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I Have a Border in my Mind: the Puerto Ricans' Arts and Culture as Factors for Self-Esteem

by
Abie L. Quiñones-Benítez


Contents of Curriculum Unit 01.04.08:

To Guide Entry


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Introduction

A misrepresentation of ethnic groups has affected the way children perceive themselves and others. Although the contemporary arts and literature in the United States have flourished, an alienation of certain sectors may impede a complete view of the arts and literature if taught from an Eurocentric point of view. On one side we have the glorification of European settlers. On the other we have the demoralization of other groups. Perhaps, this phenomenon is part of a rite of entry that new immigrating ethnic groups must endure. Irish Americans, Italian Americans, and Jewish Americans have been misrepresented in the past but somehow have been able to find themselves as part of the mainstream. Yet, many will argue that these groups and other immigrating groups continue to be portrayed in a negative manner in the arts as a result of societal beliefs. I am not certain that this is so. I am certain that for African American, Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, Jamaicans, and other groups of darker complexion society and the forms of art chosen at school continue to misrepresent them. The Language Arts curriculum at the middle school level may include valuable literature produced by people of these groups. Yet, a void of Latino voices in the curriculum and especially Puerto Ricans continues. Through participating in the Race and Ethnicity in Contemporary Art and Literature I plan to increase the awareness of the need for inclusion of Puerto Rican Literature and Art in the public schools curriculum. The increment of Puerto Rican students in our public schools classrooms makes this endeavor necessary. I expect to increase my awareness of race and ethnicity in the arts through the active participation in this institute and from the discussions generated by others in our seminar. Especially important for me is to increase my awareness of symbols present in the arts that may affect our perception of reality. The middle school curriculum encourages students to become aware of themselves as part of their environment. This includes finding themselves in history and literature as well as understanding how the environment affects their lives. For many of my students this would involved learning about Puerto Ricans in the United States and in the island. Puerto Rican literature and art is a vibrant rich body of knowledge that can increase their awareness of the environment and their place in history. The other resource for historical accounts that my students have is their own experience and the possibility of reinventing an identity misrepresented in society. I see culture among Puerto Ricans in the United State in constant change; a reinventing of cultural identity as a way find ones self. Therefore, I will try to capture my students' beliefs about culture, art, and their reality to help them redirect their misrepresentations by increasing their awareness of their own culture through literature and the art of Puerto Ricans. In this unit I have in mind to include all children, regardless of their ethnic background, in the process of self-awareness. This ambitious goal I hope to accomplish by generating discussions about their own ethnic identity and by increasing their awareness of the similarities among different ethnic groups. I hope to plan and implement lessons that involve a variety of art forms and literature genre that will increase my students' awareness of Puerto Rican culture. In addition, I hope to include in each lesson a written reflection that would lead to the students own accounts of how art, literature and ultimately culture can affect their perception of the world, their self-awareness, and their self esteem.

