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Researching the Black Diaspora in Latin America


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Keywords: social studies, Spanish, Black History Month, Black Diaspora, podcast, research, history
Subject(s): Foreign Language, Social Studies, Writing, Podcasting, Geography, History
Grades 5 through 8
NETS-S Standard:
  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Research and Information Fluency
  • Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
View Full Text of Standards
School: LaSalle II Magnet School, Chicago, IL
Planned By: Cara Bucciarelli
Original Author: Cara Bucciarelli, Chicago
1. Activating Prior Knowledge (day 1): Students will brainstorm, using a graphic organizer, what they may already know about the history of people of African descent in the Americas. This may include knowledge of U.S. history or of Spanish-speaking countries in the Caribbean and Central and South America.

2. History (day 2-3): Students will read and analyze articles related to the history of the Black Diaspora in Latin America in jigsaw groups. They will identify common themes among their articles and will begin to formulate potential topics for their podcasts.

3. Map Activity (day 3): Students will create a map to show: 1) the movement of the Black Diaspora across the Americas from Africa due to slavery and later migration and 2) the cultural and linguistic diversity of the Diaspora.

4. Choosing a topic: (day 4) Students will divide into groups based on their interest in learning more about a specific topic related to the Black Diaspora in Latin American. Topics may vary, but could include such themes as: slavery and the triangle trade, music, important black figures in Latin American history, social stratification/racism, African religions in Latin America (santería), and African words in Spanish. Students will complete a graphic organizer or outline that organizes their group’s topic and provides a sub-focus for each group participant.

5. Research topic (days 5-7): Students will complete research using a variety of materials and resources from the classroom, library, and the Internet. In addition, students of Latin American heritage may complete interviews of family members. For example, students may be able to interview a family member about music in Puerto Rico, about Spanish words of African origin, or about issues of racism in their home country.

6. Podcast tutorial (day 8): Before beginning the writing process, students will work together to brainstorm “smart” podcasting tips for one another. We would use the Simple Guide to Podcasting as a tutorial on how to use the Tool Factory Podcasting software. In addition, I would use the Adventures in Podcasting: Incredible Lesson Plans For Your Classroom book as a guide for how to develop my students' knowledge of and interest in creating engaging podcasts.

7. Write, edit, and record podcast (days 9-12): Now that students have an understanding of good podcasting techniques, as well an understanding how to use the software, they will write, edit, and then record their podcasts in small groups using the Tool Factory Podcasting software. For their podcasts, each group will be asked to put a creative spin on the typical oral presentation. Some groups may choose to “interview” an important black figure in Latin American culture or history, for example, while others may include music clips recorded by the students based on traditional rhythms or lyrics. According to their level, students may choose to either include relevant Spanish vocabulary in their podcast or create a Spanish-only or bilingual podcast.
Links: NMMA: African Presence In Mexico
Materials: Flash/USB Drives, Microphones, MP3 Players, Digital Voice Recorders, Batteries, Word Processor, Podcasting