elderly.

Puerto Rican people in general are very calm, very sociable, and very patient, even though the men can grow very angry for several reasons:

¥attacks on their manhood
¥direct humiliation
¥attacks on the honor of a female in his household
¥disrespect for his mother
Traditionally, the woman’s role was to raise the children and to do household chores. Women were oriented to the idea and practice of serving men. They did not participate in public affairs, they did not have access to higher education, and they had no control of household finances. Teaching and religious vocation were about the only two careers open to women.

Physical Characteristics of the Puerto Rican Family:

The Puerto Rican population consists of intermediate population types such as:

¥Mestizo—a mixture of white and Indian
¥mulatto—a mixture of black and white
¥a mixture of black and Indian
Many of these variations may be found within the same family.


Educated Puerto Rican writers, artists, and musicians tended to seek European training, but a strong folk culture developed.

The folk culture of Puerto Rico was predominately that of a rural culture until relatively recent times. The folk culture had its own distinctive flavor. Indian and African practices survived particularly in music and the dance. Many instruments are of Indian and African origin.

Most of the music played today in Puerto Rico is common to Latin America. Most of it comes from South America, Mexico, and the Caribbean, as well as from Spain. La Danza originally of Puerto Rico sounds similar to El Danzon from Cuba. Most of the music is of romantic nature and reflects feelings of love, beauty, and nature.

The Puerto Ricans also express their feelings through folk music: decima, homba, sets, aguilnaldo, etc.


With the extinction of the Taino, European ways came to dominate family life in Puerto Rico. Catholicism and the Spanish language constituted the two most important features.

Baptism is considered one of the most important sacraments not only for the religious value but also because of the serious commitment to a child that it demands of a Godparent. Godparents and parents owe each other a special kind of respect, unique to that particular relationship. They call each other “compadre” and “comadre”—coparents.

Food and Festivities:

Puerto Rico has a variety of food:

¥seafood, vegetables, viandas: banana, yucca, malamga
¥rice and different type of grains
Food plays an important role in Puerto Rican festivities. December 24 at noon marks the official beginning of Christmas, one of the most important celebrations. Midnight mass in the Catholic church is followed by a late night supper. The Christmas Eve supper consists of roast pig, rice, pigeon peas, and pasteles. The coquito is a native drink very similar to eggnog. Common desserts include a variety of nuts, rice pudding, and turron.

The Three Kings Day is highly anticipated by the Puerto Rican children.

Related Activities:

Ask the students to bring in family pictures to be shown in the classroom. The teacher and students will also bring in the Spanish newspaper to look at other family pictures. Talk of how the different combination of races is demonstrated by the different physical features in members of the same family.

Recommended Movies:

1.“Man and his Music” (Puerto Rico) (2fslr) (imh)
2.“Puerto Rico” (i,m) AB
3.“Folk Songs of Latin America” (im) (fsr)

Week Two: Families from Europe and Their Immigration to New Haven

Objectives: In a very simple way we will study families from Spain, France, and Italy, some customs, foods, holidays, etc. We will visit the Yale Art Gallery, the third floor to see the Picasso painting, “The Mother and the Child”, and will note the greatness of the Spanish heritage in Picasso’s work. The students will also visit the New Haven Green, Wooster Place, the train station and the firehouse. We will note the differences in the two Greens, their times, and their importance. And we will look at the train station and the firehouse, pointing out that as the community grew, such facilities became necessary. We will also note how different these present day facilities are from the early versions.

New Vocabulary Words:

towering castle
Note: Study of these words is recommended before the reading.

Procedure: The teacher will start this unit by saying: America is made up of many different peoples. They have come from Germany, Spain, England, Ireland, Sweden, France, Italy, Poland, China, Korea, Japan, and many other places.
Some of them left their homes and families looking for a better living condition; others hoped to find riches; still others wanted rights and freedom.

The French left home for all these reasons and more. The earliest French settlers were probably in North America as early as 1497. Most of them were fishermen. They traded most of their wares with the Indians in return for the right to fish in the Indians’ waters.

The teacher will then say, “Let us now learn something about these people and their own land.”

France and the French

France is a famous country in art, architecture, medicine, etc. One of its contributions to art was a gift to America 100 years ago. This was the Statue of Liberty, located in New York’s harbor.

A street in downtown New Haven is named for a famous American whose ancestors came from France: Audubon Street, named for John James Audubon, a famous ornithologist and a good painter. He is noted for his pictures of birds.