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Overview

My "I have a border in my mind: the Puerto Ricans' arts and culture as factors for self-esteem" will be used in my own school. As a guidance counselor my responsibilities include to provide educational counseling services to over two hundred and fifty children. Due to the numbers I can only reach a few on an individual basis, thus, group intervention is necessary. In order to impact their self-esteem and their academic development I will implement this curriculum as part of my guidance interventions in the classroom. Once a week for the duration of the curriculum I will meet with my students at their assigned classrooms. Approximately a 40 minutes period will be dedicated to the implementation of each lesson for the duration of the curriculum. I intent to implement this curriculum as part of the Language Arts, Reading, and Social Studies curriculum in the middle school. The literature read would be that produced by Puerto Rican writers both in the island and mainland U. S. I will include a variety of literature genres, such as: poetry, short stories, novels, and essays. In addition, the Puerto Rican artists' work included will varied as well. I hope to include plastic arts, film, music, and dance. For this part of the curriculum collaboration with the art department will be crucial. Due to the nature of this curriculum and my involvement with a large number of the student body the concept awareness will permeate the rest of the school. This, I hope, will increase the interest that other students and faculty may have about Puerto Rican culture, art, and literature and perhaps it will increase their need to seek further exposure and knowledge. Moreover, I hope that other teachers become interested in including Puerto Rican themes in their curriculum due to the academic development and enthusiasm shown by my students and the products that their participation in this curriculum will generate. A final project will be part of this unit. It will include the written reflections on the topics discussed throughout the curriculum. Also, the students will do some research on the Internet, library, and with their own family to identify an artist or writer that they may want to showcase. The project will include a written collection of essays, short stories, and poems produced by the students in addition to the written report about the artist work that they have chosen. In addition, the project will include visual representations in a variety of forms such as: diaramas (a representation of a scene or scenery build in a show box), drawings, sculptures with paper maché, pictures, and many more according to the student's preference. In collaboration with the administration, the art department, and the students an exhibit of the final works will be open to the rest of the school. This exhibit should be housed at the school library. A ceremony of presentation of the work will take place to open the exhibit.

Altogether, this curriculum and the appropriate resources needed to implement it will be available to teachers and easily located for those who would like to explore the possibility of including the Puerto Rican presence in the materials they use in their classrooms. Middle school teachers and possibly other level teachers will have the option of exploring their student's awareness about Puerto Ricans. Furthermore, students with their teachers can explore their ethnicity while they learn about other ethnic groups. The gap of quality multicultural materials in the curriculum, especially those pertinent to Puerto Ricans may be decreased. In promoting this type of instructional content and approach teachers may be able to explore new ways of reaching their students of different ethnic backgrounds and may become aware of their own culture and how it impacts their teaching. As this curriculum entices others to become interested in Puerto Rican art, literature, and culture it will address the neglect of Puerto Rican identity development in the current curriculum. Thus, positively impacting the self-esteem of many of our public schools children.

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Brief History of Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is an island in the Caribbean Sea located 1,050 miles south east of Miami, Florida. West of the American Virgin Islands is the smallest of the Greater Antilles. Puerto Rico is much closer the mainland 48 states of the union than Hawaii. The location of Puerto Rico has been an important determinant of its economic, political, and military participation in the world. The Spaniards used it as a military storage and as part of their transportation system to South America. The U. S. A. has used it as a military bastion due to its vicinity to the rest of the Americas and its strategic location in the Atlantic and Caribbean Sea. Similar in size to Connecticut, Puerto Rico's population is 3.8 million. It has six urban centers, which include San Juan, the capital, with a population of almost 500,000. The strong Spanish and Caribbean culture make this island a magical and exciting place to grow up and to visit. Its constant colonization has made its people cherish its beauty and it has promoted a rich cultural tradition and the arts.

Christopher Columbus and his European crew were the first Spanish sponsored expedition to Puerto Rico. They arrived to the island, called Boriken by its indigenous people, in Nov. 19, 1493. They found an island populated by the Tainos, peace loving and brave people, who are said to be indigenous of the North America. As opposed to the previous inhabitants the Arawaks who came from South America. The Spanish called the island San Juan Bautista and the capital Puerto Rico. Later, the names were switched and to this day the island remains Puerto Rico; rich port.

In 1509 Puerto Rico was appointed its first Spanish head of government, Don Juan Ponce de Leon. Concerned about threats from European enemies, forts were build since 1521 to protect the island from invasion and the gold stored from being stolen. Brutally used for mining the Tainos started to flee, disappear, or simply die. Although the accounts of the Taino civilization were not documented by the "conquistadores" in depth, enough archeological evidence and writings from the church revealed a thriving community that was in existence prior to the arrival of the Europeans.

In 1809 Puerto Rico was recognized as an overseas province and in 1898 had been granted autonomy. In July of 1898 the United States invaded Puerto Rico. The Spaniards had granted ownership of the island as part of the Spanish American war. Although the "criollos" knew about the Paris Treaty, they refuse surrendering and fought to prevent invasion to no avail.

