Latin American/Caribbean Studies Class

Title: Latin American/Caribbean Studies

(9/97 Teachers: David Silberberg and Dan Fuchs)

Subject Areas: Global Studies/Language Arts

A Brief Description of the Course: This class is designed to introduce students to the history and culture of Latin America and the Caribbean region. It is an interdisciplinary, team-taught class. The collaborating teachers are participating in a monthly American Social History Project seminar, in which other teachers around New York are teaching and developing similar curricula. A variety of methods are used to explore the following topics:

Topics to be Included:

o Geography

o Pre-Columbian Societies

o "The Encounter" - the coming of the Europeans to the "New World" and the effects of their arrival.

o Slavery in the "New World."

o Colonialism and colonial society.

o Christianity in the "New World."

o The rise of Nationalism and independence movements.

o U.S. role in the region.

o Current affairs.

o Oral histories.

o Latinos and Caribbean peoples in New York City.



o Cooperative Learning through Group Activities

o Writing (Essays and Narratives) and Revision

o Independent Work (Homework and research projects)

o Note-taking

o Test-taking

o Close Reading

o Integrating the Arts

o Numeracy

o Map Skills

o Discussion Skills

o Debate Skills


Assessment Strategies:

o Homework

o Classroom Reflections

o Independent Projects

o Unit Tests

o Class Presentations

o Narrative Evaluations

o Periodic Newsletter of Student Work


Instructional Materials:

o Tapestry: A Multicultural Anthology, (Globe, 1993)

o A History of Latin America by Benjamin Keen

o Christopher Columbus and his Legacy: Opposing Viewpoints, Mary Ellen Jones, ed.

o From Columbus to Castro, by Eric William's.

o The Puerto Ricans: A Documentary History, Kal Wagenheim, ed.

o Caribbean Connections: Overview of Regional History, Catherine Sunshine, ed.

o Growing Up Latino: Memoirs and Stories: Harold Augenbraum, ed.

o Family Installments, by Edward Rivera

o The Caribbean: Survival, Struggle and Sovereignty, Catherine Sunshine, ed.

o Caribbean Connections: Puerto Rico, Deborah Menkart, ed.

o In Nueva York, by Nicholasa Mohr

o The Mission, dir. Roland Joffe, 1990

o The Emerald Forest, dir. Richard Attenborough, 1989

o Mi Puerto Rico, a Public Broadcasting Service production, 1996


Instructional Strategies:The following strategies are employed in order to help students address the topics listed above:

o Films are used for critical visual literacy skills.

o Map skills are used to help students familiarize themselves with basicgeographical constructs.

o Role plays are designed to assist students in seeing points of view other than their own.

o Students are placed in cooperative research groups and present their findings to the class as a whole.

o Monthly newsletter provides evidence of student research and writing skills.

o Reading a variety of materials at different levels helps students to come at topics from a variety of angles and prepares them for future challenges.

o Looking at history from the "bottom up" gives students an alternative approach to examining issues in society and their role therein.

o Collection of, and reflection on, all materials produced in the class are eventually incorporated into student exit portfolios.