Ciudades mexicanas en el pasado y el presente (Mexican Cities in the Past and Present)

Author: Sean Carr

School/Organization:

Kensington Creative and Performing Arts High School

Year: 2020

Seminar: The City in History

Grade Level: 9-12

Keywords: colonial Mexico, Mexican cities, Mexican culture, modern MExico, Spanish 2

School Subject(s): Languages, Spanish

This Spanish 2 curriculum unit examines cities and urbanism in pre-Hispanic, colonial, and modern Mexico in order to build students’ communication and cultural proficiency. Students will engage in a variety of activities including museum visits, the use of online resources, primary source documents, and videos to build their own communication skills in the target language while developing a deeper understanding of Mexican culture and history. It culminates with an Integrated Performance Assessment that requires students to demonstrate their abilities in the areas of interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational communication using the new vocabulary, grammar, and cultural information that they gained over the course of the unit.

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Full Unit Text
Content Objectives

Problem Statement

Far too often, world language classrooms focus on increasing students’ proficiency in the target language without developing their cultural competence. While it is important to practice vocabulary and grammar in the target language, it is critical to integrate culture into lessons as well. This curriculum unit will enable students to develop their Spanish language proficiency along with their knowledge of cultural and historical content through an examination of cities and urbanism throughout Mexican history and into the present day. Students will begin with an exploration of the development of large urban centers such as Teotihuacán and Tenochtitlan in pre-Hispanic Mexico. Then, they will look at the events that took place with the arrival of Hernan Cortes and the Spanish conquistadors and the effects of European colonialism in Mexico. Finally, students will examine modern-day Mexico City and some of the challenges that it faces.

 

This examination of cities and urbanism throughout Mexican history will help students develop their interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational communication skills in the target language. Students will achieve this goal through a variety of classroom activities and assessments. For example, they will examine pre-Hispanic cities in Mexico with a visit to the University of Pennsylvania Museum’s Mexico and Central America Gallery. They will examine the Museum’s archaeological materials and its maps of the ancient city of Teotihuacan. Students will learn about Conquest-era and colonial Mexico through the lens of historical accounts from conquistadors and artistic depictions that can be accessed at the Penn Museum, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and online resources. The unit will explore modern Mexico City also through articles and documentaries that explore the challenges that the rapidly expanding metropolis faces.  This unit is aligned with the American Council for the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) World Readiness Standards for Learning Language (2015). The content objectives described below will serve as a vehicle to build communicative and cultural proficiency for the target language of Spanish.

 

Pre-Hispanic Mexico

Our understanding of the development of cities in Central Mexico mainly comes from research done in the field of Mesoamerican archaeology. Therefore, this curriculum unit will begin with an examination of the earliest cities in Mexico through an archaeological lens. Instruction will be complemented with a visit to the Penn Museum’s Mexico and Central America Gallery. Furthermore, students will gain hands on experience with Mesoamerican material culture with a lesson that incorporates a loan box from the museum. Each of these activities will provide students with opportunities to communicate in the target language and to engage with ancient Mexican and Mesoamerican culture.

 

The term ‘Mesoamerica’ is used to define the culture region of complex societies in the majority of modern day Mexico and the northern portion of Central America including Belize and Guatemala, as well as parts of Honduras and El Salvador. In order to understand the development of urban centers in ancient Mesoamerica and more specifically ancient Central Mexico, it is important to first look at scholarship done to theorize about the circumstances under which cities developed. V. Gordon Childe (1950) theorizes that the development of farming and the resulting agricultural surplus during the Neolithic Revolution resulted in conditions that permitted the formation of cities in a process that he calls the Urban Revolution. Interestingly, Childe notes that Mesoamerican urban centers challenge his definition of cities, since ancient cities arose in this part of the world without animal husbandry or technology such as the wheel, the sail, the plough, or metallurgy. With this in mind, Childe develops a list of ten characteristics of a city that includes increased population size and density, specialization, taxation, monumental architecture, a ruling class, writing, science, art, trade, and state level society. Sanders and Webster (1988) take a closer look at the development and characteristics of cities in Mesoamerica. They specifically examine the Maya site of Copán in Honduras, as well as the Central Mexican cities at Teotihuacán and Tenochtitlán. To understand the circumstances under which each of these Mesoamerican urban centers formed, they use a model developed by Richard Fox that categorizes urban centers into regal-ritual cities, administrative cities, and mercantile cities. They argue that while the Maya site of Copán, as well as most other Mesoamerican sites, is a regal-ritual city, the Central Mexican cities at Teotihuacán and Tenochtitlán mainly served administrative purposes. This curriculum unit’s examination of ancient Mesoamerican urban centers in Central Mexico will specifically focus on the Early Classic Period (300-600 CE) site of Teotihuacán and the Postclassic Period (900-1500 CE) site at Tenochtitlán.

