My students are show great interest in learning about other cultures. I read aloud Francisco Jimenez’s book The Cicuirt and it was such a wonderful book that opened their eyes to a world much different than their own, but that some in my class could personally connect to, as well. They are students learning to listen, speak, read and write in English and Spanish. They are eager to discuss current event topics and connect it that to the books we read through small group work and special projects.
As a dual language teacher, integrating books into my curriculum that address bicultural issues is a priority for me. My class is composed of native Spanish speakers who may have immigrated to the U.S. or are 1st generation Americans in this country. The other half of my class is made up of students who are learning Spanish as a second language. All of my students and their families see the value in being bilingual, biliterate, and bicultural. Reading books such as The Circuit by Francisco Jimenez and Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz is so important because it teaches my native English speakers in the class about the ways and history of the people whose language they are learning. They learn to see the world through multiple perspectives and to be more understanding and accepting of different cultural backgrounds. The Spanish speaking side of the class, most of whom are English Language learners, learn to appreciate and feel proud of their heritage and their histories. The look on their faces when they realize that there are books out there that connect to their lives in a very personal way is amazing. After finishing The Circuit, my class begged me to continue reading the story of Francisco Jimenez, which thrilled me as their teacher. They are hungry to learn more about the life of this man growing up as a migrant child and worker. We get into rich and deep conversations with these types of books, and I am eager to continue our learning with Francisco Jimenez’s series. Thank you so much for being a contributor to this enriching learning experience.
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