We offer a variety of resources to use in your classroom, including lesson plans, a comprehensive list of children’s and young adult books related to Latin America and the Caribbean, culture boxes which can borrowed for a hands-on approach to learning about Mexican cultures, and four Day of the Dead traveling exhibits for use in your school or community center.
Previous lesson plans cover: Afro-Brazilian culture, manatee conservation, sea turtles, and life and debt in Haiti.
These materials were created by our College Educators Research Fellows, college and community college faculty members who were selected to conduct research at the Duke and/or UNC-Chapel Hill libraries on a topic in their field in order to create a new course or significantly expand an existing course to include new Latin American and Caribbean content.
These lesson plans were developed by our 2014 Connecting the Americas Study Tour Teachers. They are all elementary school teachers in North Carolina. They developed curriculum on various topics based on their learning about the Yucatán Peninsula region; Maya history, culture, and current socioeconomic dynamics; and the Mexican school system.
Level: Grades 1-5
El Dia de los Muertos: Learn about its celebration in Mexico and the history behind this important holiday
During the Mexican holiday of Day of the Dead, or Día de los Muertos, families pay respect to their departed loved ones, whose spirits are believed to return on this day. Offerings of marigolds, candles, sugar skulls, fruit, and pan de muerto are placed on an alter around the deceased’s grave. Families may also put photographs and their loved one’s favorite food on the alter. The day is spent eating, drinking, and celebrating those who have passed. The Day of the Dead is held November 1, but alters may be constructed and visited before or after, typically between October 28 and November 4. To learn more, click here.
Caribbean Connections: Teaching the Caribbean Experience
- Teaching for Change has developed this 6-book series that brings the Caribbean experience to the classroom. Click here for more information on curriculum books related to Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, Moving North, and Caribbean History.
- This book from Rethinking Schools features more than 90 essays, poems, interviews, historical vignettes, and lesson plans to reevaluate the myth of Columbus and issues of indigenous rights. Rethinking Columbus is packed with useful teaching ideas for kindergarten through college. Click here for more information on the book and how to obtain it.
The Line Between Us: Teaching About the Border and Mexican Immigration
- A Rethinking Schools publication, this book explores the history of U.S-Mexican relations and the roots of Mexican immigration, all in the context of the global economy. Using role plays, stories, poetry, improvisations, simulations and video, veteran teacher Bill Bigelow demonstrates how to combine lively teaching with critical analysis. Click here for more information on the book and how to obtain it.