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Teacher's Guide for COBBLESTONE ® Mexican Americans

May 2004

Teacher's Guide prepared by: Karen E. Hong, who writes frequently for COBBLESTONE®, CALLIOPE®, FACES®, and APPLESEEDS.

Have students write a creative piece using some of the following words. You may wish to limit their writing to a short poem, a short story, or a short fictitious newspaper article.

Mexicano * Latino * Hispano * Chicano * microcosm * jurisdiction * arroyo * bronco * canyon * coyote * fiesta * lariat * mosquito * mustang * pi'±ata * poncho * presidio * pueblo * ranch * rodeo * sierra * inflation * influx * menial * quotas * repatriation * naturalized * braceros * visas * peso * migrants * barrio * deterioration * zoot suits * low rider * La Causa * empower * sit-in * union * strike * activists * vineyards * huelga * boycott * fast * lobbied * grassroots * Filipino * vaquero * cuentos * multicultural * corridos * ballad * mariachi * bilingual * posada * Nochebuena * quinceranera * tiara * criollos * peninsulares * padre * cascarones * murals * Aztec * masquerade. *tejocotes * nichos * grutas * shrine * mosaic * nacimientoes * manger
Divide your students in groups to learn more about the following celebrations:
  • Cinco de Mayo
  • El Dia de los Muertos
  • Las Posada
  • Nochebuena
  • Diez y sies de Septiembre
  • Las Posada
If your schedule and resources allow, you may wish to develop one or more of these days into a celebration of your own. You may wish to include a sampling of the ethnic foods included in "Mexican Food from A to Z" and develop an art piece, such as a large poster/mural to reflect the significance of your celebration. You may wish to have students consult the following children's cookbooks if you plan to include ethnic dishes:
Multicultural Meals by Bobbie Kalman (Crabtree Publishing Co., 2004)
The Young Chef's Mexican Cookbook by Karen Ward (Crabtree Publishing Co., 2001)
Mexico by Julie McCulloch (Heinemann Library, 2001)
Using the information in "The First Mexican Americans," "Moving Northward in the 1960s," "Chavez's Fight for Social Justice," "Organizing Power," "Did You Know?" and "Cinco Celebration" to create a timeline. You may wish to have your students run a wide ribbon at eye level around the room and use one color of cards for general history and another for specifically Mexican American history.
  • How does Mexican American history reflect what is occurring in the larger world?
  • Do events of Mexican American history create ripples in the history of the world and vice versa?
You may wish to have your students use additional resources such as:
Alexandra Bandon's Mexican Americans (1993, part of the "Footsteps to America" series)
Julie Catalano's The Mexican Americans (1988, part of "The Peoples of North America" series)
Lila Perl's North across the Border: The Story of the Mexican Americans (2002, part of the "Great Journeys" series)
to add more detail to the timeline.
Organizations, Agencies, and Programs
Divide your students into groups and have each group select one of the following organizations, agencies, or programs and learn more about it. Students should identify:
  • goal of the program
  • date of its inception
  • date of its demise
  • how the program achieved its goals
  • effectiveness of the program
  • Did these programs serve the best interest of America?
  • Do those that continue to exist serve the best interest of America today?
You and your students may wish to chart out this information on the board, comparing the goals, effectiveness, etc. of these programs.
Braceros Program * U.S. Immigration and Naturalization services * Operation Wetback * Community Service Organization * Community Service Organization * National for Workers Association * Delores Huerto Foundation * United Farm Workers * Cesar E. Chavez Foundation
Important Mexican Americans
Have students research one of these important Mexican Americans. You may wish to have them share what they have learned by having them present a living biography in which they play the role of their subject as they talk about their life, write a report, create a poster, or write a letter from the perspective of the person they have researched.
  • How did being a Mexican American shape his/her life?
  • Did being a Mexican American create impediments that s/he had to overcome?
  • Was/Is being a Mexican American an important aspect of his/her life?
Cesar E. Chavez * Delores Huerta * Lupe Anguiano * Rodolfo "Corky" Gonzales

Ellen Ochoa

Political Figures:
PHenry Cisneros * Joseph Montoya * Henry B. Gonzalez * Patrick F. Flores * Ernesto Galarza * Jerry Apodaca * Raul Castro * Toney Anaya * Father Jose Manual Galleys

Actors and Entertainers:
Rita Hayworth * Anthony Quinn * Edward James Olmos, Vikki Carr (Florencia Bisenta de Casillas Martinez Cardona) * Joan Baez * Richardo Montalban * Luis Valdez * Richie Valens * Placido Domingo * Linda Ronstadt * Los Lobos * Evelyn Cisneros * Robert Rodiquez

Rolando Hinojosa-Smith * Alberto Alurista * Ruben Salazar * Rudolfo Anaya * Maria Cristina Mena * Sandra Cisneros * Alberto Rios * Gary Soto

Octavio Medellin * Diego Rivera * Porfirio Salina * Judith Baca * Yolanda Lopez

Richard "Pancho" Gonzales * Lee Trevino * Nancy Lopez * Aurelio Rodriquez * Fernando Valenzuela
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