Explore your Culture through Storytelling
Lesson Plan 6-8
National Language Arts Standard 6: Students apply knowledge of language structure, language conventions (e.g., spelling and punctuation), media techniques, figurative language, and genre to create, critique, and discuss print and nonprint texts.
National Language Arts Standard 3: Students apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts. They draw on their prior experience, their interactions with other readers and writers, their knowledge of word meaning and of other texts, their word identification strategies, and their understanding of textual features (e.g., sound-letter correspondence, sentence structure, context, graphics).
• Use a writing template that encourages exploration of their cultural heritage.
• Practice reading aloud their poems through spoken word presentations.
• Interview family members and co-write a cultural heritage poem using the same writing template.
• Explore diverse mediums of expression for illustrating, and then sharing their poems with an audience.
• Story Strip Template Reproducible
• Crayons, markers and pencils
• One copy of De donde yo soy/Where I'm From by Levi Romero
• "I Am From" Poem Template
SET UP AND PREPARE
• Copy Story Strip Template Reproducible. Several copies for each student.
• Copy "I Am From" Poem Template, two copies for each student.
• Prepare to read to the class, De donde yo soy/Where I'm From by Levi Romero. Share other cultural heritage writings with students such as Where I'm From by George Ella Lyon (www.georgeellalyon.com) and cultural heritage writings by Hispanic poets, youth and children available at www.nationalhispaniccenter.org.
Exploring cultural heritage and personal identity
1. As a group, brainstorm the elements of life that define culture. The list will probably include: place, language, beliefs, foods, clothing, music, jokes, and stories.
2. Read aloud the poem by Levi Romero and/or other poems about cultural identity. Additional poems by Hispanic poets and youth are available from the National Hispanic Cultural Center at www.nationalhispaniccenter.org.
3. Identify and discuss the everyday details that illustrate unique family and cultural communities. Have students share personal and cultural details which include: their birthplace, description of their home, birthplaces of their parents, names of family members, languages they hear and speak, common statements by parents and grandparents, everyday items, everyday foods, foods for special occasions, songs, and family stories.
Create a Story-Strip
1. Using the cultural detail examples in number 3 above, and the "I am From" Poem Template, ask each student to write their own, original "I am from…" poem.
2. Provide each student with several pages of the Story Strip Template. Have students write their poem in sections or phrases below the boxes along with matching illustrations. Students can illustrate their story strip through drawings, magazine clippings, or copies of photographs.
1. Have students choose a family member to interview about personal and cultural heritage. Students should ask the family member to give details about personal and cultural details which include: their birthplace, description of their home, birthplaces of their parents, names of family members, languages they hear and speak, common statements by parents and grandparents, everyday items, everyday foods, foods for special occasions, songs, and family stories.
2. Using the "I am From" Poem Template, the student and family member will co-write a second poem about personal and cultural heritage.
Sharing Your Story
1. Ask students to memorize their poem (or their collaborative poem) and share with the class or with their family.
2. Working in pairs, have students read each other's story-strips and develop a list of discussion questions about the details in their partner's storystrip. Questions should focus on new information, eliciting background information and establishing connections between personal and culture backgrounds.
Additional Technology Activities
Using a digital or disposable camera, have students take photos of 10 items, places or people mentioned in their poem. Using these photos in print or digital form, have them illustrate their version of "I am from…", students can create a simple book, slide show or a digital story in order to share their cultural heritage with classmates, friends and family. Digital Storytelling lessons are available at www.scholastic.com; enter the key words "Hispanic heritage."