Latin America
Teacher's Guide

February 24, 1999 Update


The team generated the following reports: Try the following activities:
Meeting Rigoberta - 5'2", But Better Than Michael Jordan!

Several of the Team Members recount meeting Rigoberta, and Rigoberta's response to working on the Internet.

This is important to make sure students understand Rigoberta as a real person, not as some icon of another world. Students can compare Rigoberta with someone they admire (perhaps someone not famous?). This also ties in well if you have already or would like to have students use all of the information about Rigoberta on the website.
Team - What About the US? - The "Extermination" and "Termination" of a People

This info-packed dispatch highlights several key anti-American Indian policies of the US government.

There is a lot of information here, and it can be used in many ways.

1) Try having students do the Making a Difference activity (see below), BUT have them refer to this information when writing their letter, as well as the info on Leonard Peliter.
2) This is never easy to explore - with anyone, let alone youth - but a very important question is to have students try to understanf WHY anyone would have done such a thing (repeatedly), and why it reoccurs in the world so often.
3) This dispatch also invites students to do further research into the different anti-Native American actions described.
Making a Difference - Leonard Peltier, and the Godchild Project

1)Provides background info and links on Leonard Peltier, accused of murder and senteced to two life sentences in an extremely flawed and biased trial, derided by rights groups around the world.
2)Encourages your students to help support the education of the youth participating in the "Godchild Project," a local program in Guatemala.

1) It is easy to have students write letters about Leonard Peltier, but try hacing them do further research as well, or have them refer to info gleaned from the previous story about American Indians in their letter.

2) This requires more time, but may be more fulfilling - have your students strike up a pen-pal relationship with the students of the Godchild Project, and have them undertake a project to help support the Project.
Kavitha - Meet the Folks Who Work Hard for Your Cup of Joe

Kavitha takes you to a coffee plantation and tells of the harsh conditions and low-pay people endure.

There is a great lesson about life on a plantation available for use in your class. It has students compare the plantations of Guatemala with those of the US 150 years ago. Check it out in the Guatemala Lessons.
Shawn - Shots in the Night - Life in Todos Santos

Shawn describes vividly the terror many people lived under in the Guatemalan highlands where the military regularly killed and kidnapped people.

Try having students do a quick-write response to what they read.

For older students, try having them write a letter to their family as though they were the kidnapped person, explaining what has happened, and what is going on in Guatemala (at that time - the 80s).

Shawn - Close Quarters in Todos Santos

Shawn describes living conditions for an indigenous family in Todos Santos, and describes how well the people interrelate despite their poverty.

This is a great one to have students make the connection with their own lives. They can share their own experience with siblings or other family when they have gotten along well with them or not. OR they can try to imagine what it would be like to live under similar conditions.
Shawn - Close Quarters (Kid's Version)

This kids' version of "Close Quarters" focuses on the concept of sharing, especially among siblings.

This invites a discussion, or perhaps drawings and a sentence description, of how students get along with their family members, and what they haveto do sometimes to get along with their classmates.
Maia - Quetzal - The Flight to Freedom

Students learn of the importance of the quetzal, the bird, and of its significance in commerce, as the Guatemalan currency.

Time to get creative! Have students choose an animal that is symbolic for them, and have them explain what connection they feel with that animal.
Abeja - You CAN teach an Old Dog New Tricks

Abeja tells of a group of local youth studying thanks to support from US citizens. She also tells of their work to introduce efficient, loq-cost stoves into the community.

You can have your students establish a pen-pal relationship with the students of the Godschild Project, and have them definitely check out the Making a Difference activity in support of the Project.

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