A few ways to approach the subject of the Latino Civil Rights Movement is the connection with the social studies subject, this will fall into two standards of ACTFL, such as Connection and Culture.
Teacher has to keep in mind that middle school students are familiar with neither Chicano Movement nor the ideology behind it. Teacher must spend time exploring about the topic and build some background knowledge before teaching the unit.
A great way to build background knowledge for the teacher is to teach a few history lessons throughout the year and cooperate with the social studies teachers. It would beneficial for the teacher to expand more on the Chicano movement using the research above since it is a wide topic and covers the immigration problems in the last century.
An inspiration to write the two lessons came from other teachers and a plethora of lesson plans, YouTube videos, and paperwork on the topic made available on the internet. See website for teachers and students.
The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and the Mexican Population in US territory: The beginning of a journey full of struggles.
Time 55-60 minutes
Develop an understanding about the life of Mexican -American in the United States after the Treaty of Guadalupe was signed. Discuss why Mexicans in south western United States faced issues of racism and discrimination regardless the fact that they were in their own land.
Develop an understanding about the life of Mexican-Americans and their children in United States, especially in the Southwest in the 50s and 60s. Discuss issues of segregation of children of Mexican heritage in the public school system
Recall background knowledge if students have prior information about the Mexican-Mexican War. Connect with the social studies subject and explain why is it important to know the history of both countries.
Create a power point presentation or a short documentary about the main features of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. The internet also has a great variety of student or educators’ work on the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. It is very significant that students interpret then events objectively.
Some suggestions for YouTube videos or power point presentations are below.
A Google search “Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo” will generate a few interesting power points on the historical aspect of it. Teacher can use the videos below in two different lessons.
After the video showings, or the power point presentation, teachers have an option to organize an open discussion or a debate. From an instructional point of view, teachers can divide the class into two major groups and invite the students to support their answers with arguments from the prior presentations.
Discuss the geopolitical aspect of the treaty.
How did the borders change after the treaty? How did it impact the Mexican nationals in the newly acquired U.S territory?
Students must understand that the Mexicans in New Mexico, Arizona and California were in their homelands, and not immigrants.
Apply a historical and political perspective to the lesson. What political changes the end of war brought for both countries? Who benefited from the treaty and why? Did the treaty honor the rights of the Mexican population?
Reading for information must be differentiated for ELL (English language learners). See website for students for differentiation ideas.
Group work or assessment must be to the teacher discursion. The lesson can be extended to a ninety minutes depending on the amount of the information. A few suggestions might be:
A group or individual project and class presentation. (Rubric provided by the teacher).
A guided discussion with questions handed out or displayed.
A collage or drawing of the main events of the Mexican-American War and write their thoughts in an open-ended paragraph in Spanish for the native speaker students. (Rubric must be provided).
A questionnaire based on the reading, the video, or the power point to work in groups.
The legacy of Cesar Chavez in the Latino Civil Rights Movement
Time 55-60 minutes
Develop an understanding of Cesar Chavez as a Mexican-American, his family roots, his heritage and values.
Relate Cesar Chavez’ profile to that of other Mexican migrant workers or families in the 50s and 60s. What did they have in common? Who were the migrant farm workers?
Discuss Cesar Chavez as a Civil Rights leader and activist. Identify his philosophy, goals, mission and vision for the Latino farm workers in the Southwest United States. And why was it important?
Create a power point presentation or a YouTube video with highlights from the life and legacy of Cesar Chávez
Also power point presentations are available online. A Google search will generate great presentations such as the ones below.
Christina Chavez “Cesar E. Chavez and the United Farm Workers Union”
Cesar Chavez and The Chicano Movement
YouTube videos on Cesar Chavez are copied and pasted in the links below:
Discuss aspects of Cesar Chavez’ life as a youngster, the hardship, the loss of land and the migratory move his family made from Arizona, to California.
Discuss how the life and working conditions of the migrant workers impacted Cesar Chavez and what were his insights into helping these workers?
Discuss the non-violent protesting and philosophy and compare (briefly) Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to that of Cesar Chavez. What were the similarities and the outcomes? What did they change?
The lesson might require prior knowledge from social studies lessons on Gandhi and also Martin Luther King Jr., either as leaders who carried out changes, or philosophical perspectives on moving legislations for a greater good.
This class can be extended to two or three lessons, depending how long the teacher wants to explore the topic in depth.
Assessment can be developed to the teachers’ discretion and class dynamics according to age, degree of reading, or the proficiency level if the students are native speakers of Spanish.
Students can develop a group project with the rubric. Options such as posters, power point presentations must be given. The teacher must also provide a rubric.
Native speakers of Spanish can write a research paper in Spanish or English depending on their level; illustrate it with pictures and with the references in order to give credits.
Students can show creativity and write/interpret a play on either Cesar Chavez, Sacramento March, or other related topics. This is optional.