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Hispanic Immigration: America in the Year 2000

Myrella Gonzalez-Lara

Contents of Curriculum Unit 96.04.08:

To Guide Entry

I. Objectives

The objectives of this curriculum unit are:

1. To understand the underlying reasons for immigration, focusing on five major trends: political, economic, family, career and educational.
2. To explore current immigration issues within the major nationalities of Spanish speaking immigrants: Puerto Ricans, Mexicans and Cubans.
3. To have students make informed conclusions as to the future of immigration policies in the U.S.A.
4. To engage in readings and viewing of movies that will make immigration issues more of a reality for all students.

II. Introduction

Immigration has been part of the North American experience since Columbus arrived in 1492 and some of his men decided to stay and settle in what they called “the new world”.

Centuries later, after the Westward expansion of pioneers into the then-unknown territories of the West, the 1890 census declared that “there are no more frontiers” left to be conquered, thus a frontier-less America was all that was left to those living here. (1) As those premature thoughts engaged the minds of the people back East, a new frontier was indeed being seen by the millions who came across the water, from Europe and Asia, in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. These immigrants came looking for a new frontier, and millions of Europeans found it in the bustling cities of the East, while Chinese and other Asian families went to California, to work as laborers for the railroads and other labor-intensive jobs. Women in particular had plenty of opportunities working in the garment industry and other service areas.

Now we find ourselves at the end of the twentieth century, and people are still migrating to the United States of America. Through this curricular unit students (and teachers) will learn and explore together the reasons that still drive people to settle into a new country and adopt a new language. The impact of the last fifty years of immigration will be the focus of this unit, as current immigration trends dictate what America will be like in the year 2000.

The subject of this institute is of particular interest to me in view of our roles as educators in today’s multicultural world. As the Spanish-speaking population in the U.S.A. grows, the issues of immigration, acculturation and ethnicity continue to polarize our society. Our students and their families need to deal with these issues in clear and unbiased way, therefore we must use the classroom as a vehicle to bring this information to them, or risk having all the information they receive be from negative media reports to anti-immigrants political agendas. This curricular unit will allow students to explore the reasons that drive people today to settle into a new country and adopt a new language. As a Foreign Language teacher of Spanish in the New Haven Public School System, my daily work is with urban youth of different cultures and backgrounds, including Spanish speaking students from Puerto Rico and the rest of Latin America. It is my expectation that this unit will help these young people from diverse backgrounds and languages to learn and appreciate the reality of being an immigrant in today’s society, as well as the positive contributions that these individuals have made to make our country rich in variety and cultures.

II. Overview of Units

Each unit has three sub topics, plus one or two recommended films as ancillary material. Depending on the time of year, one topic can be convered in ten school days. The showing of the longer theatrical films will take two or three regular class periods (45 to 50 minute periods). I recommend that the topics be presented in the order that they are written (1 to 4) since each topic builds on the material previously covered.

Teachers may choose to spend more time on a daily basis and expand on their own knowledge and resources. Some options for enrichment are: guest speakers, field trips (Ellis Island is highly recommended), after-school programs, and team teaching with the Language Arts and the Social Studies Department . Other links could be established with visits to the library, on-going book reports and soliciting materials from the US. Census Bureau at the beginning of the unit. Students could request information on how to apply for a passport or a visa to travel abroad which would offer students a wonderful opportunity to see the legal process in action.

This curriculum unit has been designed for use at the middle and high school level.

Unit 1 Who is an immigrant?

1. Why do people migrate.
2. Who is a minority in the U.S.A.
3. Voluntary v. involuntary migration.
4. Film: El Norte

Unit 2 Living in a new country.

1. Linguistic differences.
2. Cultural differences.
3. Socio-economic issues.
4. Films: The House of Ramon Iglesias
____El Super

Unit 3 The Puerto Rican Experience

1. The island’s historical background.
2. Travel between the island and the mainland.
3. Current and future political issues: commonwealth v. independence
4. Films: Operation Bootstrap
____Puerto Rican Passages

Unit 4 The USA in the year 2000

1. Government policy in regards to documented aliens v. undocumented
2. Characteristics of Latinos in the 1990s
3. Language policy issues.
4. Film: Whose America Is It? (Bill Moyer’s documentary)

III. Learning Outcomes

As a result of this unit students will engage in a variety of activities surrounding the issue of immigration, students will be expected to:

A. Engage in independent reading and writing-by reading articles, historical documents, short stories and writing on the topic of immigration.
B. Speak tothe class—using their listening and speaking skills to engage in discussions in class, debating different points of view as well as presenting their own.
C. View films-critically and objectively, in order to find the meaning and purpose of the film, as well as relating the fiction of the film to the non-fiction of real life.
D. Become life long learners-by understanding immigration policies and continuing to learn and understand the reasons why people migrate.

