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Expanding Fifth Grade Ethnic Awareness (Latino and Native American) Through Literature

Jean E. Sutherland

Contents of Curriculum Unit 95.04.08:

To Guide Entry

As the teacher of a self-contained fifth grade classroom, one of my most successful units written as an Institute member has involved a study of the novel, “Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry”, by Mildred Taylor. In this unit, pupils examine the experiences of a nine year old African American girl living in Mississippi during the early 1930’s. Cassie Logan and her brothers, parents, extended family, and community survive the racial and economic cruelty of the times through mutual support and understanding. Through various lessons and discussions, the class expands its knowledge of African American history on a more personal level. The events of slavery, the Civil War, Reconstruction, and the Depression take on a meaning that history books do not provide. A knowledge of the obstacles faced by African Americans of this period unfolds as they also come to recognize the strengths of family and community and the variety of attitudes and actions of the white community, including the very negative and the very positive.

To expand upon the success of these experiences, this present unit will attempt to examine the life of a Latina teenage girl and that of a Native American girl of about the same age as my pupils. In a manner similar to the previous unit, lessons will focus on the historical and personal experiences and values of the particular group involved.

This unit is designed for a fifth grade classroom which averages twenty-five students ranging in age from ten to twelve. Only a few are close to thirteen. They come from a variety of socio-economic backgrounds and home situations. Their academic ability and the level of their general knowledge also vary considerably. A few children have considerable trouble reading on grade level while a few qualify for the city’s talented and gifted program. Generally, their basic skill level is below average, but many have potential well beyond this point. As in the school as a whole, about ninety percent are African American, three or four are Latinos, with perhaps one or two who are white. Some are members of families with multiple problems. Few of their lives are without difficulties. Though they might be reluctant to admit it, most enjoy school at this stage of their lives, but not just for the academics. Many, though not all, parents or guardians are supportive of the school in particular and education in general. Some want to be helpful but are not sure of the best way to go about it. Often the struggles of everyday life thwart their efforts. Right now most of the children have lofty goals in life but soon will be facing the competition of more academically prepared peers, along with meeting the pressures which all teenagers, especially those growing up in inner city America, encounter.

One of the major topics covered during the social studies curriculum in the fifth grade classroom I have described involves a study of United States history. Through a variety of activities, the group travels the chronological route through our nation’s history, highlighting the roles played by African Americans on this trip. By including this present unit, I hope to present an equally relevant picture of the participation of Latinos and Native Americans in this history, as well as develop an understanding of the forces that influence the present day lives and attitudes of these groups. Similarities and differences among all groups should evolve from proposed activities.

Lessons will easily integrate with social studies, reading, and language arts areas of the curriculum. The selected novels will be read both by the teacher orally and individually by pupils. Related historical research will involve reporting, related readings, personal investigations, and guest speakers.

I have selected two novels which I believe will allow me to present a relevant picture of Latino and Native American participation in this country’s history, as pupils develop an understanding of the forces influencing the present day lives and attitudes of each group.

The two novels are “Juanita Fights the School Board” by Gloria Velasquez and “A Brown Bird Singing” by Frances Wosmek. In many ways, the primary character in each novel, both are girls, and experiences she encounters are quite different, but each should provide ample opportunity for pupils to see and discuss the similarities and differences in the forces influencing each girl’s life. Students will then be able to compare their findings to the life of Cassie Logan in “Roll of Thunder” and finally to the experiences they have encountered in their own lives or observed in the lives of others they know or have heard of through family history.

A discussion of each novel should serve to clarify the various activities and points of investigation and discussion I will suggest. Some are presented briefly as the story is examined. Others will be mentioned in more detail later, along with suggested areas of comparison among the novels.

In “Juanita Fights the School Board”, Gloria Velasquez introduces us to Juanita Chavez, a poor Mexican American girl of about 15, living in San Diego during the 1990’s. For fighting in school, Juanita has been expelled for an entire school year. She is a sophomore at Roosevelt High School which has a reputation for being insensitive to its few minority students. Though Juanita is four or five years older than most of my pupils, she faces problems which they will soon face and some which they have already encountered. In varying form, they are influenced by the same pressures that play a role in Juanita’s life. Much of her strength comes from the same sources my students drew upon.

