As an educator and as a language teacher, my priority is to inculcate a global consciousness and an international perspective based in respect to all my students. I consider it crucial to teach them to value how lucky they are to grow up in a multi-cultural society. Most of the high school students I teach are not aware of the innumerable personal and educational advantages this society/environment provides them. As a Spanish teacher, I try to do this through the study of identity, society and culture of the many countries that form what has been called the Hispanic/Latino World. I have always in mind the "5Cs"- Cultures, Connections (among disciplines), Comparisons (between cultures), Communication, and Communities- that the National Standards of Foreign Language Learning promote, and I intend to put them into context in this unit.
The present unit offers me the opportunity to introduce art in the classroom in a meaningful way and as an instrument to teach history, culture and language. Some of my students have not yet been exposed to different artistic movements, and they find it difficult to interpret what they see. In this unit, students will learn about the renaissance of public mural painting in Mexico after the Revolution (1910-1917) and about Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco and David Alfaro Siqueiros, the three leading Mexican muralists, who turned revolutionary propaganda into one of the most powerful and significant achievements in the 20th century art. They will recognize the importance of images and how art reflects and influences the social, political and cultural development of society. After considering the artists' international influence, and how they trespassed boundaries when assigned different projects in the United States as part of Roosevelt's New Deal, we will move to the young Chicano artists and activists who developed a strong new mural movement to support social activism during the 1960s. We will then focus on learning how this Chicano movement developed and we will discuss how to comprehend and interpret the symbols Chicano artists represented.
By exploring Mexican and Chicano muralism, the present unit will help students value, recognize, analyze and interpret art by using their critical thinking skills. They will practice reading, writing, and speaking in Spanish.
The unit will be used at The Sound School Regional Vocational Aquaculture and Agriculture Center in New Haven. It is a unique magnet school with a hands-on marine and agriculture program which offers students a blend of academic and practical education, and which encourages interdisciplinary study. The Sound School enrolls students from New Haven and twenty-one surrounding towns, creating a diverse community that reinforces student's social and intellectual learning. The result is a racially, ethnically and socio-economically diverse student body with a broad range of academic abilities in which we encourage students to be participants in a multi-cultural society by involving them in a wide based exciting high school experience.
I will use this unit with my Spanish 4 students, who have an Intermediate level on the ACTFL (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages) Performance Guidelines for K-12. Because they are able to use advanced grammatical structures, and we will be working in their proficiency in all four language skills: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Students will hone their higher order thinking skills as they learn to express complex opinions and analyze history through art, and art through history in Spanish.
Most of the class activities for this unit will be conducted in Spanish, but English will be used when necessary. With proper modifications, the unit could also be taught in Spanish 3 or in Advanced Placement Spanish classes.
The material will be covered over a period of about 20 sessions, each of which will be from forty to seventy minutes in length, depending on the rotational period system we follow in my school. This system allows me to use the longer periods to implement different more complex strategies and activities such as the "SPARC lesson," movies…