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IV. Background Information on the Units

Unit 1. Why do people migrate?
Anthropologist John Ogbu (1992) in his studies of minorities and immigration, has identified two types of minority groups in his research: these are what he calls voluntary minorities and involuntary (or caste like) minorities. Voluntary minorities are those who have migrated out of their own will, and Ogbu concluded that under those circumstances they have been successful inadapting to the new culture and language. Involuntary minorities are those who were brought into the United States against their will through slavery, conquest, colonization, or forced labor. Stigmatized and relegated to low-status occupations, they have tended to have been less successful in cross-cultural adaptation and school learning than voluntary minorities. They have a tendency to preserve their cultural and linguistic differences as symbols of ethnic identity and separation from mainstream culture (2).

This is an important concept to understand and to discuss with our students, for all immigrants that come to a new country have some basic needs and desires that drive them to the sometimes risky enterprise of moving into a new country. Under voluntary reasons for migrating we find educational opportunities for those who seek to further their professional or skill related area; those who are career oriented and wish to join an already established field (most of these highly skilled immigrants speak English and have the training necessary to succeed in a new culture). The voluntary immigrant may have family, friends, business and community relationships forged at home that will help him or her get ahead in the new country.

Of these, the political refugees fall into two major categories as well: those who plan and execute their escape and bring resources (be it money, friends, or contacts), or those who leave everything behind and must start from scratch. Some of the stories that the students will be reading reflect both aspect s of political immigration. Students will study differences between economic and political migration, as well as the legal issues surrounding both legal and illegal migration.

Those who risk illegal migration, (due to serious political persecution or economic reasons) embark in the dangerous crossing into the U.S.A. mainland. In the first unit the students will be introduced to this danger by watching the movie El Norte. This is a powerful example of political persecution and indomitable will to survive. We meet two young people, brother and sister, who leave their mountain village in Guatemala and walk across Guatemala, to Mexico, to make the crossing into the U.S.A. The students will see this movie as an example of this illegal migration that gives us a glimpse of how life is in America for undocumented immigrants who do not speak English or understand the culture and society into which they have entered.

Students will also study maps and charts to learn how most of the current U.S.A. states that border Mexico used to belong to Mexico and the fact that Mexican families have lived in the southwest since the 1600’s. One of the documents they will be reading in Unit I is the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo which, in 1848 brought an end to the Mexican-American War, but it ceded to the United States of America large areas of what is now called the American Southwest . (3)

Unit 2. Living in a New Country
Under this topic, students will be exposed to different accounts of migration, sometimes positive, others negative. Stories that are full of drama and comedy, anger and delight. Life as seen through the eyes of different nationalities, ages and genders. The issue of how the new generation copes with the new culture and language will be explored by looking at bilingual education issues. The research that shows that children who maintain their native language and learn English do better academically in standardized tests (4).

As an example of the language controversy, in The Day the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accent, author Alvarez gives us a picture of a middle-class family that leaves the Dominican Republic in the wake of the Trujillo dictatorship. The father was a medical doctor back home, and mother never worked in her life. The children learn English and adjust to life in the USA, having the support of a loving home and the hope of going back home when the political climate is better. The Garcia girls need to learn English in a hurry in order to keep up with the other students and to truly belong to the new society they live in. However, according to language research experts, it may take anywhere from five to seven years for a child to learn academic English . (5)

Next Year in Cuba, by Gustavo Firmat, his family arrives in the USA, coming from a well—off Cuban family, they settle in Miami and expect to go back home, soon. Firmat (in this biographical book) becomes a college professor and looks back with nostalgia to his parents, who thirty years later still continue hoping to spend “next year in Cuba.”

Alvarez and Firmat are not your usual immigrants who we see in the media, portrayed as hungry, disposed and with little hope of succeeding in the U.S.A. They both fall under the category of “involuntary” immigrants, but both families are relatively successful in their adjustments to American culture and society, because the older family members have the skills and the know how to use them to their benefit. Therefore, voluntary and involuntary are not always exclusive categories and much overlapping takes place as we explore with our students what are the ingredients, the qualities, that may predict whether an immigrant group is successful in the USA.

Along these lines the films in this context the students will be watching The House of Ramon Iglesias, as the linguistic and cultural differences of the parents and the new generation is aggravated by the father’s decision to move back home, to Puerto Rico. In this video we meet a caring and close family clan that is faced with the father’s decision to go back to the island ,while his oldest son refuses to go with him. This is a wonderful example of cultural and language differences that arise as the children grow up in America and the older generation still clings to the old country and the hope of going home someday. El Super chronicles the older generation at odds with the children raised in the U.S.A. Or Mi Familia/My Family , which documents three generations of Mexican-Americans, keeping many traditions and yet fully participating in the American way of life, in the good as well as in the bad aspects of life in America in the 90’s.