Through the help of her best friend Maya, Juanita meets Sandra Martinez, a Mexican American, who is “some kind of shrink” with an all white clientele. Ms. Martinez takes Juanita’s cause and together with Sam Turner, a white Civil Rights lawyer, supports Juanita in her challenge of the school board.

Ms. Martinez, or Sandy, who shares the spotlight with Juanita in this novel, is a thirty-six year old Mexican American therapist. She is married to Frank, an Anglo-American, who is an accountant, as well as being a caring, supportive husband. We become aware of the conflicts Ms. Martinez has with her mother and of the shadows from the past which seem to come alive as she is drawn more closely into Juanita’s life where she often sees reflections of her past.

Each of these situations opens the ways to productive discussion: How would you feel if you had a daughter who married a person of a different ethnic background? How do you think Frank felt around Sandy’s family? Why did Ms. Martinez think of her old boyfriend, Raul? How were her parents similar to Juanita’s parents? Was anyone at fault when Sandy’s brother died in the car accident? Why was Ms. Martinez so refreshed when she worked with Juanita and so exhausted from her other clients?

These and other questions will be a natural, on-going part of discussion and activities conducted as the novel is read. Some will be incidental while others will be the specific focus of a planned lesson. Some will center on recognizing more universal truths such as the need of children to assert their independence, while others will bring out influences more particular to Mexican American families such as the traditional roles of husband and wife within the family structure.

As we follow Juanita through a series of rocky hearings before the school board, we learn much about the social structure of Roosevelt High, the Mexicans, blacks, Puerto Ricans, socies, and the heavy-mental kids. Being small in number, the Mexicans, blacks, and Puerto Ricans band together to form their own group. While examining the issues, negative and positive, raised by these divisions, students should be able to relate the same issues to ethnic, racial, and social divisions they see among peers and within their family, community, city, and country as a whole. Again, incidental discussion and comments, as well as specific lessons will address this topic.

At home we see the structure and interaction which exists in Juanita’s family. ‘Apa, a migrant worker who speaks no English, is obviously ruler of the clan. He is usually unbending in his decisions, though ‘Ama is often looked to for support and the one who might influence the final outcome. Despite the absolute rule he attempts to exert and the schemes of rebellion it fosters, it is obvious that he cares and wants what he sees as best for his family.

Carlos can be an understanding older brother but most often seems to be practicing to assume a role similar to that performed by ‘Apa. He is not responsible for any household chores, is not required to attend church, a woman’s function except for special occasions, seems to come and go as he pleases, and, at his convenience, watches over Juanita’s social activities, especially those relating to the opposite sex. He wants to quit school in order to make money for the things he must now go without. This is one move on Carlos’s part which ‘Apa strongly opposes.

‘Ama is a hard working, obedient wife. She will attempt to influence or manipulate ‘Apa but is seldom successful. Her life is devoted to taking care of her six children and husband. She seems to cook constantly and take care of the home and children, except when there is opportunity to work in the fields. At those times, major duties are transferred to Juanita, especially the care of the three younger ones. ‘Ama’s most independent venture seems to be transporting the girls and herself to church, a task performed only because her devotion overcomes her fear of driving, a fear fostered by her inability to read signs written in English.

Sister Celia, who is a boy-crazy thirteen year old, must always be bribed by Juanita who needs to buy her sister’s silence and cooperation in various schemes designed to allow Juanita to go places ‘Apa has forbidden. The three younger children, especially Markey, are cute and often become the responsibility of Juanita, but they are not developed in much detail.

Both as individuals and as part of an interacting family, these people will be examined through discussion as the book is read and within specific lessons that focus on cultural, social, and economic forces which influence their behavior. References to how something was done in Mexico will be accompanied by related research where possible.

Juanita’s relationships with her peers form an important part of this novel. Pupils should find many of these references pertinent to their own lives. Of particular, but not exclusive, importance is Juanita’s developing sexuality which often collides with ‘Apa’s wishes. Maya, who calls herself Chicano, has Mexican parents who are both professionals. Often, they unwittingly provide the girls with transportation that allows Maya to see Tyronne, an African American, and Juanita to see Rudy, the object of her affection. Along with Rina and Tommy, these people are the primary members of Juanita’s social group.

