Presentation of Learning

National Hispanic Heritage Month

Proud of their Hispanic heritage, iLEAD Exploration learner Sarah Ortiz and her mother planned a special learning unit to deepen Sarah’s understanding and connection to her ancestry and culture during last September’s Hispanic Heritage Month when Sarah was in third grade. This dynamic mother-daughter team took advantage of the opportunities afforded them in an independent study setting to participate in field studies opportunities, classes, as well as a research and writing project that tied together the learning goals of Sarah’s heritage project. Benefitting from the personalized opportunities and home-based instruction, Sarah had begun her journey with iLEAD Exploration in kindergartener.

Sarah Ortiz-Hispanic Heritage Month-iLEAD Exploration - POL - 9.18.23Sarah kicked off her project by participating in a Folklorico dance class—her first one ever. She enjoyed learning the traditional Mexican folk dances with a friend, tying performance art to the broader heritage project. Sarah also visited the famous “birth of Los Angeles” and Mexican marketplace, Olvera Street, where she observed traditional artisan-made Hispanic folk art and goods. This field trip gave Sarah context and hands-on experience that served to deepen her understanding of her family’s culture.

Sarah Ortiz-Hispanic Heritage Month-iLEAD Exploration - POL - 9.18.23-bNext, Sarah chose a Hispanic heritage hero to research and write about: Selena Quintanilla, the late American Tejano singer. To complete this part of the project, Sarah read about Selena from nonfiction informational texts, then organized the information from her research to write a one-paragraph report on Selena, including her reasons for admiring her. Sarah was able to incorporate work in several standard areas through this research and writing project, including many of the the third grade standards for reading informational text as well as writing an opinion piece. She also incorporated more art into this part of her project, which is always Sarah’s favorite part of any project! Her illustration of Selena performing is included with her paragraph.

Growing as a writer is an important focal point for most third graders. Synthesizing phonics and grammar lessons to produce independent written work is one of the biggest challenges for a learner of Sarah’s age and grade. Sarah’s mother, Mayra, supports her writing by guiding Sarah to choose high interest writing topics and source material.

Sarah is a curious, open, imaginative learner who delights in new experiences, hands-on learning, and artistic pursuits, all of which were honored by the planning and structure of this unit of study. Her optimism is especially apparent in this heritage study, as enthusiastically displayed in her joyful Folklorico dancing and study of a famous Hispanic hero she admires. Sarah has a truly positive and enthusiastic outlook for herself, which was strengthened and encouraged by her Hispanic heritage project.


Hispanic Heritage Month: lessons from NEA
Hispanic & Latino Heritage and History in the United States



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