French children are very well educated. Parents expect them to be courteous and well spoken. It is rare to see a French child yell or scream.

Students in France attend school on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday and Saturdays. Wednesdays, Saturday afternoons, and Sundays are days off. They go to school both mornings and afternoons and go home for lunch. School begins at 8:30 and ends at 5:00 p.m.

In France, children have a lot of fun, especially at holiday time. They place their shoes beside the fireplace on Christmas Eve, and when they awaken on Christmas Day, the good children discover their toys under their shoes; those who misbehave receive a whip.

Instead of Santa Claus, the French have Le Pere Nicholas.


Spaniards were the most active of the explorers to the New World. They were the first to explore California in 1542 and to found a city, Saint Augustine, Florida in 1565. With the discovery of America, Spain carried its language, culture, and Catholic religion to Central and South America and the Caribbean.

Festivals, which are usually held as part of religious events, play an important part in Spanish life. Both rural and urban peoples dress up in colorful costumes of their region and go dancing in the streets. Bullfighting is an important event in many of these feasts.

Spain is also famous for its paintings, music, and sculpture. When visiting the famous museum El Prado in Madrid, visitors can the great variety of sculptures and painting from many centuries, art works famous throughout the whole world.

Spain’s most famous renowned twentieth century artist was Pablo Picasso (1881-1973). One of his famous paintings, “The Mother and the Child”, is on display in the Yale Art Gallery in New Haven.


Italy is another European country whose culture and tradition has been of great influence in the United States, including New Haven.

In Italy the most popular food is pasta, a dough which includes eggs and which is made on many different ways. Macaroni and spaghetti are made every day at home using flours from different kinds of grains. Italians also eat a lot of cheese, salads, beans, sweet fruits, and fish.

The Italian Christmas feast includes panettone, baked grapes, plums, raisins, figs stuffed with orange, and chocolates. Because Italy is a country in which the Catholic religion is very strong, their Christmas celebration is a very religious event. Italians have twelve days of celebration from the day of Christ’s birth until Epiphany, or January 6, the day that the three kings came bringing gifts for the child Jesus.

Recommended Films:

1.“Families Around the World” (6fs3g) (cimh)
2.“The Night Before Christmas”(fsr) (pim)
3.“The Immigrant Experience: The Long, Long Journey” (82mn)
4.“Colonial Children”
5.“Families, Food. and Eating” (pi)
6.“Families are Different and Alike” (pi)
7.“Connecticut: the Immigrants” (fsc) (cimh)
8.set: “Five Families,” “Five Children,” “Circus Family,” “Together.” “Pinata” (5fssr) (p)

Week Three: The City of New Haven

A view of its beginnings up to the present. The mixture of races, buildings, educational places, transportation, and other things of interest to the student.

Objectives: I will concentrate basically on oral expression skills. I will also try to enhance my students’ knowledge and enjoyment by taking them to the different places that will be mentioned briefly in this unit: the Green, churches, stores, Wooster Square, the railroad station, a firehouse, Long Wharf, etc. On some of the trips into the city the students can go by foot, since many of these places are near the school—the railroad station, the hospital, a firehouse, an Italian restaurant.
In this unit I also intend to develop some artistic expression in my students by encouraging them to draw or paint some of the many things that they will look at during the tours.

Words to Study:

Meeting House
In writing the following passages, I deliberately tried to avoid including dates in which events and constructions took place. I chose to do this because dates are especially hard to recall for learning disabled students.

I recommend that the teacher have the students study the vocabulary prior to studying the passages. I also suggest that the teacher provide a model reading of the passages.

Reading: The New Haven Green

In the early spring of 1638, the ship Hector brought a group of English colonists into what is now New Haven harbor. The settlers were led by Theophilus Eaton, a merchant, and John Davenport, a Puritan minister.

The New Haven settles, being strict Puritans, built a Meeting House in the center square for meetings and for worship. The house was a simple square frame building with a small tower rising from the center of its steep, sloping roof.

After the sermons both in the morning and in the afternoon, the colonists would meet with friends and trade news. The marketplace became the meeting ground for business, social activity, worship, sports, and even a training area for local militia.

During the following yeas other meeting houses were built until 1818, the year in which politics in this country became separate from the church. At that time, Elm Street, Temple, College, Church, and Chapel were the most important streets, with beautiful houses and beautiful trees planted around. City Hall was another important building; it replaced an old jail on Church Street.