Though these social meetings, at a teen dance club and at the Mall, are achieved through lies on the girls’ part, the gatherings are positive and age- appropriate. Some teenagers of today might even consider them old- fashioned. Either way, they provide opportunity for raising the issue of lying. Was it right? Were there alternatives? Ms. Martinez said that she lied as a youth. Was that O.K.? Have you ever lied when you thought there were no alternatives? What happened? Role play a situation where parents discover a child has lied. Did characters in any other story we read lie? (Roll of Thunder) What happened? (They feel guilty and eventually confess.) Were the circumstances different? (Opinion.)

The issue of prejudice is present throughout the book, ranging from the school faculty and school board to the people who stare when they see a group of Chicano and African American teens together at a Mall.

Discussion and role play fit readily into place when dealing with these sensitive, pertinent issues. Have you ever been stared at when you thought the looks were related to your race or ethnic background? Have you ever done the same? How did you feel in both situations? What was the Dean of Students’ reaction to Ms. Martinez’s criticism of the school? Does he realize he is prejudiced? Why might he be prejudiced? If you or someone you know is prejudiced against some group, how do you think you or they got that way? Assign a few people in class to be part of a group to be discriminated against because of the prejudice of the rest of the class. Label them with a ribbon or sticker. Set up ground rules. After a designated time, discuss the reactions of both groups. Relate these reactions to the realities existing today. Switch groups if time allows.

Throughout the novel, there are situations presented which are worthy of further discussion: Juanita’s relationship with Maya, the role Sam Turner might have played in the African American Civil Rights movement, Civil Rights action taken by Chicanos and those who supported them, the possible course that might be taken in the relationship between Sheena (The girl Juanita fought with) and Juanita, what lies ahead in Juanita’s long-range future. The individual teacher must decide what would be most valuable in a particular classroom.

As we begin the story, “A Brown Bird Singing” by Frances Wosmek, Anego is finishing the last day of fourth grade. She is closer in age to my students than Juanita Chavez was, but her circumstances in many respects seem worlds apart from those faced by my pupils today.

To begin, the story takes place on a farm in Minnesota sometime in the early 1900’s. Anego is a Native American, an Indian from the Chippewa, or Ojibwa tribe. She has lived with a white family, the Veselkas, since she was a very small child. When her mother died of a fever which swept through the tribe, killing many, her father Hamigeesek was forced to move on with the rest to hunt and gather wild rice. Thinking it was the best move possible, he left Anego with his white friend, Joseph Veselka, who, with his wife, have raised her, along with their daughter Sheila, as though Anego was their own. Hamigeesek had said he would return to take Anego back with him so that she would be with her own people again, but years have passed since then. To Anego, fulfillment of this promise would be the worst fate she could imagine. She has grown happy and content with what she now sees as her family, Ma, Pa, and Sheila. When she remembers that Hamigeesek might return, only the memory of a brown bird she once held in her hands can make her feel safe. Though it had flown away, remembering the bird reminds her to be brave and not afraid. Now, even the memory of the bird can not make that gnawing fear disappear, after she overhears Pa say that Hamigeesek has been seen by a trapper who said the Indian had been asking about Anego.

At this point, and perhaps earlier, it seems important that the class investigate the history of the Chippewa, or Ojibwa, tribe. References in this novel to the tribe’s history and traditions are very few, so it will be the students’ responsibility to research Anego’s heritage. In later lessons, they will be able to present her with information which will help her to develop a feeling of pride in her ethnic roots. Here is a brief summary of the tribe’s history.

The Ojibwa tribe was one of the largest, most important tribes of North America. They were part of the Algonquin family, originally emigrating from the area of the St. Lawrence River. They moved along both shores of Lake Superior, scattering over a wide area and dividing into many clans. Their economy was based chiefly on hunting, fishing, farming, and the gathering of wild fruits and seeds, especially wild rice. (The reason Hamigeesek was forced to leave.) They also made maple sugar, a task performed by Anego and the Veselkas. Their homes were a wigwam style covered with birchbark. Pictographic records were kept on birchbark sheets.

