Cultural Lab Activities & Ideas


No textbook. No homework. All materials are supplied each week in class, however students are expected to keep materials in a notebook and bring it to class each week. Students are graded in participation as they learn about different Spanish-speaking countries: customs, traditions, legends, myths, social etiquette, holidays, foods, political structures, educational opportunities, and location on a map. Simple vocabulary words or phrases will be presented every 2 weeks, through children's songs & games, also with hispanic roots. A short quiz every other the week reminds the students what has been presented.

IN CLASS: Recipe Sharing
Vocabulary: Places 
Cultural Focus: Honduras
Read aloud book: Puedo Brincar

AT HOME: Practice vocabulary and locating the country discussed on a map. 

Vocabulary & map quiz
Game: Naranja Dulce
Song: Los dias de la semana

Vocabulary : Numbers, Dates, Time 
Read aloud book: Desayuno de Huggles 
Cultural Focus: Colombia

AT HOME: Practice vocabulary and locating ALL the countries previously discussed on a map. 

Vocabulary & map quiz
Game: Los Angeles
Read aloud book: La Comida
Song: Cancion de las horas

Note: The first week of November or the last week in October we will be studying about the Mexican Holiday, dia de los muertos, which is a day of remembrance of their dearly departed. This holiday is very misunderstood due to cultural differences. Please talk to your parents and, with their permission, be prepared to share a story about an ancestor, or family member to the class.

Share family stories
Cultural Focus: México (dia de los muertos)
Book: the Legend of the 2 Volcanos

AT HOME: Practice locating ALL the countries previously discussed on a map. 

map quiz
Write a summary, report in class about what you have learned about different countries (in English) 
Art: Make a Mexican flag
Song: El Zapatero
Read aloud book: El Pastel

Vocabulary: Animals 
Cultural Focus: Argentina
Customs: Mate, voz, vosotros 

AT HOME: Practice vocabulary and locating ALL the countries previously discussed on a map. 

Vocabulary & map quiz
Read aloud book: Que es Huggles
Write summary of things learned in class. 

Vocabulary: Colors
Read aloud book: Colores
Cultural Focus: Uruguay

AT HOME: Practice vocabulary and locating ALL the countries previously discussed on a map. 

Cultural Focus: Puerto Rico
Stories: Juan Bobo, Medio Pollito, La Princesa Orgullosa
Read aloud book: Pollito Pillon
Song: Tengo Una Muneca
Game: Hand clapping game

Vocabulary: Shapes & Sizes
Read aloud book: Pinata Pinata
Cultural Focus: Paraguay

AT HOME: Practice vocabulary and locating ALL the countries previously discussed on a map. 

Vocabulary & map quiz
Game: La Vibora de la Mar
Read aloud book: Nuestra calle
Song: Fray Felipe

Vocabulary: Clothing & Shopping
Read aloud book: Anita y su Mama
Cultural Focus: Puerto Rico

AT HOME: Practice vocabulary and locating ALL the countries previously discussed on a map. 

Vocabulary & map quiz
Dance: la raspa
Read aloud book: Temprano por la manana
Song: matarilerilero

Vocabulary : Kitchen, Foods & Table Utensils 
Read aloud book: Sali por Paseo
Cultural Focus: Peru
Music of the Andes

AT HOME: Practice vocabulary and locating ALL the countries previously discussed on a map. 

Vocabulary & map quiz
Game: Materilo-rilo-ro
Read aloud book: Vanessa, Vanessa 
Song: Cuchillo, Cuchara, Tenedor

Vocabulary: Commands, Actions, Body parts 
Read aloud book: Sara, Sarita
Cultural Focus: Chile
Write summary report on what you have learned about Latin Countries

AT HOME: Practice vocabulary and locating ALL the countries previously discussed on a map. 

Vocabulary & map quiz
Game: Simon Says 
Read aloud book: Vamos a Remar
Song: El barquito

Vocabulary: I like it. I do not like it.
It hurts. It does not hurt 
Read aloud book: Gato y Perro
Cultural Focus: Guatemala

AT HOME: Practice vocabulary and locating ALL the countries previously discussed on a map. 

