Episode 21: Celebrating Latinx Heritage Month!

brain breaks celebrations Sep 28, 2022
Latinx heritage

I am so excited to share how I've been engaging my students in rich conversations this Latinx Heritage Month!

These are the various accounts and individuals I mentioned during this episode:

Françoise Thenoux - @thewokespanishteacher - Her course Brave Spaces is wonderful
@tlacaeleloficial on Instagram It was there I found this video made by Cycling Atlas on YouTube

Here is my blog on Selfie Brain Breaks! I can't wait to see your selfies!

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Welcome to Teaching la vida loca, a podcast for World Language Teachers seeking inspiration, unapologetic authenticity and guidance in centering joy and facilitating language acquisition for the people who matter most our students, I'm your host, Annabelle. Most people call me la maestra loca. And I'm an educator just like you, and inspiring teachers is what I do. Hello, and welcome to episode 21 of teaching la vida loca. 

Latina Heritage Month  

Today, I'll be sharing some of the strategies I've been using to engage my students in chats and enriching cultural discussions for Latina Heritage Month. Before I begin, I want to share a quote that one of my students told me today, one of my little third graders, rose her hand, I entered the class went over the agenda and said, we'll be doing another story about some really incredible people in the Latina community. And I'm so excited to share them with you today. She rose her hand and she said, Maestra, isn't it great that in Spanish class, you don't only get to celebrate the Latina community during Latino heritage month, but you do it all year round? And I said, yes, it is so great. And I love that she acknowledged that and recognize that. And I think that's an important thing for us to remember that we should be highlighting and celebrating the indigenous and Latina communities all year round, not just during that the new Heritage Month, but I thought it was powerful from the mouth of a third grader. 

Highlight Your Community  

So, this year, and every year I try and highlight individuals in the community that might be lesser known, right. So, as well as highlighting Latina population in our own city because we have such a rich and diverse community within New Orleans itself. And I'm sure many of you do wherever you live. But with outside of that I try and highlight people that kids aren't hearing about in their classes. I'm not saying people like Frida, I mean, I'm wearing Frida dress tomorrow. I love her. I'm not saying that learning about Frida and Ellen Ochoa is not super important. But I love highlighting people who are community heroes and the little guy, if you will, that kids won't hear about in their other classes during this month, I find it far more impactful and really inspiring and motivating for them. The number one resource I use when it comes to finding content for my students is Instagram, Instagram and Tiktok. Normally Instagram because I find that people who post stuff on Tik Tok will just send it to me through Instagram anyways. And I have a hard time navigating tick tock, which I know makes me sound really old. But nevertheless, Instagram is my go-to. I love that I'm able to save videos. And when I save those videos, more often than not, I'll then go and see if I can find that content on YouTube, searching the title, searching the name of the person who shared it, just so that I could find something that's easier to share in class. I do share the short clip in class, but I always do it leading up with a story that I write in the target language for my students. I think all too often when we want to dig deep into really rich cultural topics, our go to is just to do it in L one, just to do it in English, because we want to be able to really dig deep with them. And it's too complicated with novice students to figure out how to do it in the target language. I totally disagree. I have a two-day course that I lead on teaching culture and current events in the target language. Because I think it's so essential that we start teaching culture from the very novice of levels in the target language, doing it in our target language. So what I do is I take a really compelling piece of content. 