Before white settlers came, the Ojibwa fought for many years with the Sioux and French over the wild rice fields near Lake Superior. Eventually they drove out the Sioux. They fought with the French in their wars against England and in the Revolution they sided with England. After joining with other tribes in the signing of a peace treaty with the United states, they gradually sold away the greater part of their territory in subsequent treaties. Today they live in reservations in Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, and Montana.

Another major area of focus will be the Veselka family. In order to better understand Anego’s feelings toward her white family, pupils need to develop a knowledge of these people. this should help them to make decisions regarding the possible course of Anego’s future.

Katherine Veselka, with her red, naturally curly hair, was a native of Ireland. Her large family had lived in a city filled with many people. Life in rural Minnesota was vastly different from what it had been in Ireland and though she loved her family dearly, she missed the green Irish countryside and especially the many friends she had had. “It’s lovely here, but I do get so hungry to see more people.”

At home, Ma seemed happy to perform the many household duties required of her as wife and mother. She treated her family with affection and understanding. She was aware of the girls’ needs but did not always yield to their pressure, as when Sheila wanted low shoes like her friend Helen. Though Pa obviously was the final authority in the family, Ma was not reluctant to offer opinion and advice.

Joseph Veselka’s parents had come to America from Austria. They had traveled to Minnesota by wagon train where they started the homestead where Pa was born. As an adult, Pa founded his own homestead, clearing the land and building their house himself. He was a skilled farmer and conveyed a quiet confidence, especially to Anego. Like Ma, he treated his family with affection and understanding. He shared many of his activities with Anego, at times treating her more like a son.

Both parents spoke of Hamigeesek with kindness and respect. It seems obvious that they are torn between their love for Anego and their responsibility to return her to Hamigeesek. This is an obvious point for pupil discussion.

Although her white sister Sheila is three years older than Anego, she doesn’t seem to exert or try to exert much control over her younger sister. They share some activities at home but generally don’t seem to communicate in any depth. Despite this, it is clear that Sheila does not want her to leave. Pupils will discuss the possible causes of the seeming contradiction in the girls’ relationship.

In examining the family, it is important for students to look at the absence of Native American models in Anego’s life. What are the elements missing from her life that pupils think are important? How did this affect Anego’s attitudes toward being a Native American? How might it affect her as she grows older? If you were one of the Veselkas, what might you do differently? How do you think it would feel to be raised by a person of a different ethnic or racial background? Pretend that you are raising a child of a different ethnic or racial background. What problems would you expect and what would you do to counteract them?

Though the role of prejudice is not particularly overt and Anego does not allow herself to see it, this prejudice is clearly evident. Constant negative reference is made by Anego’s friends regarding the fact that she is a Native American. Her friend Mildred is particularly cruel in her comments and treatment of Anego. Mildred obviously considers herself superior. Even Ma and Pa could not believe that Hamigeesek had learned to write.

On a larger scale, the events of history had placed the Pawnee in a position of social and economic inferiority. This is reflected in the few glimpses the book gives us of Pawnee life and the references to the fact that things might be changing. Here, it is again necessary to have pupils research the history of Native American treatment by white America. Though the Ojibwa will be included, tribes from different areas will be included in these investigations.

The discovery of an abandoned baby deer provides Anego with both a companion and someone who needs her, as she thought Pa did, and a chance to utilize her “inherited” knack with wild things. Though she initially rejected the Indian name of Magwah for her deer, the animal helped her through the summer and the growing fear that Hamigeesek would come for her. The death of her charge and Ma’s pregnancy renewed the feeling that she was alone and would no longer be a valued member of the family. When the baby Michael was born, she became certain that her days with the Veselkas were numbered. Pa had a son to replace her.

Children should easily relate to Anego’s plight. The death of a valued pet and the birth of a sibling will be discussed as they relate to Anego and to the lives of students.