Unit 3. The Puerto Rican Diaspora
Our next group of immigrants is from Puerto Rico, where most of our New Haven Spanish speaking children come from. I waited until the third topic to introduce them because as American citizens, Puerto Ricans have certain rights and privileges that the other groups discussed in Units 1 and 2 do not have.

The migration from Puerto Rico is usually for financial reasons and for family reunion. In this context the students will be watching The House of Ramon Iglesias, as the linguistic and cultural differences of the parents and the new generation is aggravated by the father’s decision to move back home, to Puerto Rico. In The House of Ramon Iglesias, we meet a caring and close family clan that is faced with the father’s decision to go back to the island ,while his oldest son refuses to go with him. This is a wonderful example of cultural and language differences that arise as the children grow up in America and the older generation still clings to the old country and the hope of going home someday. You may also want to explore the play La carreta/ The Oxcart, by Rene Marques, whose family migrates from the country side to San Juan, to New York, always looking for a better life. Constantly moving, always hoping for a better day.

Students will also do some readings from the textbook American Mosaic: Multicultural Readings in Context. (henceforth referred to as Mosaic). In Chapter 4: Puerto Ricans: The View From Mainland, we find short stories and historical information on the migration from Puerto Rico to the mainland. This material will explain the political situation, as well as the view of Puerto Ricans in the U.S.A. This book is available in New Haven Public Schools/ Language Arts Department.

Unit 4. The USA in the Year 2000
In this unit the issues of documented aliens and their rights and benefits versus the undocumented families that have to sent their children to public schools, health care and other services will be covered. The impact of the last fifty years of immigration will be the focus of this unit, as current immigration trends dictate what America will be like in the year 2000. The face of America will no longer be white European as minorities become the majority. What will America be like? How will we define who is an American in the 21st century? The job market will be changing and many service sector jobs will no longer depend on human beings ( think of secretarial jobs and bank tellers, traditionally female occupations, being replaced by e-mail and ATM bank machines).

As the Spanish populations in the USA continue to grow, another major issue is that of language policy. Political groups, such as English Only, and propositions as the ones passed in California and Florida that prohibit the translation of documents into languages other than English, raise the specter of separatism and create a climate of fear and distrust towards immigrants across the land. The learning of English, for example, has been proven by researchers to take anywhere from five to seven years (6). However, we are told that assimilation, (which is the process by which immigrants became part of the American mainstream), takes longer when groups live and work together and maintain the ties to the country of origin. (7) Community organizers see this as a strength, other groups see it as a block towards becoming an “American.” But, as we will discuss in this unit, what does being an American really mean in today’s society?

V. Brief Overview of Films Recommended
Each of the units is accompanied by a suggested film or video that will enhance the understanding of the topic. Films will also stimulate discussions and writing activities. Since most films cannot be viewed in one classroom period, the teacher must plan for this activity. I would suggest showing the film in the middle of the week (Tuesday and Wednesday/Wednesday and Thursday) so as to allow for closure on Friday before the weekend. This also sets up the beginning of a new unit on the following Monday. These are the films that I have chosen for this curriculum. There is also a film bibliography at the end which gives information as to where films can be rented.

On the issue of subtitles: I always tell my students that most of the world reads subtitles in order to watch American movies. They still complain but lately I have found that with close-captioning more available they may be used to watching and reading in English class (with subtitles for classics, in order to understand Shakespearean English better). Encourage them to read the subtitles.

El Norte (1974) is a beautifully touching movie that traces the journey of a brother and sister (Rosita and Enrique) from their home in a village in Guatemala to the city of Los Angeles. The village part is full of color and Indian languages and customs. In Spanish with subtitles (but in the second part there are a few characters that speak in English).

Violence: (brief) in a scene where the father is killed by the army and the town’s people are taken away in trucks. Recommended for 8th graders and up. (Enrique’s father is killed and his head is hung on a tree branch as a warning—might upset some younger people). Other than this, there is no sex or nudity.

Student reaction: They enjoy the story and the fast pace.

El Super (1972) is the sad story of a Cuban refugee family (father, mother, daughter) living in New York City in the 1970’s. The father hates the snow, hates New York, only thinks and talks about going back to Cuba. His daughter loves New York and never wants to leave. Family and cultural issues. In Spanish with subtitles. No violence, sex or nudity. I usually “edit/fast forward” on the parts that drag (1) the friend who comes to visit and only talks about politics (2) the domino game that becomes another political battle that students may not understand (3) some of El Super’s wonderings about the city can be cut down to a shorter walking around being unhappy and still make the point.

Student reaction: Has stimulated discussion as to why the super is so unhappy and ungrateful with the way his life has turned out (since he lives relatively well and eats and has clothes to wear). The subject of the daughter is also a good starting point for class discussion or essay writing.

