This unit will utilize both fictional and non-fictional works in pursuing these goals. Though developing reading skills will be the foundation of most lessons, the unit will be interdisciplinary in approach, touching on many other areas of the curriculum. Activities, especially those related to cultural traditions, will be shared with other classrooms and some will be a part of the Beecher Team's culminating activity during the Spring of the following year. Units written by the other three members of the Beecher Team also appear in this volume. All of these units aim to increase pupils' understanding and appreciation of different groups and cultures from their own.
The two key curriculum areas involved in the teaching of this unit are reading and social studies. Though at times activities will involve these subjects independently, generally they will be closely integrated, since one will strengthen understanding in the other. Generally the social studies component will flow from the reading. Examining the folk tales of Puerto Rico and Mexico cannot help but clarify the picture of colonial life as it existed in these areas as well as giving a glimpse of cultural traditions and beliefs. Another strong component of this unit is its relationship to New Haven's Social Development Curriculum. The personal and group issues raised in most of the suggested reading material easily lend themselves to activities related to this area. Role-playing is an excellent vehicle which will be used here.
Discussing whether Carlos, in
That Bad Carlos
by Mina Lewiton, is really ‘bad", exploring the pressures that motivated him, and examining whether pupils have ever done anything similar to the "bad" things Carlos did, are just samples of the many socially relevant topics which present themselves for consideration in most stories suggested in this unit.