When Hamigeesek finally makes his appearance, it is a positive one for Anego, but we are left with the uncertainty of knowing what the future will hold. Pupils will speculate on various possibilities. They will write alternative conclusions regarding Anego’s fate, arguing the pros and cons of each. What elements of each family should be preserved? How can this be achieved? What do you want her to do ? What would you do? Why?

Although the plot, characters, and settings of these two books vary considerably, as they do from “Roll of Thunder”, there are a number of elements which draw them together. I have divided these elements into four areas which the class will investigate through discussion and various other activities. For my class, I will include “Roll of Thunder”, but this unit may be taught effectively with only the other two novels.

History: It is evident that the place of Latinos, Native Americans, and African Americans in United States history exerts a strong influence upon the behavior of the characters in all three novels. The history of each group will be studied as its representative story is read and then will be compared when all are completed. People of prominence will be researched along with important chronological events, particularly those relating to each novel. The Chicano Civil Rights movement, the gradual acquisition of Native American land, and the role of sharecropping in African American life are only a few. They will be investigated both independent of the stories, during social studies, and as influencing factors on the book’s characters. Classroom activities will include research, oral reports, bulletin board displays, the viewing of related videos, and the integration of related current events, such as the attempts of Native American groups to reclaim tribal land. Teachers will find suggested sources of information by examining the bibliography.

Family: Again, there is considerable variation to be found when examining the families in these stories. After becoming familiar with each, pupils will compare and contrast. How did each family express caring? How are the mothers and fathers similar as well as different? Role playing will be used by presenting a situation which will be dealt with by each of the families being studied. Similarities and differences will be noted. Possible influences will be explored.

How does the interaction of siblings vary? How is Cassie Logan’s older brother different from Carlos? Are they at all alike? What role do you feel Anego’s brother Michael will play as he gets older?

These, and other topics the teacher might select, should allow pupils to see both the outside influences exerting pressure upon each family and the internal effect the unit, itself, has upon its members, the support as well as the problems. How and why are the families alike and different? Which family would you prefer? Why? What would you change in any of the families?

Peers: Though peers play a role in both novels of this unit and in “Roll of Thunder”, they are most supportive in Juanita’s case, although the white majority at Roosevelt High exerts an ever-present negative pressure on Juanita and her friends. There is little positive to be found in Anego’s peers. Their influence further reinforces her inability to relate to her ethnic roots. In “Roll of Thunder”, Cassie’s peers vary considerably. Even when their role seems a negative one, the author provides us with insights that help us understand their motivation. Here, too, the white majority exerts an ever- present negative influence, though some white characters do play positive roles.

Each of these points will be examined through activities and discussion. From one of these novels, pick a friend, other than the main character and her family, for yourself. Why did you pick this person? Describe how you think your relationship would be. Give specific examples. Do the same with a character you would not like as a friend.

Prejudice: The matter of negative prejudice by the white community is present in all three novels. It is most overt in “Roll of Thunder” and most subtle in “A Brown Bird Singing”. Historical research and discussion in other areas should have made pupils well aware of its influence. A comparison of the type and degree of prejudice in each story might lead pupils to investigate causes for these differences, such as historical background, time, place, economic situation, and the individuals involved. This should lead to an examination of the positive whites in each situation and speculation about why differences in attitude within any race can evolve. Both of these examinations will then be personalized with pupils looking at different types of prejudice they have encountered both against and by them. Have they seen or do they feel varying degrees of prejudice? Are they aware of the more subtle forms of prejudice? Explain. Have they ever seen examples of prejudice within a racial or ethnic group? The example of Miss Crocker in “Roll of Thunder” may be cited.

This is a sensitive area which must be dealt with honestly but with a broad view that deals with the historical background, the present motivation, and the underlying fears of all groups, as well as the positive models, from all groups, who treat people as individuals. I feel that a study of these books opens the way to examining the issues frankly, yet positively.

There are other areas the individual teacher might choose to investigate. The role of community is a strong possibility for “Juanita Fights the School Board” and “Roll of Thunder”, and perhaps in “A Brown Bird Singing” for its seeming unimportance in comparison to the other two stories.

The length of this unit will be dictated by the amount of time the individual teacher chooses to use in developing the suggestions which have been made. The books might be read consecutively or at different times of the year. They might relate directly to social studies units or provide the motivation for them. Books might be purchased for each pupil or each story read orally by the teacher. Also, particular sections might be reproduced.