In 1917 the U. S. Congress granted Puerto Ricans citizenship and two decades later a bill was passed to allow Puerto Rico to establish its own government. In addition, businesses were granted tax exemption if they establish in Puerto Rico, which promoted the industrialization of the island. The 1970 census showed that Puerto Rico was mostly urban.

During the last quarter of the 20th Century Puerto Rico's economy has diversified into commerce and services yet the island status continues to dominate its politics. Three major views are represented in the electoral parties: pro-commonwealth, statehood, and independence. Both, the pro-commonwealth and the statehood are at rough parity. The independence movement, holding a 5% share of the electoral support, remains a visible force in the island.

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The Puerto Ricans

In 1898, as part of the Treaty of Paris, Puerto Rico became a colony of the United States. In this respect Puerto Ricans, although Latin Americans in origin, are United States citizens with the to vote while in the mainland. Puerto Rico was a military protectorate until 1952 when the first elected Puerto Rican government was established. Puerto Rico has been an economic and military accessory of the United States. The issue of the associated free state status continues to be what is called the national sport. Politics are a major part of Puerto Rican life in the island that permeates and affects attitudes and feelings of Puerto Ricans in the states. But, who are Puerto Ricans and what are their ethnic backgrounds? The indigenous people of Puerto Rico at the time of the Europeans' arrival were the Tainos. The Taino people were an organized society that involved a network of chieftains. Each chieftain had a set hierarchy that organized the life of every member. Some members worked in the agriculture others in the hunting and fishing. Although gold and other precious metals were used in the island, art forms were found more often in pottery and stone and wood's carvings. It was obvious that these people were not miners yet the Spaniards forced them to work as mining laborers. The encounter of these two cultures was not favorable for the Tainos who fell ill from diseases, exhaustion, and were killed in violent encounters between the two groups. Many flee into the mountains and to this day many Taino features can be seen among Puerto Ricans.

The Spaniards first arrived to Puerto Rico in 1493 that was during Christopher Columbus second trip to the Americas. During the same time the inquisition was rampant in Spain. Many people who came to the Americas saw it as a way to escape religious persecution others were in search of economic prosperity. Either way they came to an unknown environment where they would have to endure the harsh conditions of colonizing a land. In addition to Spanish immigrants other Europeans in smaller numbers came to Puerto Rico. Obviously the clash between cultures was difficult but as humans often do many adjusted and some married or concubine with the other ethnic group. Yet, a clearly Spanish literary and artistic legacy continues to permeate Puerto Rican culture.

As numbers of the Tainos diminished African slaves were brought to work as laborers. Marked as property these people were used to build, mine, grow crops, and many other chores. Again interethnic marriages and other circumstances infused the African ancestry into the Puerto Rican ethnicity. It is often said to those who denied their African ancestry: "and your grandma where is she?" Educated Puerto Ricans are proud of their Native American, Spanish, and African ancestry, yet, there is a small group of people who attempt to deny their non European ancestry. Other groups of Puerto Ricans whether in the mainland or the island may not be aware of their ancestry.

Momentarily, Puerto Ricans express their love for who they are by embracing nationalistic emblems such as the flag and the official seal of the island. Moreover, it is usual to find artifacts that represent typical foods, instruments, and holidays. Finally, when away from the island Puerto Ricans often dream of returning to it or about the beautiful bounty of colors in the flora and the fauna of their "homeland". Thus, I have border in my mind can help capture some of the oral history present among Puerto Rican students in the mainland.

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The Culture

Although Puerto Ricans have been coming to the United States since the nineteenth century much of their culture is still unknown or misinterpret. Yet, no matter where in the globe a Puerto Rican lives a connection to the island and its customs is maintained through friends and family. Even recent immigrants to the island are welcome and easily integrated to the society. The vast majority of Puerto Ricans are catholic but all religious groups have representation in the island. A strong protestant growth has impacted the island in the later half of the twentieth century. Although most people claim to be Christian, religions such as Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Judaism among other are prevalent in the island.