The House of Ramon Iglesias (1972) is a one hour drama about a Puerto Rican family whose father has decided to move back to the island. Conflicts arise with the teenage children, as they do not want to leave the U.S.A. In English. Positive role models, loving family. Sex: brief kissing scene on the sofa. No violence or nudity. A PBS Playhouse production.

Mi Familia/My Family (1994) is a recent theatrical release. Saga of three generations of Mexican-Americans, starting with the parents who came in the 1930’s, up to today’s grandchildren. Violence: fighting among gangs, two dead. Language: a smattering of Spanish and English L.A. style swearing. This movie is in English(no subtitles!) and soap-opera like in its characterizations; perhaps this is the reason why all my students enjoy it and ask to borrow the video over the weekend!

Puerto Rican Passages (1994) A film by Connecticut film maker Frank Borres, this documentary shows migration from Puerto Rico to Connecticut by means of interviews and old black and white footage. An interesting historical document showing the many years of settlement in the Connecticut area.

Operation Bootstrap (Documentary) In black and white, tells the story of the political and economical struggle in Puerto Rico during the government program called “Operation Bootstrap” (in Spanish: Manos a la obra).

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TOPIC: Who is an Immigrant?

1. Why do people migrate?
2. Who is a minority in the U.S.A.
3. Voluntary v. involuntary migration.

Objective One: To understand the underlying reasons for immigration, focusing on the five major reasons why people migrate: economic reasons, family reunion, career purposes, educational pursuits and political persecution.

Lesson 1 (Day 1)

Introduction to the unit

A. Teacher introduces the topic of migration. Vocabulary words to look up and discuss: immigrant-minority-culture-language-political exile-huddled masses-Ellis Island.
B. Teacher presents the concept of voluntary and involuntary migration . Homework reading assignment: Chapter 1:Early Immigrants (American Mosaic), pages 4Đ10. (This will provide students with some basic background on immigration to America)

Lesson 2 (Day 2)

A. Teacher reviews Chapter 1 reading on early immigrants. Discusses voluntary/involuntary migration.
B. Student Activities:
____1. Venn Diagram of reasons why people migrate.
________a. Divide students into small groups and have them brainstorm as to why people migrate
________b. Brainstorm on the board : Using a Venn diagram (two circles overlapping creating three areas). Have students place education, career, economic reasons, family reunion and political persecution under the category that they feel fits best.
____2. Homework assignment: Techer divides students into two teams and assigns reasons listed unde voluntary migration and involuntary migration to each team. Students are to preprare themselves to debate as to which reasons best exemplify:
________a.Voluntary migration: to pursue advanced degrees (education); to forge ahead in ones career (professionals).
________b.Involuntary would cover political persecution, economic reasons and family reunion. (Some could over-lap).

Lesson 3 (Day 3)

Student-directed activity

A. Student Activities:
____1. Debate presentation, lead by students.
____2. Students translate vocabulary words from readings into Spanish.
____3. Homework assignment: Students will read Chapter 3 of The Latino Experience.

Lesson 4 (Day 4)


Sources: The Latino Experience in US History

American Mosaic

Saludos Spanish Textbook

A. Teacher introduces students to Latin America, past and preent.
B. Student Activities:
____1. Students will go back in history and study the map of the Spanish empire in the Americas about the year 1600, showing that the empire extended up to what is now Santa Fe, New Mexico on page 43 (Latino Experience).
____2. Students study map on page 129 :The United States Gains Spanish and Mexican Lands (Latino Experience)
____3. Homework Assignment: The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, (page 485 of American Mosaic).

Lesson 5 (Day 5)


Source: The Latino Experience in US. History

A. Teacher discusses the Guadalupe Hidalgo Treaty of 1948 and the map on page 129 (Latino Experience)
B. Student Activities
____1. Students work on maps of Latin America and Mexico. Students label current countries and capitals. Map source: Latino Experience, Saludos.

Lesson 6 (Day 6)


Source: The Latino Experience in US. History

A. Students will study the map of the Latino population in the United States as of the 1990 census (page 378Đ9).
B. Student Activity: Students will work in teams to produce charts of states and populations made up Spanish-speaking groups (page 325).


Source: Saludos Textbook

A. Teacher will model names of Spanish speaking countries and nationalities: (Example: Mexico=Yo soy mexicano).
B. Student Activity:
____1. Students will identify countries and give their capital.
____2. Students will use the verb SER in various situations: Example:
________De donde eres? [Yo soy americano]
________De donde son ustedes? [Nosotros somos americanos.

Lesson 7 and 8 (Day 7 and 8)



1. Plot Chart or similar instrument
2. Film EL NORTE
____A. Student Activity: Students will watch the movie El Norte while working on their Plot Charts. (movie showing will take two regular periods).