Whatever the approach, covering these two novels, and possibly “Roll of Thunder”, in the suggested manner, should provide pupils with a clearer picture of the roles played by Mexican Americans and Native Americans in the history of the United States and help to develop within pupils a better understanding of each group, as members of our present day society. This should be true for pupils who are members of any racial or ethnic group.


Lesson One

To develop an understanding and appreciation of the history, customs, and contributions of the Ojibwa, or Chippewa, tribe. To develop an understanding and appreciation of the many obstacles faced by the Ojibwa and other Native American tribes, past and present. To develop an increased ability to gather and organize information for an oral presentation. To develop an increased ability to utilize audio and visual aids during an oral presentation. To develop an increased ability to present an interesting, informative oral report.

Since Anego is provided with very little information about her tribe, it will be the pupils’ responsibility to gather this information and present it to Anego in a series of oral reports, with appropriate audio and/or visual aids.

After the novel has been read, the group again will discuss the absence of Native American, particularly Ojibwa, role models in Anego’s life. The fact that she is given little information on her tribe’s history and traditions will be reviewed. Pupils will then be asked to gather information on the Ojibwa which they feel will be of help and importance to Anego. This material then will be presented to the entire group which will represent Anego. The importance of audio and visual aids to enhance information will be stressed.

Specific topics will be organized by pupils and teacher. Possibilities include: Early history, modern history, economy, customs, the Ojibwa today, and perhaps subdivisions of these. Each area needs to be clearly defined so that pupils understand the scope of their research. The number of pupils working on each topic should be determined by the individual situation.

The class will be given appropriate time (probably about two weeks) and guidance to research and gather material. Class time as well as homework hours will be devoted to this project. Use of library material as well as any home resources will be encouraged. Techniques of practice and presentation will be demonstrated and stressed. Depending upon the group, another class might be invited to represent Anego. After the presentations, the group will evaluate each presentation regarding both its quality as an oral report and its value to Anego as she existed in the novel. Standards for these evaluations will be established beforehand.

Lesson Two

To develop the ability to internalize the involved fictional character’s behavior and transfer that character’s reactions to a role playing situation. To evaluate classmate’s ability to make this transfer. To examine different reactions to lying, including their own feelings. To develop alternatives to lying in a particular situation.

In “Juanita Fights the School Board”, there are considerable examples and discussion of lying. In “A Brown Bird Singing”, lying is more in the form of withholding information. If “Roll of Thunder” is being included, overt lying and withholding information can both be found. Lying in some form is not uncommon among fifth graders.

In this lesson, pupils will develop a role playing situation in which a lie has been told by each of the primary characters (Anego, Juanita, and possibly Cassie). The parents have discovered the lie and a family meeting is held, possibly including other characters from the novel. Through role playing and discussion, the class will examine how they feel the individuals will respond to the situation. They will then examine their own feelings toward the particular circumstance and toward lying in general.

A thorough review discussion of lying in these novels, as well as lying in general, will be held. Pupils will be asked to develop a role playing situation as noted above. Roles will be assigned and each family’s reaction will be enacted separately. Pupils will be given some time (perhaps overnight) to develop ideas about how their character might react. Points to consider include: How will the one who has lied justify her lie? How will the parents react? Will there be a punishment? Explain. What will siblings say? What if the sibling had a role in the lie? What will be the comments of others the group has included?

After the simulation has been completed, the following questions will be addressed: With which reactions do you agree or disagree? Explain. How do you think the reactions of each family member differ with one another and with the other family? How were they the same? How would you, your family, and your friends react if in a similar situation? Explain. Give some advice on how lying could have been avoided.

The discussion could probably go further to encompass instances where pupils have lied, their reasons, possible consequences, and their feelings about the lying now. (Role playing, with pupils assuming different points of view, might also be employed here.) It is important that the teacher refrain from being judgmental, though it seems appropriate to discuss possible alternatives.

