Explore your Culture through Storytelling Lesson Plan
National Language Arts Standard 4: Students adjust their use of spoken, written, and visual language (e.g., conventions, style, vocabulary) to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences and for different purposes.
National Language Arts Standard 9: Students develop an understanding of and respect for diversity in language use, patterns, and dialects across cultures, ethnic groups, geographic regions, and social roles.
National Language Arts Standard 10: Students whose first language is not English make use of their first language to develop competency in the English language arts and to develop understanding of content across the curriculum.
• 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 sharing their poems with an audience.
• "I Am From" Poem Template
• One copy of De donde yo soy/Where I'm From by Levi Romero
SET UP AND PREPARE
• Make copies "I am From" Poem Template. Two for each student.
• Prepare to read De donde yo soy/Where I'm From poem by Levi Romero to class and/or other cultural heritage writings 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 .
Discuss and Explore Cultural Heritage
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.
Write an Original Poem about Personal, Cultural Heritage
1. Identify and discuss the details that illustrate unique family and cultural communities. Have students write a list of 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 examples of cultural details above, and the "I am From" Poem Template, ask each student to write their own, original "I am from…" poem.
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. Ask students to choose a method which best matches their skills and interests to illustrate and share their story with the class and other audiences such as family and friends. Suggestions include:
• a collage of photos or images
• an audio track of the poem as a spoken word presentation
• a musical or rap version of the poem
• a scrapbook or handmade book illustrating the poem
• a slide show through Powerpoint
• a digital story through Moviemaker (digital storytelling lessons plans are available at www.scholastic.com, enter the key words "Hispanic heritage." (Original, digital stories by Hispanic poets and youth which speak to the theme of "I am from…" are also available at www.nationalhispaniccenter.org).