It is for these collective reasons that I have developed
Cuba! Identity Revealed Through Cultural Connections
. Targeted at Grade 3, but modifiable for use in Grades 4-6, it encourages students to embrace others through an identity lens. This unit—implemented on a trial-run basis throughout the course of my participation in Professor Campbell’s 2015-16 seminar—incorporates Social Studies, Language Arts, Music and Dance, and Social Development on an interdisciplinary basis. Students will conduct research via in-person interviews with Cuban-American residents, entrepreneurs, and others familiar with Cuban culture. Through the use of query and other metacognitive strategies, students will engage in independent and small group research to objectively analyze Cuban culture.
Via student-generated inquiry, family interviews, viewed films, and subsequent informational narrative creations, young researchers will gain a deep understanding of cultural identity. Using select non-fiction and realistic fiction resources, folkloric narratives, and the poetic work of Cuban freedom fighter Jose Martí, students will strengthen reading and reading comprehension skills, synthesizing important information to make text-to-world connections, thus deepening their understanding of the subject at hand.
The ultimate goal is for students to become objective thinkers who learn to effectively embrace, communicate, and interact with others—skills to help them successfully navigate life within our ever-changing global community. Students will additionally learn the mechanics of conducting extensive research, indispensable skills needed throughout their academic and professional pursuits. It is hoped that
serves as a prototype for students (and teachers) to go beyond textbook knowledge, media images, and sweeping generalizations to explore diverse cultures. In this way, we can better understand and constructively embrace diverse cultures that exist within American shores.