Lesson 8 (Day 8)

Student Activity:

A. Class discussion of the film.
B. Using the story chart, students will write about the movie using prompt questions, in an open-ended CAPT (CT Assessment) style format. Students are encouraged to think critically and to write extensively. ( Yes/no answers or maybe/ don’t know are not acceptable).
____1. After watching the movie El Norte, please write of three things that you would like to know about the characters or the story that the movie did not explain.
____2. Please write about a time in your life when you ( or a close relative of yours) went through a major change in life.
____3. Was Enrique’s trip a result of voluntary or involuntary migration? Please explain the difference (refer to your notes from Lesson 1).

Lesson 9 (Day 9)

Closure of Unit 1

Student Activity

A. Students present their answers to the class (orally)
B. Students translate their answers into Spanish (Sp. III, IV of Spanish for Spanish Speakers)

Day 10

Unit test, based on material presented. End of Unit 1.

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TOPIC: Living in a new country

1. Linguistic differences.
2. Cultural differences.
3. Sauce-economic issues.
4. Films:
____El Super
____MI Family/My Family

Objective Two: To explore current immigration issues within the different Spanish Speaking groups, such as cultural and linguistic differences, as well as socio-economic issues.

Lesson 1 (Day 11)

Sources: The Latino Experience

The Day the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accent (excerpt)

A. Teacher introduces the topic of migration. Vocabulary words to look up and discuss: Bilingual—linguistic-culture-multicultural-settlement-Hispanic-Latino-Latin American-South American-Chicano-bilingual education-ESL (or ESOL)
B. Teacher discusses cultural differences between Mexicans, Cubans, Dominicans and Puerto Ricans.
C. . Read Chapter 28: Central Americans and Dominicans Today (Latino Experience). Students answer questions #1, #2 and #3 on page 365 about Dominicans in the U.S.A. [Other teacher sources: Patricia Pessar’s Visa for a Dream].
D. Homework: Assign students a selected chapter of Julia Alvarez’ The Day The Garcia Girls Lost Their Accent. The chapter on the girls first learning English is recommended as we move into the topic of Bilingual Education.

Lesson 2 (Day 12)

A. Teacher will discuss last night’s reading in view of learning a new language. Present the topic Bilingual Education by discussing the Bilingual Education Act (1960), signed into law by President Johnson, this law directed school districts to set up bilingual classes for students who did not speak English.
B. The teacher will discuss the learning of a second language using two sources: (1) as expressed by Julia Alvarez in the reading selection; (2) as explained by researchers, such as Kenji Hakuta and Virginia Collier (see bibliography for more information).
C. Student Activities:
____1. Discussion of reading selection in class with emphasis on the topic of learning English. Vocabulary words on board.
____2. Discussion of what it means to be bilingual. Why there are bilingual programs in New Haven Public Schools (there is a State mandate covering Bilingual Education programs).
____3. Homework assignment: essay Question: Have you tried to learn another language? How easy or difficult has it been for you? Please explain.

Lesson 3 (Day 13)


Source: The Latino Experience in US. History

A. Teacher discusses the current major groups in the USA and the states where they have settled and made their homes. (page 378, States With the Largest Latino Populations, Book: The Latino Experience).
B. Student Activity: Students work on maps of Latin America and Mexico. Students label countries and capitals using maps from Saludos. Students fill in numbers according to chart on page 376 (Latino Experience).

Lesson 4 (Day 14)


Source: The Latino Experience in US. History

CT Census Report

A. Students will study the numbers of latinos as per the 1990 census document on page 325.
B. Student Activity: Students will draw up charts showing Latinos in Connecticut , as well as those of New Haven, and the school system.

Lesson 5 (Day 15)


Source: Saludos Textbook

A. Teacher will present a lesson on nationalities. People from Cuba are called Cubanos, from Puerto Rico Puertorriquenos; from Mexico= mexicanos, etc.
B. Student Activity:
____1. Students will identify countries and give their capital.
____2. Students will use the verb SER in various situations: Example:
________De donde eres? [Yo soy americano] Ella es mexicana.
________De donde son ustedes? [Nosotros somos americanos]

Lesson 6 (Day 16, 17 and 18)



1. Plot Chart or similar instrument (check with Language Arts)
2. Film: Mi Familia or El Super
____A. Movie: Mi Familia
____B. Student Activity: Using a story chart, students will plot the movie action. This is on-going, as they watch.

Lesson 7 (Day 19)

Student Activity

A. Based on the story chart, students will write about the movie using prompt questions, in an open-ended CAPT (CT Assessment test) style format. (see unit 1 for more details on CAPT). Questions:
____1. After watching the movie Mi Familia/El Super, please write of three things that you would like to know about the characters or the story that the movie did not explain.
____2. Please write about a time in your life when you and your parents/guardians disagreed about something that was important to your parents. How was the issue resolved?

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Unit Three

TOPIC: The Puerto Rican Diaspora

1. History of the departure
2 Travel between the island and the mainland.
3. Current and future political issues: commonwealth v. independence.
4. Films: Operation Bootstrap
____Puerto Rican Passages

Objective: to explore the experience of the Puerto Rican community as migrant group.