 

Although humans began to populate Mesoamerica around 11,000 BCE, they spent their first few thousand years there living as hunter-gatherers. With the domestication of crops such as maize, beans, and squash and the development of ceramics to store, prepare, and serve food, small permanent settlements became commonplace throughout all of Mesoamerica by 2000 BCE (Cowgill 2015:39). Between 1400-400 BCE, there is substantial evidence that the Olmec culture of the Gulf Coast was a complex society with settlements that likely had most of Childe’s (1950) characteristics of a city. In the Basin of Mexico, the first urban settlement arose at Cuicuilco and reached its peak between 400-100 BCE (Cowgill 2015:42). Further north in the Basin of Mexico, Teotihuacán began to grow during this time, but was much smaller than the urban center at Cuicuilco. This began to change after a series of volcanic eruptions that forced much of the population of the southern Basin of Mexico towards Teotihuacán in the north.

 

The population of Teotihuacán began to drastically increase beginning around 100 BCE (Cowgill 2015:47). By the year 1 BCE, the population was at least 20,000, and at its Early Classic Period peak between the years 200-400 CE, most archaeologists agree that the total population of the city was over 100,000. At its peak, Teotihuacán was the largest city in the Western Hemisphere. Its large monumental core was organized along a north-south road that is now commonly called the ‘Street of the Dead’, and was surrounded by massive monumental architecture including the Ciudadela complex and Pyramid of the Feathered Serpent, the Pyramid of the Moon, and the colossal Pyramid of the Sun. The city is known for its characteristic talud-tablero architectural style. Specialists produced and distributed important goods including ceramic vessels and obsidian tools at large workshops located throughout the city (Hirth et al. 2019). Economic activity took place at a large marketplace, and the city engaged in trade with cities throughout all of Mesoamerica and even reaching as far as the Maya region over 1100 km. away. While there is a great deal of debate about the structure of the city’s political structure, it was likely ruled either by a king, a priestly ruling class based out of the Quetzalpapalotl Palace, or some combination of both that possibly changed over time. Much of the city’s population lived in apartment complexes that were possibly organized based on ethnicity. Although likely not to the extent of the Maya, Teotihuacán had advanced mathematical, astronomical, and calendric systems (Cowgill 2015:217-220). Their writing system relied on standardized signs, although much is still unknown about it (Cowgill 2015:213). The city is known for its artistic imagery, mainly in the form of well-preserved murals that can be found throughout the archaeological site and are particularly well preserved in some of the residential apartment complexes. While the city thrived and continued to grow for centuries, its ceremonial core was suddenly burned sometime between 550-650 CE (Cowgill 2015:13). As a result, its population drastically declined and the city was most likely abandoned.

 

After the decline of Teotihuacán and the collapse of many cities in the Maya region shortly afterwards, Central Mexico and much of Mesoamerica underwent a period of turmoil for many centuries during which populations concentrated in smaller urban centers located on hilltops, likely for defensive purposes. With some exceptions, this trend lasted until the Late Postclassic Period with the rise of Tenochtitlán, the capital city of the Aztec Empire. Built in the center of Lake Texcoco in the southern part of the Basin of Mexico, Tenochtitlán was likely the largest urban center to have existed throughout all of pre-Hispanic history. Our knowledge of Tenochtitlán is much more substantial than other large Mesoamerican cities such as Teotihuacán, since there is an abundance of historical information from the Spanish conquest to complement the archaeological data that we have. It is likely that at its peak, the city had a population over 200,000 (Sanders and Webster 1988:535). The city was ruled by the king of the Mexica people, whose power extended to dominate a multiethnic empire that spread throughout most of Southern Mexico and even into Guatemala. The empire’s military expansion enabled it to collect tribute from the other cities that it dominated. The city had a massive monumental complex that served political and religious functions. Tenochtitlan’s large population of craft specialists, political administrators, priests, and warriors subsisted mainly from agricultural produce from the rural surroundings. Trade occurred at a central marketplace, and long-distance merchants called pochteca traded with polities throughout all of Mesoamerica. The scientific, mathematical, and writing system of the Aztecs was similar in complexity to that of the Teotihuacanos. Unfortunately for Tenochtitlan’s residents, the arrival of the Spanish conquistadores would greatly change the course of history.

 

The Spanish Conquest and Colonial Mexico

For more recent times, the influence of the Spanish conquest and colonialism will be explored through the lens of Bernal Diaz del Castillo’s The Conquest of New Spain, as well as through a visit to the Philadelphia Museum of Art to see artistic depictions of Mexico after the conquest. Students will be able to compare artistic accounts of the conquest with historical accounts.