Engaging Your Students

For example, today, I used a story that I found from an Instagram account called I don't want to butcher the name, I don't know how to pronounce it correctly. So, I'm going to spell it TLACAELELOFI c i a l. You can rewind if you want to do that. Or you can just scroll down in my show notes, and you can find the account linked. I found this video on Maya Pedal or maya pedal, that it's a company in Guatemala in the south of Guatemala, just outside of Antigua that is taking recycled basic lettuce and turning them into BC maquinas or turning them into machines simple machines that don't require electricity, that don't require gasoline, that are great for the environment, that are making the community's lives easier, by making the jobs that they would normally do by hand. 10 times faster, sometimes 100 times faster, with a simple machine that people pedal. And my students were obsessed, they were so engaged, so fascinated, and I did it all in the target language first. I had this video from Instagram, I went and found the exact same video on YouTube, I'll also link that. And I went through and just took clips from the video, and then wrote it up in the target language with the very simple language that we already have. For example, I said there, this is all in Spanish. But out of the interest of the other teachers on this podcast, who are not Spanish teachers, I'm going to be saying it all in English, there is a community of very creative people that live in Guatemala. Next slide. This town is in the south of Guatemala, it is called Son Uncle. I can't remember the last word, so I'll just link it again. Next slide. And that had a little map of it a picture of a map so I could talk to them about the geography that they saw. Next slide showed a picture of three women working by hand to grind corn, right to make Mesa. And I explained Okay, classe does it look like they take a lot of time to do this or a little time to do this? All of these are really simple vocabulary using the high frequency words they already know. Lives, likes, does, right? Makes. And then the cognate machina comes in? And I'm able to say Classe usa son una machina or las manos? Are they using machine or their hands? They all say hands because they know the word hands. And then I say Okay, turn and talk to your neighbor. What do you think Machina is using the strategy I shared about last week in my podcast last week to talk to your neighbor, they come back and inevitably half the class ended up saying machine muy buen classe excellent. The Yeah, machine? Gosh, don't you think a machine would make this so much easier? what do what do machines need to work? So this part was an English, they were like electricity, gas, they named it all for me. And I said, Si electricidad, gasolina or cognates. Again, I was able to do this with really simple language, right up all the slides with screenshots in advance. So they were getting the background knowledge before seeing the video all in the target language. 

Don’t Forget the Gestures  

And then I played the two-minute video at the end, which had subtitles in English. And I didn't mind spending that two minutes and 40 seconds in English, because I had done so much front loading with rich Spanish in the target language, all staying in the target language with obvious Brain Breaks built in and everything like that. At the end of class, I said Classe, what kind of Machina would you make? What would you make? I even introduced the C clause went ahead and did it novice learners. But they knew immediately what I was asking, what kind of machine would you make for your community. They don't care about the grammar, if it's in context, all they're doing is they're hearing the Spanish in a different context in the context that they know, with a different format. I'm using the gesture still, they're turning and talking to their neighbor in English, of course, about what machine they would make. Then I passed out a little paper, everybody got to design their bike, they took it home, they're going to talk to their families about it tonight. They're so excited. Some of them want to bring back their finished project tomorrow. They are so inspired by this little community doing big things in the south of Guatemala. This company has been in in action I guess if you want to say an action has been functioning as this community, huge community help since it for 21 years, at least because that was the video that I showed today. And my kids were just all in. 

Mariachi Band 

Another video that I've used is a video I found again on Instagram for a women's mariachi band out of New York. I found them on Great Big Story. They wear pants. They embody all the passion and incredible musicality of a mariachi mariachi band, but they're breaking this stigma of the machismo that usually comes with mariachi, and then they talk about this in this wonderful video. They talk all in English, but I again front loaded all in Spanish with screenshots with pictures of the women describing the women naming the women, all with the simple vocabulary that they already have front loading the information, so that at the end of class, we could watch this video, I find that social media and clips in general, they don't have to be long or wildly engaging for our kids. If we think about how much time they spend on the screens, not that I love this, but they spent so much time on the screen. It is incredibly compelling and engaging to utilize that as a tool in our classrooms. Especially if we can say in advance, we're going to watch a clip in the end, but I want to talk to you about that clip beforehand. Let's go ahead and do a brain break, shall we? Let's do a brain break. Ready? 

