In September of 1968, in the midst of the Civil Rights Movement, President Lyndon B. Johnson decided to proclaim National Hispanic Heritage Week. In 1988 this week turned into a month long celebration, which starts September 15 and ends October 15. This celebration recognizes the culture and contributions of individuals who come from various countries in South America, Central America and the Caribbean.
The creation of this observance marked a major milestone for Latin Americans. Hispanics have been an integral part of the development of our country, but have fought for equal rights in the areas of employment and education. Individuals like Cesar Chavez made major contributions and had great success with fighting for workers rights. Chavez was a Mexican-American who experienced the harsh realities of inequalities associated with migrant farm work. As a child, his family suffered during the 1930's in which they were forced to work on various farms in California. This experience was the foundation for Chavez's leadership and activism. Jaime Escalante is another notable Hispanic crusader in the field of education. He was born in Bolivia and moved to the United States in the 1960's. He learned English, graduated from college and became a high school teacher. His ability to teach high school math in a hostile environment in Los Angeles was made into a movie entitled "Stand and Deliver." He has also received numerous awards and has been placed in the National Teachers Hall of Fame in 1999.
It is important to recognize the accomplishments of these individuals and many others because their stories represent the diversity of our country.
Hispanic Heritage Month Lesson Plans:
Cultural Diversity Unit Plan- This six lesson unit plan focuses on the student's individual cultural identity and awareness. The unit also focuses on the cultural influences of other groups of people in the United States. Students are introduced to related topics such as cultural awareness, tolerance, and diversity.
Magnificent Mexico- In this lesson students celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month by focusing on Mexico. Students will learn important facts about the country, and about the life of famous painter Frida Kahlo.
Exploring Cultural Foods- Learn about the cultural backgrounds of people based on food. In this lesson students recognize the diverse cultures of people through the study of various types of foods. This lesson includes connections to geography, climate, and history. Students will use the Internet to visit the USDA Food and Nutrition for additional information.
The Other Americans- This lesson provides students with a better understanding of Latin America and the Caribbean. Students also identify issues related to people from this part of the world. Students study key concepts of culture, ethnicity, pluralism, and stereotypes.
Diversity in Television and Movies- Students examine the diversity of Hispanic actors on television and in the movies. Students will also investigate the roles given to Hispanic actors. In addition they write letters to people based on diversity in the profession.