The construction of the railroad gave great support to the economy of the city at that time. It connected New Haven with other cities to the North with Hartford, and later, to the South with New York.

Around the Green development continued, with the first public library, founded in 1908, then the post office on Church Street, and later the Malley store and other stores. The Hotel Taft was built, replacing an older structure at that location. Two skyscrapers were built, one on Church Street, the other on Elm.

To the west and the north of the Green stand the buildings of Yale University. Some of these are very old, such as Connecticut Hall. All the old buildings were made of brick or stone and contrasted with the frame houses that stood around the Green in early days.

The Union Trust Bank, which stands near the Green, is a beautiful building recalling the colonial style. Other buildings are modem in style: the 1965 Chapel Square with a hotel and stores, and the New Haven Savings Bank tower on the comer of Church and Elm.

Looking at the Green today, we can see the beauty of the past, enjoy the variety in architecture, and all the facilities that the city of New Haven offers at the present.

Reading: Wooster Place

While the downtown area was growing more and more important in the eighteenth century, with the constructions of hotels, courthouses, etc., the eastern side of New Haven became the center of the seaport. This part of the city was known as the New Township. This name revealed a great confidence in the future and indicated some separation from the rest of the city. Wooster Square was created in 1825 on lower Chapel Street, which led directly to the harbor. The square was named in honor of General David Wooster, a hero of the Revolutionary War and a native of the neighborhood.

Wooster Square was the home of businessmen and the aristocracy. These homes were placed carefully around the Square so the entire landscape would be harmonious. By 1850 Wooster Square became the most beautiful and famous neighborhood.

With the arrival of immigrants from Italy almost a hundred years later, Wooster Place became known as Little Naples. Here the Italian people had all they needed: a live chicken market, Italian banks and bakeries, and pushcarts loaded with Italian sausages. The founder of Pepe’s pizza used to have a wagon to sell pizzas for .25¢. In the summer children played baseball in empty lots or at Waterside Park at the site of Long Wharf.

Over the years the beautiful homes deteriorated, and the neighborhood lost the beauty of its former years. Then, in the late 1950’s Wooster Place was renovated and became one of the most famous areas in New Haven. It stands as a reminder to natives and visitors that it was paradise to the first Italian immigrants.

Questions for Discussion:

1.Which of the two parks in New Haven is older?
2.Which is a more important area?
3.Which of the stores around the Green is the largest?
4.Which one do you think has the most sales daily?
5.Do you see a difference in transportation today as compared to colonial times?
6.Why do you think the early immigrants did not come by plane?

Recommended Filmstrips:

1.“The City” 11 mm. color (pi)
2.“Sights and Sounds of the Neighborhood”
3.“Our Town and Ourselves”
4.“Connecticut: the Immigrants” (fsc) (i,m,h)
5.“The Immigrant Experience: the long, long journey” (28 mm)
6.“New Haven and its Surrounding Towns” tape #5
7.“Some words on New Haven’s Center Church, its Tiffany windows, and the people at that time”
8.“A Town Plan for the City of New Haven”
9.“The Early Church and State Relationship” tape #6 87101
10.“The Growth of New Haven”
11.“New Haven’s Early Craftsmen: a sorry lot”
12.“Colonial Teenagers were Strictly Disciplined”

Week Four: Immigration of the Puerto Rican Families to the United States

Objectives: Students will learn why the Puerto Rican people came to America. We will focus on Puerto Rican families in New Haven, their involvement in the schools and different agencies, and their place in the community. We will talk about their preferences in shopping, entertainment, and vocations.
The teacher will promote conversation and comparisons between the life style in Puerto Rico and here.

New Vocabulary Words:

The teacher will use a map of the United States in introducing this unit.


Reading: Puerto Ricans Come to the United States

Before 1898 most Puerto Ricans migrating to the United States were political exiles or those seeking higher educational opportunities.

A major migration to the mainland began after 1898 with the annexation of the island by the United States. At that time a United States general was appointed governor in Puerto Rico. It was hard for the Puerto Rican people to accept a new ruler, a new language, and a new culture.

The Puerto Rican people were not happy with the form of government. Some people wanted to become citizens of the United States; others did not.

Then, in 1917, a law was passed in Congress, and the Puerto Ricans became American citizens.

In 1928 a terrible hurricane caused much damage in Puerto Rico, especially in agriculture and housing.