Brain Break

Okay, you're the brain break I want to share with you right now is a selfie brain break. I'm obsessed with a selfie. Brain Break actually only done it twice this year with my students, I really need to do it for all my classes. I just, I it hasn't been on the forefront of my mind, but I just thought of it. And it's perfect because you can take a selfie right now of yourself listening to this podcast and then share it. So other people can listen and be inspired like you what I know it's such a good idea. So, the brain breaks are something I do with my students. I'll just say classe selfie, dias ocho, nueva, my kids gather behind me. I stand up on a chair. So, I'm able to fit all of us in. And they make cute faces behind me, and they make silly faces. They make silly poses. And I catalog these throughout the year. So, it's really fun to see like, oh, this is our September selfie. Here's a selfie we did in November. Oh my gosh, look how much bigger you are in January. Oh my gosh, here we are at the end of the year in May. So, it's really fun to catalog. They make great yearbook memories. They make really embarrassing photos to use in eighth grade continuations or senior senior graduation videos. When your kids you can use the ones from when you taught them when they were freshmen. Or when they were little baby fifth graders and now they're going into high school you know, so it's a great brain break to use with your students. I hope you love it. Don't forget to snap a selfie now and share it on your socials tag me and let people know what episode you're listening to and maybe what what you've learned so far, so it drags them in. I'd love to have more listeners to inspire more teachers just like you and hopefully they're still.

Target Language Slides  

Okay, so now that I've shared this idea with you have a short form video, prefaced with some target language slides, previewing what the kids will see, I wanted to share some of the sites that I think you should follow are or Instagram accounts that I think you should follow for this great content. A lot of these people also have YouTube channels. I want to give credit first of all to a course I took with Francois Thenoux, the woke Spanish teacher on Instagram, called Brave spaces. She is phenomenal and actually shares a million accounts that are great for you to follow for content like this. But she is really the voice behind a lot of what I've learned about inclusive language in the Spanish classroom. While I say Latinx heritage month a lot of people put that X on the end, the X is not pronounced I learned this from her. Instead, it's a placeholder for you to insert an O and A and E and I, whatever feels most comfortable in anytime you see an X. But again, credit to all I learned from Francoise on her Instagram as well as in her course. Brave spaces. I know that she does it. At least at the beginning of the year. I don't know if she does it throughout but it's worth going to her, following her and keeping an eye out for that course.

More Resources 

Other accounts, the one I shared earlier TLACAELE l o official is a fantastic one. Project Pulso is wonderful but at Project Pulso, lots of great content not just video content but great images too for picture talks. Freddy travel is I'm obsessed y'all I'm obsessed with Freddy travel, Freedy travel? He is the person who does the life story are they always videos if you've ever seen them, they're really short fast minute long videos that are so rich in history and culture, and very compelling for students. They're like fast editing, they've got that cut editing that students love. He makes amazing videos. I love what he shares. He's also just really fun to share. I love his personality and his joy. Great Big Story I mentioned earlier, that's not really necessarily always, actually, it's almost never just Spanish content. It's like, cool content from all over the world, but it makes for great content all year round. And then AJ Plus Espanol. That's another one that also is on YouTube but has a great Instagram account. A lot of what they share, though, is content that I wouldn't necessarily be able to share in my Spanish class. But it's great for me just as somebody who is continuing to acquire and trying to be knowledgeable and constantly learning about the world around me. So hopefully, that was helpful to you. I'm so excited for you to see the video I shared with my students today about Maya Pedal. And I hope that you're able to use it and other content that you find when following these amazing accounts on Instagram. 

Thank You! 

Thank you so much for listening to this podcast. I'm so grateful for you. It is something else that I added to my crazy overfilled plate, but it's something I've been really enjoying. So, the more you share it and the more you let me know that it's been helpful to you. The more I feel inspired to do these episodes, even at nine o'clock at night on a Tuesday, which I was supposed to publish this today and I'm just recording it today. Oh well. I hope you have a wonderful night, and I will talk to you next time. Until then I'll be teaching la vida loca and I am sure you will be too. Take care teacher!

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