5 May 2008
Shasta College cinco de mayo celebration
11:00 – 1:00
Area near the gym & cafeteria

Vocabulary: Invitations Places & Addresses
Read aloud book: El Autobus
Cultural Focus: Nicaragua 

Vocabulary & map quiz
Game: El Lobo 
Read aloud book: Peces son animales
Song: Las Mananitas

WEEK 20 
FINAL: Vocabulary & map quiz
Game: Flash cards & Simon Says
Read aloud book: Sombreros y Gorras

Vocabulary: Telephone Conversations 
Read aloud book: Ninos y ninas
Cultural Focus: Cuba

Vocabulary & map quiz
Art: platos
Read aloud book: tres cerditos
Song: Tengo una muneca

Vocabulary: Directions Left & Right 
Read aloud book: Leon y raton
Cultural Focus: El Salvador

Vocabulary & map quiz
Game: directions map
Read aloud book: 
Song: senora Santa Ana

Vocabulary: Going to School
Read aloud book: Llaman a la puerta
Cultural Focus: Costa Rica 

Vocabulary & map quiz
Music activity: La Bamba
Read aloud book: Ana & Pepe

Vocabulary: Family Relationships 
Read aloud book: Amo a mi familia
Ana & Pepe continued

Vocabulary & map quiz
Art: cards & letters to family 
Read aloud book: Angus y el gato

Vocabulary: Friends & Adjectives 
Read aloud book: Soy Una Hoja
Cultural Focus: Bolivia

Vocabulary & map quiz
Art: begin a pinata
Read aloud book: Como crecen los gatitos
Song: Mi burrita

Vocabulary: Vacation: more places 
Read aloud book: Clifford
Cultural Focus: Spain

Vocabulary & map quiz
Art: pinata, second layer
Read aloud book: La Valiente
Song: Patito Patito

Song: El zapatero
Read aloud book: 500 palabras
Cultural Focus: Dominican Republic 

Vocabulary & map quiz
Art: decorate pinata 
Read aloud book: El Sandwich mas grande
Song: Andaba la Rana Cantando

Song: Mambru
Cultural Focus: Mexico (5 de mayo/ 16 Sept)

Paper mache - Mexico

pieces of heavy cardboard or paper plates
Black markers (non toxic)
Assortment of beans and seeds, e.g., dried beans, pinto beans, peas, corn, rice, etc. (Students could bring in a 1/2 pound of whatever kind of dried beans and seeds)
Zip-Loc plastic baggies, 
White glue (Elmer's or any similar brand is fine)

VOCABULARY: Line, Shape and Color.
Line -- a boundary between two shapes or areas; and a mark that forms part of the formal design of a picture distinguished from the shading or color. 

Shape -- form, create; to give a particular form or shape to.

Color -- the aspect of objects and light sources that may be described in terms of hue, lightness and saturation for objects and hue.

INTRODUCTION: In the Mexican culture they use designs to tell the story of important events in their history. Draw or show several pictures of different designs that are representative of this and while showing the different designs introduce the ideas of line, shape and color. 

STUDENTS use lines to draw their design, they are limited to four colors (BEANS, SEEDS). 

1. Have the students think up what they want their design to be, e.g., an Aztec design, the Mexican Flag, etc., show you (the teacher) the design. 

2. Have the students draw their design on a piece of heavy cardboard 5" x 5".

3. Choose the four colors of beans and seeds they wish to use. Have the students place the beans and seeds into individual plastic baggies, with their name on the baggies.

4. glue the beans and seeds around and within the outlines of their design, until the entire surface of the cardboard is covered. This part of the activity will take a couple of sessions, so as to allow the glue to dry.

