Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Lesson Plan

Cultural diversity can be found all around us, especially in our schools. Classes often contain students who speak a language other than English; the library houses fiction and nonfiction books that feature various geographic locations and cultures; and online resources give students the opportunity to explore numerous facets of the human existence.
My intention with this lesson is to expose students to the rich culture of Mexico and other Latin American countries. Students’ learning and creation of new knowledge is centered on the multifaceted dimensions of Hispanic Heritage. Students come to understand what it means for someone to be Hispanic American and the traditions that many of these people keep from their ancestors. Students will be excited to learn that our nation has designated an entire month for the celebration of Hispanic Heritage (September 15-October 15). Students will become aware of the profound and positive influences Latino Americans have had on our country through their strong commitment to family, faith, and hard work. In small groups, students research a specific aspect of the culture and customs of these individuals and their ancestry. At the end of the unit, students share their research via an online storyboard so that all became aware of the diversity found in people of Hispanic descent.
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This instructional design project benefits students on not just their mastery of the learning objectives, but their ability to evaluate information and make informed decisions. Students’ evaluation of the content presented in the lesson’s resources exposes them to the culture and customs of Latin America that many Hispanic Americans still practice. Implementing this lesson will give students a new perspective on the history and customs of their Hispanic counterparts. When students find out that the Hispanic population of the United States is over 55 million, they will be especially eager to discover more about their fellow Americans. With the help of this lesson, teachers will find their students forming a tolerance and appreciation for the diversity found in Latino Americans.
Most students have a passion for technology, working together, and learning about unique people and places from around the world. The instructional format of this lesson supports cooperative student learning where students are individually accountable for their work, but learn from others. Students engage in meaningful research by using digital, visual, and textual sources. Students will learn how to use search tools on a computer (i.e. headings, icons, glossaries, bold print, key words, sidebars, hyperlinks) to locate information on Hispanic Heritage. The integration of PBS LearningMedia to create an online storyboard lets students create a visually appealing presentation.

Instructional Plan:
  • This Hispanic Heritage Unit targets students’ abilities to use fiction and nonfiction sources to learn about a specific aspect of Hispanic Heritage. Students identify key details in an informational online article and a video from Wonderopolis. Each group reads a fiction picture book that features a unique facet of Hispanic Heritage they research in the informational text. While reading the story, students keep up with key story elements and events in the plot’s beginning, middle, and end. For the unit’s summative assessment, students use PBS Storyboard to present their research. PBS Storyboard allows students to type a short summary of their picture book, share key details from their research, and include images and videos pertaining to their topic. By viewing each other’s storyboards, students will learn about many facets of Hispanic Heritage (i.e. cuisine, holidays, family, and customs).
Instructional Strategies
  • Session One—Introduction:
    • In this lesson, introduce students to Hispanic Heritage Month and the unit’s learning targets by first demonstrating how to locate key details from a Time for Kids article titled, “Hispanic Heritage Month”. Next, model for students how to locate story elements and key events by reading aloud the picture book, Abuelo by Arthur Dorros. Demonstrate using the same graphic organizers that students will use when beginning their research in the next lesson. The selected informational text and fiction story exposes students to Hispanic Heritage and the reason why we celebrate it September 15 through October 15. Students learn the geographic locations of Latin American countries as well as reasons why people from these places come to the United States (i.e. education, work, opportunity).
  • Session Two—Research:
    • This session begins with a whole group discussion of the expectations for completing the two graphic organizers—one for nonfiction articles and one for fiction picture books. Together, read and reflect on the rubrics for both research components. Demonstrate how to use the online pathfinder created with Symbaloo to access the Wonderopolis articles. Use the Wonderopolis article, “What is Masa?” to model for students how to watch the accompanying video and activate the text-to-speech feature. Perform a think-aloud of how to determine a key detail. Next, model for students how to complete the Retell a Story Graphic Organizer with the Epic! eBook, Holy Mole! Read aloud the first two pages and guide students through the process of using text and illustrations to determine important story elements. For this first research session, half the class works on computers or iPads completing the Identify Key Details Graphic Organizer for an aspect of Hispanic Heritage. Students are to make a connection as to how they and their families differ from what they learn about Hispanic culture. The other half of the class reads a fiction picture book that features the same topic of Hispanic Heritage that they will learn about when they read an informational article in the next lesson. Some students work with partners to read a print book while others access the Epic! app for audio narration and video adaptation of select titles. While both sets of students complete the activities, they self-assess using the scoring rubric and guiding questions.
  • Session Three—Research Continued:
    • Students complete the graphic organizer for the fiction or nonfiction piece they did not read in the previous lesson. Students who finish both graphic organizers begin planning their research product using the PBS Storyboard Planning Sheet
  • Session Four—Create Multimedia Presentation:
    • The teacher models for students how to access and use the online tools for creating a PBS Storyboard. Provide students with an example storyboard from prior research modeling. Users can create PBS Storyboards via computers or iPads. Students use their notes from previous lessons’ graphic organizers to develop a technology presentation that includes a short summary of their picture book, at least one key detail from their Wonderopolis article, and graphics that relate to their aspect of Hispanic Heritage. Students’ summative research products are scored using the Presentation (PBS Storyboard) Rubric. With the creation of this research product, students have the benefit of collaborating with peers as they take control of their learning.
  • Session Five—Presentations:
    • Students’ presentations are uploaded to Symbaloo.com. Symbaloo is a collection of tiles that takes users to specific URL’s. With the click of a button, students are directed to their peers’ PBS Storyboards. Students have the opportunity to explore and learn about all the aspects of Hispanic Heritage highlighted in this unit. While viewing their classmates’ presentations, students are challenged to make connections as to how their lives are similar to or different from Mexican culture. As a result, students can explain how knowledge of cultural differences supports a tolerance and acceptance of others.
Student Work:

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