Holidays and celebrations are influenced by the Catholic Church celebrations. For instance every town continues to celebrate a festival for the patron saint of the town. These festivals involved a week of celebrations that are sponsored by the town, including live music and entertainment, typical food, athletic competitions and church activities. This celebrations take place at the town's plaza or center where the town hall and the catholic church are located.

In Puerto Rico festivals are commonly used to celebrate seasons, flora, fauna, and accomplishments of distinguished Puerto Ricans. One such celebrations is the so called discovery of Puerto Rico (Boriken, the Taino name of the island) by Cristobal Colon on November 19. Recently the discovery concept has been replaced by a more appropriate concept, which is that on November 19 an encounter of cultures took place. Since 1993 (Celebration of 500 years of Columbus' arrival) the discovery celebration has changed to the "Encuentro de Culturas".

The Christmas season starts after Thanksgiving (now widely celebrated in Puerto Rico) and extends to approximately January 14. During that period of time friends and family visit each other frequently. A tradition of Christmas Caroling is still prevalent in the island. Although very similar to other types of caroling, the tradition is to go to friends houses in the middle of the night unannounced and sing for them and the homeowner must provide nourishment and refreshments for the arriving guests. Such caroling usually involved twenty or more people so people must be well stock throughout the holiday season. It is common to celebrate Christmas with family gatherings that involved succulent concoctions of typical foods, desserts, and refreshments. This celebration takes place on December 24, which is commonly known as "Noche Buena" (good night). All family members must be part of this celebration and gifts are exchange in some families. Christmas Day (December 25) is usually a day of rest for adults and enjoyment for the children. Depending on the family traditions the children may get toys and gifts both, December 25 and on January 6th . The Three Kings Day celebrated on January 6th commemorates the visit of wise men who visited and brought gifts for the infant Jesus. In that manner a tradition is to gather grass and place it in a box near the child's bed so the camels can get nourishment while the "wise-men" are leaving the presents for the child.

Family gatherings are common throughout the year as often as possible. Adult children usually visit the parents home at least once a week if not more often. A good offspring is described as a hard working child who visits and takes care of their folks. At family gatherings stories are told that commemorate major events for the family or that reminds everyone of embarrassing funny instances for family members. Every family has an oral tradition and there is always a family story-teller that passes on the stories to others. It is common to find twenty or more people laughing until tears come to their eyes about a story they have heard many times.

Respect to the elders is expected of younger members of the society. It is expected that children and younger people respect and honor elders in the society. This permeates in the tone used to address elders and even in the body language use while conversing with them. For example, a different form of the second person pronoun is used, instead of using tu (you) usted (similar to thee) is used. The young person addresses the elder in this manner unless the elder clarifies otherwise. This is so common still to this day that an elder may correct a younger person who is addressing them using the informal form of the pronoun. Titles of Sir or Madame may be substituted by the title Don or Doña.

Education is a high priority among Puerto Ricans in the island. Puerto Rico has a high concentration of colleges, private schools, a system of public and vocational education. It is expected that children attend school and respect their teachers. In return teachers are expected to love and nurtured children as well as to teach academic subjects. Although Puerto Ricans are well known for their involvement in baseball, boxing, and other sports, basketball is a highly favored sport throughout the island and every school has a court.

Fashion is extremely important, Puerto Ricans like to dress well and follow the fashion trends. In the island fashion is so important that in some sectors of the population Fridays are like a fashion show. Most women in the island wear high heels even when shopping and it is appropriate to dress-up for the movies, the mall, the doctor, etc.