Lesson 1 (Day 20)

Source: The Latino Experience in US. History

American Mosaic

A. Teacher introduces the topic of Puerto Rico by means of maps of the island and a reading from the book Mosaic. Setting the Historical Context, page 244Đ249. Vocabulary words to look up and discuss: Mainland-commonwealth-San Juan-Nuyorrican-
B. Student Activity: Students work on maps and on vocabulary words. Students are also asked to take notes on teacher’s information.
C. Homework: Students are assigned to read about the Foraker Act on page 251 (Mosaic).
D. Students receive directions on the preparation of a paper on Puerto Rico, to be presented orally to the class, and turned in to the teacher in written form. The last two days of the unit will be dedicated to these presentations. You may assign different aspects of migration, or the Foraker Act, or movie reviews as the subject of their presentation.

Lesson 2 (Day 21)


Sources: The Latino Experience in US History.

American Mosaic

A. The teacher will discuss the Foraker Act , and have students discuss questions 1Đ3 on page 251, discussing how this act changed Puerto Rico.
B. 1. Reading assignment. Chapter 20: The Great Migration from Puerto Rico pages 256Đ265.(The Latino Experience).
C. Homework assignment: Answer questions #1-#10, on page 266.

Lesson 3 (Day 22)


Source: The Latino Experience in US. History

A. Teacher continues discussion on last night’s reading. Goes over vocabulary.
B. If available, the film Operation Bootstrap would be ideal at this time.
C. Student Assignment: If available, excerpts from the book When I Was Puerto Rican.

Lesson 4 (Day 23)


Source: The Latino Experience in US.

A. Teacher will present chart on page 262 (Puerto Ricans in New York City and on the Mainland, 1950Đ1970).
B. Students Activity:
____1. To work on answering questions 1Đ4 on page 267, using the chart on page 262.

Lesson 5 and 6 (Day 24 and 25)

Materials: Film: Puerto Rican Passages

A. Students watch movie and take notes.

Lesson 7 (Day 26)

A. Teacher will lead discussion on film.
B. Student Activity:
____1. After watching the documentary, please identify three reasons mentioned related to immigrants and the workforce in the United States of America.
____2. Students draw up lists of reasons why people have settled in Connecticut.

Lesson 8 (Day 27)


B. Students will start oral presentations to the class on the subject of Puerto Rico.

Lesson 9 (Day 28)

A. Balance of presentations, all written work due.
B. Written assessment may be administered by teacher for students who need alternate assessment . This is an instrument to measure student’s knowledge of the subject area and how well they have understood the readings and the discussions.

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TOPIC: The USA in the Year 2000

1. Government policy in regards to documented aliens v undocumented
2. Characteristics of Latinos in the 1990s
3. Language policy issues
4. Film: Documentary: Whose America Is It? (Bill Moyers/PBS)

Objective: To have students make informed conclusions as to the future of immigration policies in the U.S.A.

Lesson 1 (Day 29)


Sources: Whose America Is It?

El Norte (clips)

The Latino Experience

A. Teacher will present vocabulary words: census, barrios, entrepreneurs, trends, alien, documents. Students are asked to take notes of today’s discussion in preparation for their homework assignment.
B. Film: You may open the class by showing the Bill Moyer documentary Whose America Is It? Teacher stops film to discuss border crossing patrols shown in the documentary and reminds students of Rosita’s and Enrique’s crossing using the sewer connection. Discuss examples of immigration officers raiding the workplace of Enrique and Rosita. Why are they called “aliens”
C. Homework: Students will be asked to write a one page position paper, half the class pro the border patrols and the other half against. Students have to give reasons for their positions. NOTE: If films are not available the teacher can present information using The Latino Experience (pages 240, 284, also 322Đ323, 332Đ334).

Lesson 2 (Day 30)


Sources: American Mosaic

A. Teacher will collect homework and answer any questions in relationship to the assignment on “aliens.”
B. Teacher and students read together a selection from Migrant Souls, by Arturo Islas (page 535Đ543, Mosaic).Teacher can (a) read aloud to the class, (b) have students take turns reading to the class, (c) divide the class in groups of threes or fours and assign paragraphs to be read within a 15 minute period of sustained silent reading. Have each group present their material orally to the rest of the class.
C. Students discuss story with the teacher and the term “alien.” Students may answer questions on page 543 in class or in written form as homework.

Lesson 3 (Day 31)

Language Arts & Spanish

Source: The Latino Experience in U.S. History

A. Teacher will discuss student’s homework answers in class and have students debate as to their validity or reality, in view of the material seen so far in this unit.
B. Students will translate their homework into Spanish.
C. Homework: Students are assigned to read Unit 7, page 320 (Latino Experience) on Latinos in the later part of the 20th century in America.

