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Exploring Cultures

Theresa Pinilla
GA ESOL Cohort-
Cultural Issues
Fall 2010

Culture: Mexican, Mexican-American

Research Summaries: all sources are bookmarked on
at the following url:
Grade level: 6-8, Language Arts and Social Studies
Learning Goals: Students will learn some elements of another culture
and compere it with their own culture.
GA Performance standards addressed: (the specific standards below
are from 6th grade, which I am teaching this year. The ELA standards
are virtually identical for grades 6-8; SS standards address Latin
America only in 6th grade)

SS6G1 The student will locate selected features of Latin America and the Caribbean.
a. Locate on a world and regional political-physical map: Amazon River, Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico,
Pacific Ocean, Panama Canal, Andes Mountains, Sierra Madre Mountains, and Atacama Desert.
b. Locate on a world and regional political-physical map the countries of Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba,
Haiti, Mexico, Panama, and Venezuela.

SS6G2 The student will discuss environmental issues in Latin America.

a. Explain the major environmental concerns of Latin America regarding the issues of air pollution in
Mexico City, Mexico, the destruction of the rain forest in Brazil, and oil-related pollution in Venezuela.

SS6G3 The student will explain the impact of location, climate, distribution of natural resources, and
population distribution on Latin America and the Caribbean.
a. Compare how the location, climate, and natural resources of Mexico and Venezuela affect where people
live and how they trade.
b. Compare how the location, climate, and natural resources of Brazil and Cuba affect where people live
and how they trade.

SS6G4 The student will describe the cultural characteristics of people who live in Latin America and
the Caribbean.
a. Describe the results of blending of ethnic groups in Latin America and the Caribbean.
b. Explain why Latin America is a region based on the languages of Portuguese and Spanish.
c. Evaluate how the literacy rate affects the standard of living.

ELA6W1 The student produces writing that establishes an appropriate organizational structure, sets
a context and engages the reader, maintains a coherent focus throughout, and provides a satisfying
closure. The student
a. Selects a focus, an organizational structure, and a point of view based on purpose,
genre expectations, audience, length, and format requirements.
b. Writes texts of a length appropriate to address the topic or tell the story.
c. Uses traditional structures for conveying information (e.g., chronological
order, cause and effect, similarity and difference, and posing and answering a
d. Uses appropriate structures to ensure coherence (e.g., transition elements).

ELA6LSV1 The student participates in student-to-teacher, student-to-student,

and group verbal interactions. The student
a. Initiates new topics in addition to responding to adult-initiated topics.
b. Asks relevant questions.
c. Responds to questions with appropriate information.
d. Confirms understanding by paraphrasing the adult’s directions or suggestions.
e. Displays appropriate turn-taking behaviors.
f. Actively solicits another person’s comments or opinions.
g. Offers own opinion forcefully without being domineering.
h. Responds appropriately to comments and questions.
i. Volunteers contributions and responds when directly solicited by teacher or
discussion leader.
j. Gives reasons in support of opinions expressed.
k. Clarifies, illustrates, or expands on a response when asked to do so.
l. Employs a group decision-making technique such as brainstorming or a
problem-solving sequence (e.g., recognizes problem, defines problem, identifies
possible solutions, selects optimal solution, implements solution, evaluates solution).
m. Writes a response to/reflection of interactions with others.
ELA6LSV2 The student listens to and views various forms of text and media
in order to gather and share information, persuade others, and express and
understand ideas. The student will select and critically analyze messages using
rubrics as assessment tools.
When responding to visual and oral texts and media (e.g., television, radio,
film productions, and electronic media), the student:
a. Identifies persuasive and propaganda techniques used in media and identifies
false and misleading information.
b. Identifies the tone, mood, and emotion conveyed in the oral communication.
When delivering or responding to presentations, the student:
a. Gives oral presentations or dramatic interpretations for various purposes.
b. Shows appropriate changes in delivery (e.g., gestures, vocabulary, pace, visuals).
c. Uses language for dramatic effect.
d. Uses rubrics as assessment tools.
e. Uses electronic media for presentations.
ELA6R1 The student demonstrates comprehension and shows evidence of a warranted and
responsible explanation of a variety of literary and informational texts.
For literary texts, the student identifies the characteristics of various genres and
produces evidence of reading that:
a. Identifies and analyzes sensory details and figurative language.
b. Identifies and analyzes the author’s use of dialogue and description.
c. Relates a literary work to historical events of the period.
d. Applies knowledge of the concept that theme refers to the message about life and the
world that the author wants us to understand whether implied or stated.
e. Identifies and analyzes the elements of setting, characterization, plot, and the resolution
of the conflict of a story or play:
i. internal/external conflicts
ii. character conflicts, characters vs. nature, characters vs. society
iii. antagonist/protagonist.
f. Identifies the speaker and recognizes the difference between first- and third-person
g. Defines and explains how tone is conveyed in literature through word choice, sentence
structure, punctuation, rhythm, repetition, and rhyme.
h. Responds to and explains the effects of sound, figurative language, and graphics in
order to uncover meaning in literature:
i. Sound (e.g., alliteration, onomatopoeia, rhyme scheme)
ii. Figurative language (i.e., simile, metaphor, hyperbole, personification)
iii. Graphics (i.e., capital letters, line length, bold face print, italics).
i. Compares traditional literature and mythology from different cultures.
j. Identifies and analyzes similarities and differences in mythologies from
different cultures.

Materials:Culture slide show; access to computers if using webquest;

teacher access to


Day 1: use powerpoint to introduce some images from Mexican

cultures, past and present. Relate to historical events. Discuss how
they are like or unlike familiar art forms in the US. Compare the Aztec
creation myth to another native creation myth from North America.

Day 2: use's page on Mexico to begin discussion of

Mexico's geography and people. Compare the map to a US map. (ppt
slide) Points to bring out: shared border; economic reasons why
someone would leave their homeland; political reasons why someone
might leave their homeland; cross-border familiy ties; ease or lack of
ease of leaving for another country, even if a short distance; language
differences; cultural differences; etc.

Day 3 and 4: students work in groups or independently (as

appropriate) to complete one of the project options to demonstrate
understanding of cultural factors. If desired, students can be required
to complete more than one of the options. Requirements can be
differentiated to accommodate ELL and SWD.

Assessment options: See the page titled Project Boxes at the end of
this lesson.
Create a timeline of Learn and Attend a cultural
significant events in demonstrate a event and report
the history of traditional art or back to the class.
Mexico, with special craft. This could be a
attention to those celebration,
events that performance,
had/have an effect museum exhibit,
on the United etc.
States. Include at
least 20 events to
Choose a piece of Research at least a Choose an example
literature from dozen people in of contemporary
Mexico (using a Mexican or Mexican music and
translation is OK) Mexican-American explain or translate
and compare it to culture and create it for the class.
an American a poster or
literary piece in powerpoint about
English. Poems their
would be good to accomplishments
start with. and contributions
to society.
Write a persuasive Interview someone Compare the
essay or letter to about their culture. standard of living in
the editor about an This does not have Mexico and the
issue brought up in to be someone of United States.
class. Mexican heritage,
but it can be.