En la Clase: What My Calavera Did at Night

Looking forward to sharing this awesome Dia de los Muertos lesson with my students, as well as with my colleagues. I also want to echo the author’s disruption to the “tourist” approach that is often used with multicultural education. Incorporating curriculum that reflects the identities of our students should be an ongoing, rigorous process- not a break from the “real” curriculum. Our students must be reflected in the “real” curriculum!

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skeletons 2As many of you  already know, literacy is one of my favorite ways to integrate cultural content, like Día de los Muertos, into a standards based curriculum.  Not only does it reinforce the reading or writing skills that we work on throughout the year, it’s also a way to help ensure that we don’t fall into that trap of the “Tourist” approach to multicultural education.  Too often when we teach this kind of cultural content, it appears to our students that we’re taking  a break from our ‘real’ curriculum to do something fun.  While these units can and should be fun, it shouldn’t appear that they’re not authentic and important parts of our curriculum.  By combining this content with types of literacy activities done throughout the year, students don’t see these projects as less important than any others.

For today’s En la Clase, I’ve adapted a unit I typically…

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FACES: Gloria Anzaldua


Have you ever come across a face you’re immediately attracted to, but don’t know why? A face– whether in person or via a photograph- that brings instant comfort, peace, assurance? Today, I looked up Gloria Anzaldua, the activist/author of my Book Clubs’ next choice, Borderlands/ La Frontera: The New Mestiza. For me, Gloria Anzaldua’s name is as familiar as Angela Davis, bell hooks, Gloria Steinman, and other great feminists/ womanists who’ve been the voice of the voiceless. But Gloria Anzaldua’s face is one I couldn’t have recalled with such certainty as I can now.

When I searched her image this evening, I was immediately drawn in by her smirk, both childish and wise, and her eyes marking secrets she’s wiling to share to the most special people.  The unexpected familiarity and comfort of her image (that I had seen before, but had only moved me now) reminded me of the sly way in which our ancestors come to communicate with us in, sometimes, abrupt ways. She has passed on to the other life, but I look forward to uncovering the messages– the teachings– she has left for me in writing.

Have you ever been moved by the image of a “stranger” whose image felt strangely familiar?