Later, in 1930, came the Great Depression. People all over the world were very poor and hungry. Even in the United States thousands of people lost their jobs, but there were jobs in the United States for people who worked on farms—in New Jersey, picking tomatoes, in Georgia, picking peaches, in New York, picking apples. Many Puerto Ricans came to work in these places, and when the harvest was over, they would fly back to meet their families.

Later they wanted their families to join them in the United States, and in the late 1960’s, these people were very excited about coming to a new land. They became the newest group of immigrants in this country. Years before, other people had come from Europe.

Little by little, Puerto Ricans began to make a home for themselves in the United States. There were Puerto Rican neighborhoods where stores sold tropical fruits and vegetables that the Puerto Ricans eat on the island. Later, newspapers and magazines written in Spanish appeared, and Spanish programs came to radio and television.

In time, many of these people and others from the island moved to Connecticut to work on farms. In Hartford, Puerto Ricans worked on tobacco; in Orange, they picked vegetables, etc.

Soon they came to New Haven, too. Now the Puerto Rican population is larger than when the first Puerto Ricans came here, because once a Puerto Rican has established a home in the United States, he opens his house to friends and relatives, repeating the pattern of those who came before him.

Reading: Problems That the Puerto Rican People Encountered When They Came to New Haven and Other Cities

#1 Problems with the language.

At home the children spoke Spanish; at school they were expected to speak English.

This was difficult for most of them. They could count very well in Spanish, but they might get poor grades in arithmetic taught in English.

The students often spoke a little Spanish and a little English, mixing the languages together. For example, roofruffo, cheatingcheriando, watchingwatchando. Ando is the present participle in Spanish.

Schools in the United States at that time did not have teachers who could speak and write in Spanish. Later more and more Spanish teachers were hired, and students were able to read and write in the two languages. Now they are bilingual.

#2 Puerto Rican family names

A student whose name was Luis Rivera Martinez was carrying the two parents’ last names. Rivera is Luis’ father, and Martinez was his mother’s father. This was very confusing for American teachers.

#3 Difference in climate

Just when the school year started, the weather would grow cooler. Puerto Rican children, used to a warm climate, found they needed heavier clothing. Because they felt very uncomfortable walking outside in cold weather, they would not come to school. This situation provoked a great absenteeism in children from Puerto Rico and other Spanish speaking countries.

#4 Too much freedom

The children, influenced by school friends and neighborhoods, became increasingly independent, and parents lost authority and respect.

#5 There were no Spanish speaking people in public places, such as hospitals, stores, police departments, and other places of public assistance. Since the children were learning English, they were the translators for parents and other relatives. Most of the time, children helped their relatives in the morning. This situation increased the students’ absenteeism from school. Many even dropped out of school.

In order to help correct these problems, many people who had lived in New Haven for a number of years came together to create or involve themselves in different agencies, such as Junto, an Hispanic advocacy agency. This agency runs a program for dropouts, ages 1621. Another agency, founded by the Archdiocese of Hartford, is called Centro San Jose. This agency works especially with students during the summer. Another agency is LULAC, or the League of United Latin American Citizens. This agency provides orientation, economic and educational assistance for parents and students in the community. There is the Lation Youth Center and others.

Reading: What Puerto Rican People Do in New Haven

Actually there are many Puerto Rican people involved in the different aspects of the city: working as doctors, nurses, secretaries, dentists, lawyers, sales people, restaurant staff, school teachers and principals, college teachers, beauticians, taxi drivers, policemen, fire fighters. Others work at radio stations, on TV programs, in banks, at the gas company, the telephone company or the electric company.

A high percentage of the Puerto Rican people own their own houses and have other houses for rent. Many of them are business men and women who work in real estate. Many of the Puerto Rican students have part time jobs after school. More and more students are continuing their education and going to college.

Recommended Films:

1.“Our School in the Community” (p) (fsr)
2.“How You Act is More Important Than How You Look” (p) (fs-c)
3.“Young Teens and Family Relationships”
4.“Why People Have Special Set Jobs”
5.“My City Home” (fsr) (pi)
6.“Neighborhoods Are Different” (im)

Week Five: Famous Puerto Ricans

Objectives: I will concentrate heavily on oral expression skills.
With this unit I hope to raise my students’ pride and excitement by learning about Puerto Ricans who have done many good things for their country, whether that be Puerto Rico in its early years or the United States. Since I teach students in New Haven, I will draw specifically on the lives of people from New Haven. Teaches using this unit in other cities can, of course, omit the part on New Haven and include important Puerto Ricans from their own communities.

