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Spanish Language Arts & Social Studies (Grade 8)

Spanish Language Arts & Social Studies (Grade 8)
Posted on 03/10/2016

By: Vionette Matos and Michael Batt

Last January 2016, eighth graders delved into a profound discussion about bias in expository texts. The unit objective sought to explore the importance of cultural competency and create awareness about issues of culture, race, racism, and identity in our society and in Latin America. During this unit, students shared “I statements” about their personal experiences, understandings, observations, and feelings about race, culture, and language variations. The class viewed the PBS documentary series “Black in Latin America” by Prof. Henry Gates from Harvard University. They also investigated, shared presentations, and participated in a mock Model United Nations debate on current news about racial issues in various Latin American countries. In addition, students created family crests that celebrated the cultural diversity of their families and our school community. Nacie Loh and Maddie Mildwoff shared their experiences with our Amigos School community during the Multicultural Night celebration.  

Cultura, raza y racismo en Latinoamérica
By: Nacie Loh

Learning about the Latin American countries for our mock United Nations activity was crucial for understanding not only how racism affects those places but also how it relates to our lives. I learned a lot about Brazil and how life there compares to mine in the United States. I learned about the issues of police brutality and discrimination as well as courses of action that are being taken to fix it, similar to what is happening here. I had the opportunity to see how difficult it is to be black in Latin America, but also how the cultures of these countries have been influenced by the slaves that arrived there so many years ago. Something you may not know - there were three times as many slaves in Brazil as there were in the U.S., and they were later to abolish slavery. That started the initial racism, with the imbalance of power fueling the injustice that came from it, and through it all movements of resistance in support of racial inclusion persist in Brazil and the rest of the Americas.

In our lives, culture is very important, and it forms us as much as we form it. And I’m proud to have grown up within the culture of Amigos.

Construcción de blasones culturales
By: Maddie Mildwoff

During the family crest project we also learned about culture but instead of learning about the way certain cultures experience oppression we learned that we need to embrace our culture and heritage because it has a huge impact on our identity. While creating the family crest we put ourselves out there, trusting our classmates to embrace our culture and the way we identify ourselves. By making and then presenting our crests we also learned a lot about the way our peers identify themselves.