Lesson Three

To develop an increased understanding and appreciation of the Chicano Movement in the United States. To develop a greater understanding and appreciation of the role played by Cesar Chavez in this movement. To be able to draw comparisons among Chicano, American Indian, and African American Civil Rights Movements, as well as among their leaders.

Juanita is introduced to the word “Chicano” by her friend Maya who explains that the term “shows you’re proud of your Indian blood.” Juanita doesn’t really understand the word but thinks “it sounds neat.”

Pupils will examine the life of Cesar Chavez and the role he played in the Chicano Movement of the early 1960’s. This will lead to an investigation of some of the organizations and individuals emerging from the renewal of ethnic pride in Mexican Americans.

By this point, pupils should have some understanding of Mexican American history, including the Spanish conquest, conflicts with the United States, continuing migrating, and growing problems. Maya’s use of the word “Chicano” will be reviewed. This will be used as motivation for pupils to investigate the life of Cesar Chavez. This task might be assigned to all pupils, but probably using a representative group which would report back to the whole class would be more practical. The class might also be divided into three groups: One researching Chavez, one examining Russell Means of the American Indian Movement, and one centering on Martin Luther King, Jr. From the information, pupils can create a time-line of relevant events which will be compared with a more general line covering events from the 1950’s until the present. They might also simulate a T.V. talk show on which all three men are guests. Adequately prepared pupils will field questions from other pupils.

Whatever method is used, pupil reports to the class will be the basis of further discussion. If all three men are included, comparisons will be made among the three leaders and the problems faced by each group. Progress made by each group will be noted in these comparisons. Additional readings and research will provide information on the various organizations that have grown from the Chicano Movement. Again, the same can be done regarding the Native American and African American movements. Existing classroom and library resources, as well as those listed in this unit’s bibliography, should provide the teacher with appropriate information.

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Probably, at least some portion of each book listed in this bibliography could be used in some manner with pupils. Conversely, event those books whose primary target is children contain valuable information for the teacher. Annotations should clarify the primary focus of each.

Bleeker, Sonia. “The Chippewa Indians”. New York: William Morrow and Company, 1955. Through the fictitious story of Older Brother and the Crane family, pupils can learn of how the Chippewa lived. Accompanied by interesting, informative sketches.

Catalano, Julie. “The Mexican Americans”. New York: Chelsea House, 1988. Traces the history of Mexican Americans from the Spanish conquest until the mid Twentieth Century. Considerable material on customs. Large number of photographs and sketches. Suitable for both teacher and pupils.

Gann, L.H. and Duignan, Peter. “The Hispanics in the United States”. Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1986. Gives the teacher a survey of the history, politics, and culture of all major Hispanic groups. Considerable debate on political and social issues.

Hundley Norris, ed. “The Chicano”. Santa Barbara, California: Clio Books, 1975. A collection of essays by both Chicano and Anglo authors. Gives teacher a sometimes more personal look at Chicano history and life in the South Western United States.

MacFarlan, Allan. “Book of American Indian Games”. New York: Associated Press, 1958. Contains details on 150 American Indian games. Organized according to various categories, “Racing and Kicking Games”, “Tossing and Catching Games”, and others. Instructions provide interesting reading and possible activities for pupils and later sharing or display.

Meltzer, Milton. “Hispanic Americans”. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1982. Main focus is on three Hispanic groups: Puerto Rican, Mexican, and Cuban. Discusses background and present day social problems. Interspersed with personal accounts by Hispanics who have experienced personal hardships. Interesting and informative. Easy to read for teacher and pupil. Interesting photographs.

Shorris, Earl. “Latinos”. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 1992. This narrative gives the teacher a more personal look at Latino history and life by intertwining biographical sketches of actual individuals of differing Latino backgrounds and attitudes.

Tanner, Helen Hornbeck. “The Ojibwa”. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1992. Presents a clear, easy to read, history, including various traditions, of the Ojibwa people. Suitable for teachers and many students. Excellent sketches, photographs, and maps accompany text. Presents picture of present day Ojibwa.

Velasquez, Gloria. “Juanita Fights the School Board”. Huston, Texas: Pinata books, 1994.

Wosmek, Frances. “A Brown Bird Singing”. New York: Beech Tree Paperback 1986.

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