New Vocabulary Words:


Procedure: The teacher will begin this unit by saying: As we learned earlier, the Puerto Rican people were having a difficult time living on their island. They were very unhappy with the kind of government imposed by the North American government.
By the 1930’s about 100,000 acres of the best farmland in Puerto Rico belonged to Americans who seldom came to the island. The big businesses, like the railroad, the telephone company, the electric company, and others belonged to American people also, and there were many Puerto Rican people without jobs.

A few Puerto Ricans believed that drastic action was necessary. They felt that Puerto Rico had to be free from the United States.

Pedro Albizu Compos, a lawyer, founded the Nationalist Party to demand independence for Puerto Rico. He felt that Puerto Ricans should fight for independence if the United States would not grant it peacefully. His fiery speeches against injustice attracted many listeners. Albizu Campos was arrested and spent many years in jail. He is still remembered as a brave man who loved his country.

Luis Munoz Marin: One of the most important politicians was Luis Munoz Marin. His father was also a famous political leader. He spent part of his life in the United States so he could speak both English and Spanish very well. He enjoyed writing. His poems and articles appeared in many magazines in the United States. He formed the Popular Democratic Party in Puerto Rico. Its slogan was “Bread, Land and Liberty for Everyone!” The symbol of his party was the straw hat worn by the jibaros or peasants. He concentrated his campaign upon economic and social reforms, demanding distribution of land, minimum wages, and improvement in working conditions. He contributed greatly to the growth of a sense of equality and importance among the rural people. Luis Munoz Marin was elected to the senate; he was the most important Puerto Rican in the government and in Puerto Rican history.

Rita Moreno was born in Humacao, Puerto Rico. Her parents are Paco Alverin and Rosa Maria Marcano. Her mother emigrated to New York when Rita was a child. They came to the United States by ship. After a twelve days’ sea voyage, they arrived in New York in stormy weather. Rita Moreno has been very active as an actress, singer, dancer, and television personality. She is the only performer ever to win the four most important awards in the world given to four different types of entertainment.

She became very famous with her performance in the movie musical “West Side Story”; for this performance she won an Oscar in 1962. She created a very popular children’s television series, “The Electric Company.” She also won two awards for her appearances on television’s “The Muppet Show” in 1977. She is a very famous woman in the artistic field in the United States. She married a doctor in New York and gave birth to two daughters: Fernanda and Juliana.

Roberto Clemente was a very famous baseball player. He was born in Carolina, Puerto Rico in 1934. He was the youngest of seven children.

Roberto was a happy child. He loved his family, he loved Puerto Rico, and he loved baseball. He joined his first neighborhood baseball team when he was eight years old. Ten years later at the age of 18, he signed his first professional baseball contract. He played for the Santurce team in the Puerto Rican Winter League. Later he started playing with the Pittsburgh Pirates team. He spent the rest of his career playing with them.

Pittsburgh had waited for 33 years for a victory over the Yankees. The Yankees had won ten pennants and eight World Series in twelve years from 1947 to 1959. They were the top team with the top players. But the Pirates surprised everybody and won the Series against the Yankees. Roberto Clemente was the hero. He had more hits than anyone else on the team. Everybody was very excited. In 1966 he won the “Most Valuable Player” award and many other awards, in eluding the Babe Ruth Award in 1971.

In 1972 Roberto Clemente heard about a terrible earthquake in Nicaragua He felt sorry for the people and wanted to help them. He left Puerto Rico with an airplane full of food, clothing, and medicine for the earthquake victims; but he never arrived in Nicaragua. He died when his plane crashed.

After his death, his name was placed in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Our school and many other schools in this country and in Puerto Rico have his name in honor of his fame as a good baseball player and a good man.

Dr. Antonia Novello was born in Fajardo, Puerto Rico in August, 1944. Her parents are Ana and Antonio Novello. She graduated in medicine from the University of Puerto Rico in San Juan. Later she received a diploma from Michigan University for her studies in internal medicine and pediatrics.

Dr. Novello has received many honors from universities in the United States, such as Pediatric Nephrology project officer in the National Institute for Arthritis, Metabolism, and Digestive Diseases. She has worked on the U.S. Senate committee on Labor and Human Resources. She was also a participant in a program for Arthritis, Diabetes, Digestive, and Kidney Diseases and other research.