Finally, an important feature of the Puerto Ricans is the "Ay Bendito" which means sorry but it involves the person feelings to help others. It is common to find neighbors or friends taking care of each other in dire times. When you encounter a Puerto Rican and they ask you how are you they really mean it. They want to know how you are doing and if you share a difficulty they will try to help out. So if you ask how they are they will share their circumstances at the moment. The same way they will share their home, their food, their clothing, and their efforts with not only their kin but also anyone in need.

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Curriculum

Although an emphasis has been given to the Puerto Rican life in the island it is important that the readings and the students experiences encourage a reflection about the life of Puerto Ricans in the United States. Most importantly, Puerto Ricans in the mainland have been contributors in the areas of art, literature, music, sports, science, technology, and more. The following themes are suggested in implementing this curriculum. Each addresses a particular aspect of the Puerto Rican experience.
I. Brief History of Puerto Rico
II. On becoming bilingual and bicultural
III. La guagua aerea
IV. The African connection
V. Grasping to maintain an identity

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I. The History - The Island

The objective of this Unit is to give the students a sense of urgency to search more about Puerto Rican history. A: I intent to introduce them to a poem by the Puerto Rican writer Sandra Maria Estevez - "It is raining today". (Boricuas: Influential Puerto Rican writings - An anthology)

To read the poem we'll tae turns at reading each line and explaining what it means. The reader of each line will explain its meaning out of context. The explanation must contain a statement and a question. For example: If a line says "the ocean shines with truth"; the reader may say that the ocean must be clear and he/she may ask: Does the writer think that oceans can talk or express emotions? On a chart paper we will write statements and questions.

B: A brief history of Puerto Rico can be introduced.

To help students understand in depth the history of Puerto Rico. They should be assigned to a small group and given the task of rotating to instructional settings placed within the classroom or the school library. Each group will have the task to gather information to write a summary that will contain the following information:

Population - In Puerto Rico there are several groups who have integrated.

Location - In relation to the U.S. and other parts of the world.

Ancestry - What ethnic groups are presented?

Where did they come from?

Climate - How is the weather, terrain, etc.

Migration - Where and How?

C. A Class Presentation of the history summary.

Each group will present what they have found out about Puerto Rico and Puertorican. Students can use any props to improve their presentation such as clothing, artifacts, photos and/or drawings. In addition, each student will write a one page composition explaining their understanding of Puerto Rico - its history and its people.

D. A class discussion that will involved going back to the charts with statements and questions and revisiting the poem.

The discussion will follow the reading of the poem by the teacher and then shared reading by class members. We will revisit the charts and try to answer the question and may either student be able to expand on the answer.

E. The class members can create a collage with the questions and answers to be displayed in the hallway. In addition, this can be part of the final exhibit.

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II. On becoming bilingual bicultural

A. Students will be assigned the reading of a chapter in "When I was Puerto Rican" by Esmeralda Santiago - The American Invasion of Macun - Class shared reading will follow. Discussion on the topics of culture shock, cultural differences, and cultural adjustments will enhance the discussion of the reading.

B. Students will be assigned the reading of the epilogue in "When I was Puerto

Rican" by Esmeralda Santiago. A discussion on the Puerto Rican experience in New York will be explored by having students compare their own experiences in the U. S.

C. Students will compose expository essays that will describe their own family experience with culture and language. Students could describe the adjustments to new culture and language. Students should be encouraged to interview family members who know about this period of adjustment in their family.

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III. La guagua aerea - The migration to the United States

This part of the unit can be taught at any time during the year preferably as part of the language arts, reading, or social studies curriculum.

A. Looking at images

This part of the unit will start by exposing to the concept of self-image. A self portrait such as "You don't look porrorican" by Miguel Trelles a Puerto Rican artist (available at: http://feld.hartfort.edu/auca/150/Default.htm) can be used to prompt a discussion about how we perceive ourselves and how that may be in contrast with what others think. The definition and the importance of self image will begin by having students construct in group discussion their own definition of self image and how it influences our own behavior. As part of this discussion students will come up with characteristics they think describe themselves (Who am I?) and will share it with other peers in a 3 to 4 small group discussion. The discussion should focus on each individual member at first and following they will have to come up with a definition on self-concept. To create the definition each group will take into consideration all members' understandings of this concept.