Lesson 4 (Day 32)


Source: The Latino Experience in US. History

A. Teacher will discuss demographics for the year 2000, using chart on page 391 (Latino Experience)
B. Students will use the figures in the chart to prepare a bar graph. If computers are available, students could work on spreadsheet program and convert data to bars, pie charts, or any other model available.

Lesson 5 (continues Day 33)


Materials: Graph paper (easel size), color markers, space to spread out and work individually on art/math project.

A. Student Activity: Using easel size graph paper (available at most office supply stores) and color markers, the classroom becomes an art studio, as students transfer their graph (one per student) onto the paper for display purposes.
A. Homework assignment: Students will answer questions 1Đ4 on page 391 (Latino Experience) under the heading: Building Skills: Identifying Trends, based on the chart of population predictions also on page 391.

Lesson 6 (Day 34)

Math & Social Studies

A. Teacher collects homework and discusses charts on display. The answers given by students are located on the graphs. Questions: What information is shown in the graphs?
________What percent of the US. population was Latino in 1970?
________What percent of the US. population was Latino in 1990?
________What are the changes predicted from 1990 to 2000?
____Students can answer orally by reading their answer and pointing at the graphs on display.
B. Homework assignment: Based on the information gathered and displayed on the graphs, answer the following two questions:
____(1) Which of the following best describes the Latino population trends from 1950 to 1990: steadily decreasing, steadily increasing or little change?
____(2) Do you predict that the influence of the Latino population on US. culture will increase or decrease in the years ahead? What information on the charts supports your answer?

Lesson 7 (Day 35)

Social Studies

Source: Latino Experience

A. Students will be assigned to read Chapter 23, New Immigrants from Central and South America. (Latino Experience).
C. Homework based on reading: students answer question #1 and #2 on page 302 (related to what happened in El Norte); also #3.

Lesson 8 (Day 36 and Day 37)

End of the Unit Projects

Source: The Latino Experience

Have students engage in two of the activities from page 391

1. Ask students to bring in items to prepare a display showing the Latino influence on their everyday lives. (Example: Music (John Secada, Gloria Estefan, the Barrio Boyz; food: tortillas, salsa; expressions: Hasta la vista, adios, hasta manana; t.v. and movies: Antonio Banderas, Andy Garcia, Ricky Martin). You may ask your principal to use one of the display cases (most schools have them, if not set up in your classroom) and have students set up a display of the items.
2. Do the map of the world activity, placing pins for each person inthe building tand the country that they or their family originally came from. Include the white, european staff inthis excercise. Have African-American students work on the map of Africa, choosing a country to represent them as well. You will find that, unless there is a Native American in your student body or staff, everyone comes from somewhere else.

Follow up Activities:

1. Share the information with the rest of the building, staff and students.
2. Invite parents to visit your display during parent’s night.
3. Call your local newspaper and talk to them about doing a story about your project.
4. Take pictures for the yearbook.
5. Tape/video your students doing a presentation, or reading their work.

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1 Takkaki, Ronald. Remarks during lecture at University of San Francisco, April 1996, while lecturing on his book: A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America. Taped by C-Cpan-Book Ends, 1996.
2. Ovando, Carlos, Bilingual Research Journal NABE. p.66.
3. American Mosaic, p. 485.
4. Hakuta, Kenji. Mirror of Language.
5. Collier, Virginia. Bilingual and ESl Classrooms. p. 1.
6. Collier, Virginia.
7. Fernandez-Kelly, Divided Fates.

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Alvarez, Julia. How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accent. New York: Plume, 1992. A warm and witty book that chronicles the Garcia family, political refugees from the Dominican Republic in New York. I would not recommend all the chapters (some have sexual themes not appropiate for middle or high school students).

Armstrong, Thomas. Multiple Intelligences in the Classroom. The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Virginia, 1994. Eye opening research on how students learn. A good resource on insstructional modes.

Bilingual Research Journal, NABE, Volume 18:3&4, Summer-Fall 1994. Carlos Ovando: Insights on Diversity: Reflections of an Involuntary Voluntary Immigration. Thoughtful assessment of author’s position as an immigrant.

California State Department of Education. Beyond Language: Social and Cultural Factors in Schooling Language Minority Students. . California State University, 1986. A primer on the education of students who do not speak English as their first language.

Center for Puertorrican Studies, Hunter College. Stories to Live By: Continuity and Change in Three Generations of Puerto Rican Women. 1987. Personal stories of women from Puerto Rico now living in the U.S.A.

Center, Vol. IV,No.2, 1992. Rios, Palmira: Dominican Migration to Puerto Rico. Pp. 44Đ49. The plight of Dominicans who migrate to Puerto Rico and, eventually, to New York.

Center, Vol. IV, No. 2, 1992. Rodriguez, Luis J. : Smoke & Ash: A Latino Writer Looks Back at the 1992 Los Angeles Uprising, pp.8Đ11. Issues of Hispanics and Blacks in civil strife.