Dr. Novello has received many awards for her dedication in the field of medicine. She received the award in pediatrics from Michigan University in 1971, and the Woman of the Year Award of distinguished graduates and public search systems.

Her favorite hobby is collecting antique furniture.

Pura Delgado is one of the most active members in the Puerto Rican community in New Haven. She came to New Haven in 1966. Since then, she has been involved in the creation of many agencies of assistance for the Hispanic community, such as the construction of Hill Health Center and the Fair Haven Clinic. She served as supervisor of Home Maker Service Program, designed to provide services to the sick and old people in the community. She has worked with the Latino Youth Center, Connecticut Mental Health Center, and the Adult Learning Center. She was very active also in the founding of Junto, Centro San Jose, LULAC, and other agencies of social assistance. Besides this, she has given individual help to students who came in a precarious condition from the island and demonstrated interest in achieving a higher education.

Mrs. Delgado is a very hard worker and dedicated business woman who for twelve years had a bridal shop. Today she is the owner of a grocery store at 543 Howard Avenue.

Aida Ortega is another active woman who has worked hard to improve the way of life not only of the Puerto Rican people but of all the Hispanics living in New Haven.

She has lived in New Haven for more than 25 years. She also has been working in the development of agencies of public assistance, such as the Model Cities Program. She served as advisor in the development of recreational centers and chairman of Junto for Progressive Action. She also worked hard in the founding of Hill Health Center, the Home Maker Services Program, Connecticut Mental Health Center, and others. Mrs. Ortega is a very competent person, dedicated, and has a nice personality.

Her first job in New Haven was in the dining halls at Yale University. Later she worked for several years at the First National Bank. At the present time, she is working for the Connecticut National Bank as manager of the East Street branch.

Lately Mrs. Ortega has been involved in political campaigns and worked hard on behalf of Mayor Daniels.

Mrs. Ortega feels happy about her contributions to the Hispanic community. She feels proud when she walks by Casa Otonal, a five floor building created for the elderly, when she sees the old people who live there are happy and comfortable.

Miguel Garcia is another example of outstanding Puerto Rican people in the community. He was for many years Chief of Narcotic and Drug Prevention in the police department. Now he has risen to a higher position with the rank of Captain.

Related Activities:

¥invite outstanding Puerto Rican people from the community to talk to the students
¥bring things to the classroom made by Puerto Rican people: paintings, arts and crafts, etc.
¥bring the Hispanic newspaper to the classroom and look for people who have done important things in the community

Recommended Films:

1.“What We Have Done”
2.“Our Way of Doing things”
3.“What Is an American?”
4.“How to Keep What We Have” 11mn (brw) (h)
5.“Identity” (most important person) 6mn color (kp)
6.“I Owe You Nothing” 10mn-color (mh)
7.“People Who Help Others” (mb) (2fslr)
8.“Think of Others First” (mb) (2fslr)
9.“Community Organizer”
10.“Learning to be Good Citizens (pi)
11.“Learning About Community Services” (im)

Lesson Plan I

Tour of the Green and its surrounding areas: one church, one bank, and the Court House


a.to expose my students to different structures and environments
b.to enable them to compare objects and environments looking always at the intrinsic values in each of these structures—for example, religion, authority, money work, etc.

Procedure: In order for the students to enjoy the tour and to enable them to compare the different places we will visit, I will take the students to the school library to search for books and pictures that describe the Green and its surrounding areas.

Questions for Discussion: I will try to promote thinking skills through my questions by the following: induction and deduction, cause and effect, comparative behavior, hypothetical thinking, drawing conclusions, etc. For example:

1.Do you think that the people built these buildings following the styles of their native countries?
2.By looking at the size of the first churches, do you think that many people attended them at the time they were built?
3.Why do you think that more banks were built later in New Haven?
4.Which of the stores around the Green do you think has the most sales daily?
5.Do you think it was a good thing that the early immigrants came to New Haven?

Lesson Plan II

Immigration of the Puerto Rican Family and their Involvement in New Haven


1.Through this unit I intend that my students learn about the major reasons that their families came to New Haven.
2.I hope to raise my students’ selfesteem by recognizing the intelligence, great dedication and effort of the Puerto Rican people in New Haven to provide the best for their community.
3.I hope to improve oral expression skills by encouraging student participation in class discussion.

Procedure: Students will read the passage “What Puerto Rican People Do in New Haven”.