Once the definition is constructed by each small group the following session should included a 10 - 20 minutes lecture on self image and the importance for the development of one's identity. The lecture should also include some information about society and how it shapes its members and specifically about American society and the array of ethnic groups. In discussing this manner I will consult the words of Ogbu, a sociologist who has posed a description on how people become minorities in American society and how this impacts their performance in school and as members of the society.

It is important to expose students to this concepts to give them a sense on how sociologists define the concept of minority and the impact one's reputation in society may have in our self concept. Finally, it is important for students to discuss how all of this may impact their development of identity. An essay on "Who am I?" will be composed. Included in the essays they answer the following questions: "Am I an American and if so how I describe myself as such?, Am I a minority and if so how I describe myself as such?, Do I have to be part of any group of people to be me? Why yes, or Why not?

B. More images

Another activity will be to find images in the internet (such as http://feld.hartfort.edu/auca/150/Default.htm) or books in the library created by Puerto Rican artists such as Miguel Trelles, Imna Arroyo, etc. (it is possible for students who preferred to find African American artist to do so). Images should somehow resemble or reflect self-concept of a group or an individual. The discussions on this work will include our own recollections of self. One activity that may enhance these discussions is creating self-portraits or using a photo as a prompt to describe themselves using poetry.

C. What happens when the U. S. is home?

"Going Home" a book by Nicolasa Mohr will be introduced to the group. To begin we will do some shared reading starting with the teacher reading some excerpt from the book that may be deemed relevant to the discussion of self-concept. Then small group teams will read chapters and discuss them. Each group will have an oral presentation on their chapters; the rest of the group will contribute to the discussion by asking questions and adding comments that may shed further light on the concept of identity. Students at this point will be encouraged to start working on their final projects collecting oral histories from their families about how they arrived to the United States or to New Haven. This is an activity that can be good for both recent immigrants as well as for students who are second or third generation immigrants. For those students who are not aware of being immigrants unless they are Native Americans this should proof to be an interesting search. If they are Native Americans this should be an opportunity to showcase their culture and how are their traditions kept by elders and others in their community.

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IV. The African connection

At this point in the curriculum students should be independent discussants of literature and art forms. It is important to understand that not all minorities see each other as allies therefore this part of the unit should encourage Latino and African American students to explore the issue of race in a society that gives more value to European ancestry.

A. Black and Latino (Essay by Roberto Santiago. Available in: Boricuas: Influential Puerto Rican writings - An anthology).

Students and teacher can share in reading this essay. It is important to discuss the issue of color creating an atmosphere of trust and respect among all class members. The teacher (I do this) must be aware of all exchanges and must be sensitive to students' discomforts as they arise. As follow up an essay on the students' reaction to the essay may bring the opportunity to the teacher to identify any discomforts or difficulties.

B. "Goyita" (A painting by Rafael Tufiño, Puerto Rican artist. Available in: Hermandad de artistas graficos de Puerto Rico (1998). Puerto Rico: Arte e identidad p. 136. San Juan, P. R.: Editorial de la Universidad de Puerto Rico). A good activity would be to allow students to compose a composition describing the woman portrayed by Tufiño. Let them share their perceptions with the rest of the class. Find similarities and differences I will write them on the board and allow for them to see how different individuals perceive people in different ways. This same exercise can be done withany other portray.

C. "Hay que soñar azul" - you have to dream in blue - (A painting by Arnaldo Roche, Puerto Rican artist. Available in: Hermandad de artistas graficos de Puerto Rico (1998). Puerto Rico: Arte e identidad p. 136. San Juan, P. R.: Editorial de la Universidad de Puerto Rico). Allow students to explain the name of the painting after viewing it. I will create teams of two or three students to come up with a reason for the author's choice of title for this art- work. After discussing all points of view the group can try to come up with a collective reason for the name. As a follow up students will have to find out more about the painter.