Center, Vol. V, No. 1, 1993. Hector Cordero-Guzman: The Structure of Inequality and the Status of Puerto Rican Youth, pp. 100Đ115. Daily issues in facing discrimination faced by young peopl of Puertorrican descent in New York.

Center, Vol. II, No.5, 1989. Juan Cartagena: English Only JAMAS, pp. 64Đ76. Discussion about the English Only movement, which purpose is to make English the official language of the U.S.A.

Center, Vol. II, No. 6. Andres Torres: New York in the Year 2000: A Sober Assessment., pp.48Đ54. A look towards the future opportunities facing Hispanics in the year 2000.

Collier, Virginia and Carlos Ovando. Bilingual and ESL Classrooms: Teaching in Multicultural Contexts. New York: McGraw Hill, 1985. A primer on Bilingual and ESOL education, with educational strategies and program descriptions. Educators point of view.

Crawford, James. Bilingual Education: History, Politics, Theory and Practice. Los Angeles: Bilingual Educational Services, 1991. Historical background on bilingual education. A journalist’s point of view.

Fernandez, Ronald. The Disenchanted Island: Puerto Rico and the United States in the Twentieth Century. New York: Praeger, 1992. Political realities in the relationship between Puerto Rico and the U.S.A.

Fishman, Joshua and Gary Keller. Bilingual Education for Hispanic Students in the United States. New York: Teachers College Press, 1982. Issues facing the education of language minority children.

Galeano, Eduardo. Open Veins of Latin America New York: Monthly Review Press. 1973. An account of the influence the U.S.A. has had in its Latin American neighbors. Mostly anti-American in spirit, it provides insight into how U.S. intervention into other countries affairs is viewed from the “other side”.

Nieto, Sonia. Affirming Diversity. New York: Longman, 1992. Ms. Nieto makes a case forl speaking other languages and for ethnicity.

Perez-Firmat, Gustavo. Next Year in Cuba. New York: Anchor Books, 1995. Account of life in America, after Castro, from a now middle-class, successful college professor point-of-view. It offers insight into the Cuban migration experience and how it differs from other groups.

Pessar, Patrricia. A Visa For a Dream: Dominicans in the United States. Boston: Allyn & Bacon. 1996. Study of Dominicans in the island seeking to travel to mainland U.S.A. and their experiences in the New York area.

Rodriguez, Richard. Hunger of Memory. New York: Bantam Books, 1982. Account of Richard’s melting into the American pot, how he forgot his native language (Spanish) and his political views against Bilingual education, affirmative action and other liberal causes.

Takaki, Ronald. A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America. Boston: Little, Brown. 1993.

Santiago, Esmeralda. When I was Puerto Rican. New York: Vintage Books, 1993.

Shorris, Earl. Latinos. New York: W.W. Norton & Company. 1992.

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How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accent, by Julia Alvarez. Family that leaves the Dominican Republic and moves to New York. A vvery nice chapter on the learning of English and going to school in their new country is recommended for reading.

The Latino Experience in U.S. History, from Globe Publishers, is a Social Studies book at high school level, which discusses the Latino presence in the U.S.A. up to the present time. It will be required reading for this unit.

American Mosaic: Multicultural Readings in Context, edited by Barbara Roche Rico and Sandra Mano is a Language Arts textbook, high school level. It is available in the New Haven School districts and some of its chapters and selections will be required reading.

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Title  YearCountry/Language
Mi familia/My Family  1994USA—in English
El norte (141 min.)  1974USA—in Spanish with subtitles
El super (80 min.)  1972USA—in Spanish with subtitles
Whose America Is It?  1974USA—in English/documentary
Puertorican Passages  1993USA—in English/documentary
The House of Ramon Iglesias   1972USA—in English/PBS Playhouse
(Most of these films are available at BESTVIDEO, 1697 Whitney Avenue, New Haven, CT, Phone 1-203-287-9286.


The list that follows was compiled from the University of California/Berkeley video catalog. Internet: http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/

Mojado-Remojado. Describes the life of a Mexican undocumented alien in Southern California, his search for work and the sense of community and power which develops among the undocumented workers as they constantly evade the U.S. Immigration authorities. Video/C 1377

Natives:Immigrant Bashing on the Border. Documentary on the xenophobia of some Americans living in California along the U.S.-Mexican border, Video/C 3273-28 minutes.

The English-Speaking Amendment. This program examines a proposed amendment which would mandate that English be the official language of the United States. Arguments pro and con on this issue. Video/C 1920-28 minutes.

The Closing Door. An Investigation of Immigrant Policy:Presents an investigation of current United States policy on immigration in light of past history. Includes consideration of illegal and legal immigration. Video/C 933-58 minutes.

Story Chart

(figure available in print form)

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