MOLAS (origins: Panama)
A Lesson in the Basic Principles of Design by Making Molas
Background for the Teacher
The basic principles of design are taught to students to help them develop an aesthetic sense and to learn how to create attractive as well as expressive works of art and of craft. These principles, such as using balance in compositions, contrasting values that complement the composition as a whole, and expressive line, are often taught separately or in pairs, through the use of cut paper, or through graphic techniques that enable art students to go on to the more ambitious art form of painting. An exciting way to introduce some principles of design is to use the traditional Latin American craft of appliqué of molas.
It would be ideal to be able to show the students an authentic mola such as the one reproduced below. This piece comes from Puerto Rico and is typical of the craft as it was executed about thirty years ago and more. The colors of this applique are primarily red, with the three layers of outlines in green, bright yellow and denim blue. Purple, lilac, pink and white are repeated in the decorative vertical hyphens that are scattered throughout the surface forms.

Molas are made out of fabric remnants that are cut into designs (such as the ones on the following pages) based on traditional Latin American animal and flower motifs. Many of these works are made up of three layers of fabric, and the basic shapes are cut out of these. Both the positive and the negative of the cut shapes are retained in the design as the layers that are closest to the viewer are given wider hems in order to reveal the lower layers. The local colors are inserted between the layers and are seen as vertical lines in the broader planes. Although the design here illustrated is perfectly symmetrical, most molas are made of asymmetric forms that virtually dance over the surface.

In Guatemala and Venezuela, molas are used to decorate clothing, bedspreads and walls. Like the early settlers of the United States, these people have few materials with which they can be creative and yet practical, and so both peoples turned to the recycling of fabrics in order to fulfill their needs for attractive and yet useful crafts.

Objective The objective of this lesson is to introduce three of the basic principles of design: l)designs should create a rhythmic pattern made up of related shapes, 2) colors should be repeated so as to not force the eye to remain with a single part of the composition, and 3) a composition should have a major center of interest and at least one minor one. Another objective of this lesson is to introduce the students to a useful and attractive craft that is a living part of the tradition of several Latin American countries.

Materials Fabric remnants, needle, thread, paper and pencil for preparatory drawings. For a complete paper “sketch” of a mola: three or more different colors of construction paper.

Introduction Show an example of appliqué, or make a simple mola to show the class. The Peabody Museum carries appliqués from various Latin American countries.
Tell the students that it is a mola. Encourage them to answer the following types of questions: “Can you figure out how this decorative work was made?” “Are the fabrics all new?” “Are the fabrics all of the same type?” What do you think the mola is used for?” “Can—you think of any other uses for it?” “Does it remind—you of any craft of this country?” (quilting) “Do you know of any European countries that have similar forms of appliqué?” (Poland, Belgium, Russia).

Methodology The first molas should be made out of construction paper so that the basic concept of positive-negative cut outs can be understood, and so that the more valuable fabric supplies are not wasted.
The class should either collect traditional Latin American motifs by looking at books and crafts at, for example, the Peabody Museum, or if this is to be a one lesson exercise, the teacher should hand out drawings of typical motifs such as those included at the end of this paper. See the bibliography for books that provide other designs.

Steps for Making Molas
1. Choose one or more motifs for your mola. 
2. Trace or copy it making several copies in two or more different sizes. 
3. Arrange the tracings into an attractive design that is either symmetric or asymmetric. 
4. When you have a design that you are satisfied with, place the shapes on what will be your uppermost layer of paper. 
5. Trace the outermost line of the shape onto the fabric and cut that shape out and retain the negative shape for the next step. The negative shape is the part that would usually be discarded but for this project it is the most important part. 
6. Using the negative shape as a template (a grid from which you will work), draw a second layer of designs within the first one, and close to it by about one fourth of an inch. 
7. Cut out the positive shapes that you have just drawn and again retain the negative template. 
8. Using the second layer as the new template, draw more related designs within the cut out areas of the second template onto the third layer of your mola. 
9. If you are working with paper or felt, glue the layers together. 
If you are working with fabric, make tiny hems on all the edges and use the overcast stitch to connect the layers.