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V. Grasping to maintain an identity

A. Almost a woman by Esmeralda Santiago is a good source to expose the students to short stories of encountering a new culture. I want to read some excerpts with the students and discuss their own experience when encountering new neighborhoods, new schools, new circumstance, etc. Essays to reflect on these discussions will allow students to understand their idiosyncrasies.

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Final Project

Students will create a series of essays on self-concept and identity. In addition, the will create a historical account of their families. It will include the written reflections on the topics discussed throughout the curriculum. Also, the students will do some research on the Internet, library, and with their own family to identify an artist or writer that they may want to showcase. The project will include a written collection of essays, short stories, and poems produced by the students in addition to the written report about the artist whose work they have chosen. In addition, the project will included visual representations in a variety of forms such as: dioramas (representation of a sense or scenery build in a show box), drawings, sculptures with paper mache, pictures, and many more according to the students' preferences.

To enhance their writing they will be encourage to create "heritage boxes". A shoe box can be painted and adorned in the outside and inside to portray the family's history recorded by the students. This may include photos, artifacts, etc. that will help the student illustrate the information in their oral history gathering. In collaboration with the administration, the art department, and the students an exhibit of the final works will be open to the rest of the school. This exhibit should be housed at the school library. A ceremony of presentation of the work will take place to open the exhibit.

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Conclusion

My curriculum unit on Puerto Rican Identity/"I have a border on my mind" will be designed to enhance students understanding of self-concept as well as to enhance their knowledge about Puerto Rican art and literature. In doing so I hope that the students' response will be twofold, on the one hand they will enhance their own understanding of their identity as individuals but also it will enhance their knowledge about cultural identity in the American society. The understanding of one's reality can give a handle on how we can shape that reality so in that way this unit could have a large impact on students and that could be empowering them to create their own identity in a conscious way.

Altogether, this curriculum and the appropriate resources needed to implement it will be available to teachers and easily located for those who would like to explore the possibility of including the Puerto Rican presence in the materials they use in their classrooms. Middle school teachers and possibly other level teachers will have the option of exploring their student's awareness about Puerto Ricans. Furthermore, students with their teachers can explore their ethnicity while they learn about other ethnic groups. The gap of quality multicultural materials in the curriculum, especially those pertinent to Puerto Ricans may be decreased. In promoting this type of instructional content and approach teachers may become aware of their own culture and how it impacts their teaching. As this curriculum entices others to become interested in Puerto Rican identity development in the current curriculum. Thus, this curriculum impacts the self-esteem of many of our public schools children.

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Reading List for Teachers

Aparicio, F. (1998). Listening to salsa: Gender, latin popular music and Puerto Rican cultures. Hanover, MA: New England University Press. This book is a description and an extensive analysis of the popular music of Puerto Rico.

Glasser, R. (1995). My music is my flag: Puerto Rican musicians and the New York communities 1917-1940. Berkley, CA: University of California Press. This is a historical work on Puerto Rican music. The author recalls a golden age of Puerto Rican music in New York.

Glasser, R. (1998). Aqui me quedo: Puerto Ricans in Connecticut, Los Puertorriqueños en Connecticut. New Haven, CT: Connecticut Humanities Council. This is a historical qualitative study conducted by the author in Connecticut. The author includes interviews as well as excellent analysis of the information gathered. It is written in both English and Spanish simultaneously.

Negron-Muntaner, F., & Grosfoguel, R. (Eds.). (1998). Puerto Rican jam: Essays on culture and politics. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press. This is an anthology of essays that discuss Puerto Rican identity in terms of nationalism, colonialism, and beyond.

Santiago, E. (1993). When I was Puerto Rican. New York: Vintage Books. This is a work of fiction that evokes the Puerto Rican experience of migration and leaving the island, the culture, and the people behind.