Questions for Discussion:

1.How long have you been in New Haven?
2.Do you have relatives who came in the 1960’s?
3.Do you think that it is different now? Why?
4.What do you think of these people who have worked very actively in New Haven?
5.Do you know some of them?
6.Have you ever been to some of these agencies?
7.What would you like to do when you grow up?

Related Activities:

to invite a Puerto Rican person to the class to talk to the students about their work—preferably a fireman or policeman

Lesson Plan III

Famous Puerto Rican: Dr. Antonia Novello


1.With this lesson I hope that my students will feel proud that a Puerto Rican woman has studied very hard and achieved so many good things for the protection of other peoples’ health.
2.With this lesson I will use the Whole Language Approach Technique, bridging from Dr. Novello’s studies into science lessons. We will study the different systems of the human body and their functions: the digestive system, the circulatory system, the kidneys and other organs. We will also study the diseases diabetes, arthritis, etc.

Activities and Materials: Students will identify the parts of the human body

¥describe its functions
¥complete written assignments


¥science books
¥colored posters for descriptions
¥transparencies, dittos, films, and other materials

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Aran, Kenneth: Puerto Rican History and Culture, A study Guide and Curriculum Outline.

Audiovisual Materials Catalog 18931985: Recommended Movies, New Haven Public Schools Winter School.

Balerdi, Susan: France The Crossword of Europe, Dillon Press Inc., Minneapolis ,Minnesota.

Bilingual Office: Puerto Rico Discovery Day, November 19, 1993.

Bridoni, Richard: We live in Spain.

Burdette, Barbara: The Puerto Rican on the Island, On the Mainland, In Connecticut. Connecticut Documents Education.

Connecticut History and Culture: Celebrate Connecticut 350 Years. A Historical Overview and Resource Guide for Teachers.

Cordasco, Francesco and Eugene Buchian: The Puerto Rican Children in Mainland Schools, Metuchen, New Jersey. Scorecran Press 1968.

Current Bibliography Year Book: Rita Moreno,1981985 R920 c60.

Dmetz, Nancy Susan: Language Development through Content: Our people and Other Stories, Addison Wesley Publishing Co.

Fraser, Bruce: The land of Steady Habits, A brief history of Connecticut.

From The Puerto Rican Community in New Haven: Aida Ortega, Interview on 70690.

From the Puerto Rican Community in New Haven: Pura Delgado, Interview on 7290.

Gorman, Benjamin A.: Living in Style.:The New Haven Green and Its Architecture, Elements of Architecture.

Halliburton, Warren J.: The People of Connecticut., Connecticut Yankee Publications, Inc., Norwalk, Connecticut.

Journal Curie 91583: New Haven inf. Hispanic, New Haven Public Library.

Mcfairland, Jeaket: Festivals, Silver Burdett Company.

Miller, Arthur: Places and Peoples of the World, Spain, Chelsea House, New York, Philadelphia.

New Haven Register 10983: Center Helping Hispanic Grow. New Haven Public Library.

Perez, Martinez Aurelio: El Mundo y Mi Comunidad, Cultural Puertoriquena., Inc.

Sledge, Betsy and Fayen, Eugene: Enjoying New Haven, A guide to the area.

Steward, Julio Haynes: The People of Puerto Rico.

Tovar, Federico Ribes: Enciclopedia Puertrorriquena Ilustrada, Plus Ultra Educational, Publishing, Inc.

UNICEF United Nations: UNICEFS Festival Book, Copyright 1966 by United States Committee. Library of Congress Card #AC66010853.

Who’s who in America: Novello Dr. Antonia Coello. 45 Edition 19881989

Yokoyama, Masani: Photography.

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Briston, Richard: We Live in Spain, A living Here Book, The Book Wright Press., New York, 1984.

Carsaniga, Pamela: Living in Rome, Wayland.

Lee, Mary and Sachner, Mark J.: Children of the World, Sapin, Garth Stevens Publishing, Milwakee.

McFarland, Jeanne: Festivals, Silves Burdett Company.

Miller, Arthur: Places and People of the world, Chelsea House, New York, Philadelphia.

Perez Marinez, Aurelio and Dr. Cubero, Jose H.: EI Mundo Y Mi Comunidad, Cultural Puertoriquena, Inc.

United States committee: UNISEF’S Festival Book, For Unicef United Nations, New York, Library of Congress, Card #7c66-10853.

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