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Nuestra Isla Our Island: Puerto Rico, by Dora Janeway Odarenko


Guide Entry to 00.01.04:

This unit has two goals. The first is to acquaint students, including those of Puerto Rican descent, with three of the dominant aspects of Puerto Rican culture today: love of the island of la isla to which Puerto Ricans refer over and over again; strong ties with family and community; and accommodations to the diaspora, the dispersal of Puerto Ricans to the United States mainland, escalating in the 1950s, as Puerto Ricans attempted to escape overpopulation and poverty at home.

The second goal is to use the information, excitement, and questions generated by this unit to provide daily writing topics. As students work on them, and particularly on description and exploration of feelings, on inferring from a text and visualizing the pictures made by words, they will better understand what is meant by "elaboration." My hope is that, through this daily reading and writing, students will begin to compare and contrast aspects of their own lives to those of the characters about whom they are reading. They can stretch their imaginations, not only for their own lives but for the lives of others, and, in this way, begin to appreciate commonality and difference.

The students will not only read, listen, converse, and write. They will edit, peer-edit, publish and share what they have written. They will tape works in progress so that their own words become part of their experience of oral language. The unit will culminate with a Travelers' Tea, to which families will be invited, so that students can have the experience of presenting finished work.

(Recommended for Language Arts and Social Studies, grades 2-4.)

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