Hermandad de artistas graficos de Puerto Rico (1998). Puerto Rico: Arte e identidad. San Juan, P. R.: Editorial de la Universidad de Puerto Rico. This book contains a historical account of the plastic arts in Puerto Rico. It includes many images that portray the work of artist of different periods.

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For Students in English

Bernier-Grand, C. (1994). Juan Bobo: Four folktales from Puerto Rico. New York: Harper Trophy. This book is a collection of short stories or folktales from Puerto Rico.

Bernier-Grand, C. (1995). Poet and Politician of Puerto Rico: Don Luis Muñoz Marín. New York: Orchard Books. This is a historical review of the life and work of Luis Muñoz Marin.

Bernier-Grand, C. (1999). In the shade of the níspero tree. New York: Orchard Books. This is a work of fiction that narrates the life of a third grader growing up in Puerto Rico. It deals with issues of economic class and race.

Delano, J., & Delano, I. (1994). En busca del maestro Rafael Cordero: In search of maestro Rafael Cordero. Rio Piedras, P. R.: Editorial de la Universidad de Puerto Rico. This book is a historical account of the first school accessible to children with African ancestry in Puerto Rico.

Morh, N. (1986). Going home. New York: Puffin Books. This fiction work is about a young Puerto Rican girl who lives in New York and her experiences in Puerto Rico during a summer vacation. It explores cultural shock and growing up with two cultures.

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For Students in Spanish

Ada, A. F. (1993). Me llamo María Isabel. New York: Aladdin Paperbacks. This is a work of fiction that deals with the experiences of a young child who migrated from Puerto Rico to the mainland United States. It explores culture shock and adjusting to new environments.

Laguerre, E. A. (1935). La llamarada. San Juan, P. R.: Editorial Cultural. It is a fictional work that portrays the conditions of work and life in Puerto Rico in the middle of the 20th Century.

Mohr, N. (1980). Para una mejor vida: Una historia de El Barrio. Cooper City, FL: Span Press. This fictional work provides an account of the life of young child moving from Puerto Rico to New York.

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Resources on Audio Recordings

Banco Popular. (1999). Con la musica por dentro: Cien años de historia. San Juan, P. R.: Author. This CD is a work of musical history that contains popular and folk music from Puerto Rico.

Brown, R. (1992). Poetas Puertorriqueños: En conmemoración del encuentro entre dos mundos. San Juan, P. R.: Comisión Puertorriqueña para la Celebración del Quinto Centenario del Descubrimiento de América y Puerto Rico. A CD that contains music and poetry that describe the encounter of cultures that promoted who the Puerto Ricans are today.

Jimenez, A. (1991). Cien años con Albizu. Toa Baja, P. R.: Nuevo Arte Inc. This CD is sample of folk music that intends to celebrate a nationalistic view of life in Puerto Rico.

Zaiter, S. (1992). Cantando historia de Puerto Rico … en el Quinto Centenario. San Juan, P. R.: Comisión Puertorriqueña para la Celebración del Quinto Centenario del Descubrimiento de América y Puerto Rico. This CD is a historical account of Puerto Rico made into music to promote the knowledge among young audiences.

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Resources in Video Recordings

Banco Popular. (1996). Al compás de un sentimiento: La música de Pedro Flores. San Juan, P. R.: Author. This a professionally develop video with musicians, dancers, scenery, and choreography that depicts a golden age of the music of Puerto Rico.

Banco Popular. (2000). Guitarra mía: Un tributo a José Feliciano. San Juan, P. R.: Author. This a professionally develop video with musicians, dancers, scenery, and choreography that celebrate the life and work of Jose Feliciano, a Puerto Rican singer.

Connecticut Public Television. (1995). Puerto Rican Passages. Connecticut: Author. This video is a historical account of the Puerto Ricans in Connecticut.

WLIW21. (1999). The Puerto Ricans: Our American story. New York: Author. This video is a historical account of the Puerto Ricans in the United States.

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