Students will be able to:
Respond to prompt in journals
Read "American Invasion of Macun" by Esmeralda Santiago
Compare and America's values with Puerto Rico's
Evaluate the relationship between the Americanos and the people of Macun.
Assess the validity of the "American Invasion of Macun"
As a pre-reading exercise, I will ask students to answer the following prompt that will be on the board in their journals:
Imagine politicians decided that your country was going to be annexed onto another country. They then decided they were going to change what you learned in school and change the national language. They even decided what you were going to eat at school and try to change what your mother feeds you at home. How would you respond? What would you do to preserve the ways that you had previously experienced school? What would you say to your parents who were being told to change as well?
In using this prompt I want students understand what was done in schools in Puerto Rico in an attempt to Americanize the island. It is important for students to connect to the literature they are going to reading. Often when students read about character's problems in literature they respond "I wouldn't allow that" or "If that was me, I would…". It is important that as teachers we present the problem to students before they actually read the text so students see the difficulty with simplistic statements as those given. In this case we not only see young Negi being convinced of the importance of an American way of life, but also her mother. Using this prompt will ask students to really consider what would happen if even their parents were told to do something they didn't believe in. If my students could conceptualize their parents not having a choice, they could understand the frustration and anger that Negi felt about the "invasion" of Americans way of live being imposed on her way of life.
After reading "The American Invasion of Macun" I will give the students the following passages for close reading:
"La Buena nutrition is muy importante para los ninos". In heavily accented, hard to understand Castillian Spanish he described the necessity of eating portions of each of the foods on his chart every day. There were carrots and broccoli, iceberg lettuce, apples, pears, and peaches. The bread was sliced into perfect square, unlike the long loaves Papi brought home from the bakery in San Juan, or the round pan de manteca Mami bought at Vitin's store. There was not rice on the chart, no beans, no salted codfish. There were big white eggs, not like the small round ones our hens gave us. There was a tall glass of milk, but no coffee. There were wedges of cheese, but no balls of cheese like the white queso del pais wrapped banana leaves sold in bakeries all over Puerto Rico. There were bananas but no plaintain, potatoes but no batatas, cereal flakes but no oatmeal, bacon but no sausages"
"But senor," said Dona Lola from the back of the room, "none of the fruits or vegetables on your chart grow in Puerto Rico".
"The centro communal had been decorated with posters. Dick and Jane, Sally and Spot, Mother and Father, the Mailman, the Milkman, and the Policeman smiled their way through tableau after tableau, their clean, healthy, primary-colored world flat and shadowless"
I want students to recognize the distinct cultural differences between the United States and Puerto Rico. Once students are able to identify the differences they can then analyze the reasons the United States wanted to Americanize Puerto Rico. I want students to question: Was it effective to instill American ideology of good nutrition and hygiene onto Puerto Ricans? Did the Americanization attempts cause animosity or appreciation among Puerto Ricans? I also want students to examine the way that the Americanos went about approaching the Puerto Ricans to change their living conditions. I want them to evaluate the types of food the Americanos chose to educate the Puerto Rican women. I also want them to examine Negi's family and compare it to the Dick and Jane family. Is the Dick and Jane family attainable for Negi's family? Why or why not? I will then ask students to work in groups come up more effective strategies to have educated Puerto Ricans about good nutrition and hygiene that are attainable. Students will then present their ideas to the class. Individually students will write a response evaluating the effectiveness of the strategies used in the text.