Teacher Tips
The Mexico Trek!


September 16, 1998 Update


What’s in the September 16 site?

The team celebrated Mexican Independence Day (and Monica’s birthday).

They also explored the history of the Mexican Revolution, and shared the biographies of three remarkable ex-street youth.

The team generated the following reports: Try the following activities:
Thursday, September 10  
Jonah: Misunderstanding Mexico City

In this amusing report Jonah shares some of the stereotypical ideas he had of Mexico City and some of the wonderful things he admires.

A simple but fun activity involves students seeing if they can write similar brief descriptions of life in their neighborhoods.
Friday, September 11  
Silvia: The wisdom of youth - Meet three former homeless kids

This is a VERY engaging dispatch from Silvia where she shares three brief bios written by former street kids in Mexico City. They share some insights into homeless life and their thoughts on changing the world.

These essays are very powerful. As the three youth convey ideas about the difficulties they have faced and their desire to see the world become a better place, it begs your students to similarly share some of the challenges they have had to overcome and what their hopes are for the future. This could be written or oral. If the students prepare a drawing that illustrates something from their story, it could be a very powerful supplement to an oral presentation.
Sunday, September 13  
Monica: Struggle for the Land – Ejidos

Monica reports of her visit to some land that used to be part of an "ejido," communal land shared by local people but soon to be turned into a golf course. She gives some history of ejidos going back to the Spanish Conquest.

Monica ends this story by asking youth some of their thoughts about land use. Perhaps your students could share their opinion on the message board.

Taking the question a little deeper, however, you might ask the students’ opinions of Monica’s host mother’s idea of using the land to build a hotel. Is she wise or selfish? It seems like a simple question but touches on key issues about the environment and development.

Shawn: Beware the Red Zone!

Shawn reports on a visit to the Zona Roja where tourists meander through high-priced shops with a few McDonalds and Haagen-Dazs thrown in.

FUN (as far as writing assignments go!) – Have the students look at their town (or one nearby) from a Mexican perspective. What would a Mexican see that seems familiar? Have the students write their own "Trek report" as if they were a Mexican visiting town and documenting the Mexican/Latino influence.
Monday, September 14  
Monica: The Shout that Defeated a King

Monica recounts briefly the story of Father Hidalgo and how he began the Independence movement in 1810. Also mentions modern Independence Day traditions.

Because this account has many interesting facts, it lends itself to the good old Q and A either as an assignment to do while using the site or as a review afterwards.
Silvia: ˇViva Mexico!

The team visited the Zocalo on Independence Day and Silvia interviewed two teens about the festivities.

This ties in well with the Monica story (The Shout that Defeated a King) just before it.
Team: 30 Years Ago - Student Massacre

The team harks back to the student protests of 1968 and recounts the massacre of student protesters on October 2 of that year in the Plaza of Three Cultures.

This article is powerful and while it doesn’t provide graphic details or mention the subsequent tortures, it describes in a more general sense the sequence of events at the massacre.

Quick-n-easy: have the students write about or discuss what causes they would be willing to risk their lives for. Also interesting is to discuss strategy. Do they think the kids were smart to be protesting like that? Do they admire them?

More time-intensive: Very inspiring for students is to have them learn about various student movements around the world and to compare the outcomes. Recent events in Indonesia and China provide interesting counterpoints.

On the "Trekkers" page under "Your Turn" your students are invited to share their ideas on the Message Board about ways they think adults discriminate against or try to control youth.

The Making a Difference page raises some wonderful possibilities for getting your kid involved in thinking about and working on issues affecting homeless youth. The good news is that it provides a framework for getting them thinking about the issue and how they think it should most effectively be addressed. It really takes them deeply into the issue. It will more thoroughly reinforce everything they’re learning than previous activities. The bad news (depending on how you look at it) is that it is not so quick as previous activities involving letter writing, phone calling, and web surfing. If you have some time you want to give your students to work on this, it can be marvelous, but without some investment of time the students may be dissatisfied that they aren’t really able to execute their ideas effectively.

Keep your eye out in the next update as we offer more of both support for this kind of longer-term work, and more quick and easy activities!

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