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Incorporating Culture

One of my main goals every year is to incorporate the culture of my students into the curriculum. I have reached this goal with several assignments this year: creating a Latino/a focused poetry unit, studying plays by Latino/a and African American playwrights, identifying text to life/world connections through journal entries and creative writing activities, writing vignettes about memorable moments in our lives and building dioramas inspired by the vignettes. We have read Fences by August Wilson, Augusta and Noble by Carlos Murillo, The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros, and several short stories by Gary Soto.

While reading The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros, students were tasked with writing two vignettes of their own. One was focused on the significance if our names, and the other allowed students to write about any moments in life they find memorable, or identify as shaping part of their identity. Here is a glance at some of the vignettes created by my seventh graders:


Agua de horchata oh how we love your sweet taste

The sensitive taste that you bring to our taste buds

The good smell that you bring with your wonderful taste

It’s a sweet combination all put in one drink

It is a bag of sugar in a cup

With white drops of dye

I’ll drink it with anything

To add a sweet taste

Tacos, tamales anything you can say

They call it rice water

But it’s true name will always stand

Jarritos with their tasteful taste

Limones from lemon trees

Mandarinas from the orange trees️‍

Fresas from the strawberry bushes

Manzanas from the apple trees

Guayaba from the guava trees

Toronjo from the grapefruit trees

The cap may pop out

And u might hear a slight POP

and your drink pours down and spills all over the floor

I can tell you this cause i have made the same mistake

Music and Me by SC

Music can express me in many different ways not only that but it can help me escape. I can be sad and depress but no one knows so I turn on music, into another different world I go. I can end up on a cloud above the green grassy hills no one there only the wind and me, that's when I know that i'm free. I can run around and walk as if the land is mine. I don't have to hide like

pray that fears for its life. I can be me because i’m free I don’t tremble when I speak, it doesn't matter if what I say is what I think, all because the music set me free. I’m a deer running near the lake where the fish are swimming, but sometimes when the song changes and reminds me of my past I feel there’s a devil inside me that is screaming. It can be upsetting it can hurt a lot. I can start of happy but in the end i’m not. Sometimes when I bored and have nothing to do the music will change me into a rich king with food. But sometimes I can hear a change in the beat then I imagine i’m a new person, a new person with bones and no meat. I then realize this is a real life then hope I can change it so no one experiences and suffers and enjoy the life that they where given. The music’s my memory sometimes so confusing, as i’m on a ride. Sometimes I think i see the end but then I realized it’s not. I wish it was over but people say I must go on, and they say don’t worry the end will be calm. Music is magic music is great and it can express me in different ways. It’s my inspiration and it part of me, without it i don’t know what i’d be.

Myself by AC

Sometimes, I wonder if everyone is supposed to act a certain way. Like if you are eleven, are you supposed to be mature by eleven? If you are twelve, do you have to be like everyone who is twelve? If you will be thirteen soon, do you have to stop being childish? DO I HAVE TO BE LIKE EVERYBODY ELSE?! Can I be myself without being judged? Right now, I feel like i’m different. I still like playing with toys (though I get bored often). I’m into thing’s many people hate. And, I hate thing’s many people like. I’m still not into makeup, like many girls. I still love to imaginate thing’s. I like being on social media, ONLY for a few minutes. I mostly get bored on those apps. I only like texting with my friend’s. MY KIND of friend’s! Friend’s that are nice to me, friend’s that are always there for me! But, I see some people having friends. Friend’s that cuss very often and act poorly in class. Almost everyone is a rebel in school. That’s why I always think, do I have to be like them? Do I have to be into things like, shopping, breakin rules, and certain type of music (that’s inappropriate)? I always get upset at myself for being a “kind” girl. For being a girl who can’t stand up for herself. But, then I see that i’m myself. I’m like a book, changing stories, with sad and happy endings. I’m a firework exploding of emotions. I have a family that cares for me. I have friends that I love. I have myself, the only person who is me! I have an amazing life, thanks to God! Hopefully there is at least one person who is like me.

Getting a Better Life by M and J

Our parents are from Mexico and crossing the border is not easy as you can see. Our parents came here not for a vacation, they came to live here and to get a better life.When our family came they didn’t know any English. They came for a reason and those reason are to get a better life, get jobs/money, and so we can have a education so we can be someone in ours life and so we don’t be like them.Our parents life as immigrants were difficult and horrible.They had to run as fast as a cheetah to make it here and to not be able to get caught.They took months to get to the U.S and it made them look like dry grass. At breaks they would hear the cries of people being scared of getting caught.Now we could smell the danger of our parents getting sent back to their country.Today 2018 we have new president (Donald trump) , he thinks immigrants are criminals and when he says it makes us feel like we are getting stab with a knife.When our parents came they thought living here was going to be easy like having money, being safe, and having somewhere to live, however when they came , life wasn’t easy as they thought it would because they need somewhere to live, they needed to work hard in order to get their needs, and people would discriminate them and tell them to go where they belong.Even though they went through a lot, now they are working hard, we have a place to live, and they are helping us reach our dreams by giving us an education.

Telenovelas by MC

Telenovela, such a simple word but it means so much to me. Telenovelas are like real stories although they are not true. I kind of relate to the stories because in the telenovelas, people sometimes have hard times because they were separated from their family or they were treated bad. On September 27th, my life changed because my uncle was arrested and now he is in jail.The person who was most affected was my little cousin because everyday she asks, “Where is my dad?” family and I always help her and try to make her feel happy and safe with us. My dad is helping my uncle get out of jail. This is the first time this has happened to anyone in my family.The first day that my uncle was in jail, everyone was sad and didn’t talk about what happened. After that day, my family just tries to help him get out of jail. Now it has been 8 months that my uncle is not with us. I feel sad because he is nice,helpful, kind, and respectful. My uncle is from Guatemala and he is married with my aunt, she is from Ecuador all my family is from Ecuador. My aunt is the first one to be married to a man from another country. My uncle was the best. He always took us out to go to the store,the mall or to the park. He loved to listen to music. He was funny and he made us laugh when we were sad or mad.

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