 

When Hernan Cortes’ and the Spanish conquistadores arrived at Tenochtitlán in 1521, they were astounded at the size, complexity, and beauty of the city. In his firsthand account of the events that took place during the Spanish Conquest, Bernal Diaz del Castillo (2013) wrote:

 

“When we saw all those cities and villages built on water; and the other great towns on dry land, and that straight and level causeway leading to Mexico, we were astounded. These great towns and shrines and buildings rising from the water, all made of stone, seemed like an enchanted vision from the tale of Amadis. Indeed some of our soldiers asked whether it was not all a dream. It is not surprising therefore that I should write in this vein. It was all so wonderful that I do not know how to describe this first glimpse of things never heard or, never seen, and never dreamed of before.”

Despite the sense of amazement described in Bernal Diaz del Castillo’s account, the Spanish would shortly thereafter begin the process of destroying much of the city and colonizing the Aztec Empire. This process would begin shortly after their arrival at the city, where they were welcomed as guests by the Mexica Emperor Montezuma II. Mostly through the aid of alliances with other indigenous groups that were more than happy to overthrow the empire that had militarily dominated them and demanded tribute, the Spanish sacked the city of Tenochtitlán, captured and killed the emperor, and began the decades long process of colonizing the rest of Mesoamerica, which they would proceed to call ‘New Spain’.

This curriculum unit will aim to understand colonial Mexico through an artistic lens. This strategy will permit students to engage with Mexican culture and communicate in the target language. For three hundred years, Mexico formed a large part of the Spanish colony of New Spain. While a great deal of social, economic, and political change occurred over this period of time, it is largely characterized by Spanish exploitation of the indigenous population. The famed Mexican muralist Diego Rivera is known for his artwork that frequently depicts scenes of Mexican history and Spanish exploitation. While Rivera’s murals can be found throughout all of Mexico City, even within government buildings and universities, an example of Rivera’s artwork that depicts colonial Mexico is also housed within the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The fresco Sugar Cane (1931b) depicts a scene at a colonial sugar plantation in Central Mexico. While indigenous workers of all genders and ages are seen laboring in the fields, Spanish foreman are relaxing on hammocks, riding on horses with guns, and whipping laborers. The museum also houses Liberation of the Peon (Rivera 1931a), which shows a badly beaten hacienda laborer who has been rescued by revolutionary soldiers. Rivera’s frescoes provide insight into the social and economic landscape of colonial and revolutionary Mexico. Another painting in the museum by Jose Maria Velasco showing the aftermath of Spanish colonization of Mexico is seen in Valley of Oaxaca (Velasco 1888). This painting shows the changing landscape of the Valley of Oaxaca, which was once home to one of the original cultures of Mesoamerica. At the center of the valley, Oaxaca City is seen. While people in indigenous clothing appear in the foreground, colonial churches and the developing city can be seen in the background. Velasco’s painting provides a great example of the changes that occurred in a Mexican city as a result of Spanish colonialism.

 

Modern Mexico City

Modern-day Mexico City will be examined through an abundance of online resources including maps of public transportation systems. Change over time and environmental impacts on urban centers will be examined through an anthropological documentary Land and Water, which examines traditional ways of subsistence in a rural Central Mexican town outside of Mexico City. All of these activities will occur with a focus on communication in the target language and the development of new cultural perspectives.

 

The modern city is a sprawling metropolis that has spread throughout most of the Basin of Mexico and has one of the largest urban populations in the world, estimated at over 20 million people. It is the largest Spanish-speaking city in the world. The city center is built on the site of the former Aztec capital of Tenochtitlán. The Metropolitan Cathedral and the National Palace are located directly above the ruins of the pyramid and palace complexes of the ancient city. For these reasons, it has been designated as a World Heritage City by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization World Heritage Convention (2020).  The city is connected via a massive subway system (Metro CDMX 2020) that continues to expand; with each new tunnel that is built, more archaeological remains of ancient Tenochtitlán are discovered. We will examine both ancient and modern modes of transportation throughout the lessons presented in this curriculum unit.

 

Modern Mexico City faces a number of challenges that it must address as it expands geographically and its population continues to increase. It faces a water crisis amplified by the threat of global climate change. Michael Kimmelman (2017) documented this crisis in a New York Times article that highlights the threats that overpopulation, climate change, and access to water pose for the modern-day Basin of Mexico. The Aztecs built their capital on an island in the lake, and used the water for agriculture and transportation; the Spanish made efforts to dry up the lake so that they could build streets and plazas in its place; the long term effects of this sequence are seen in the countless buildings that appear to be slowly sinking into the ground. As the city’s population continues to grow, the city drills deeper into the ancient lake bed for access to water. As the lake bed dries up, it loses structural integrity and is sinking at a rate of 5-9 inches per year in some parts of the city (Kimmelman 2017). The city has to bring in 40% of its water from outside sources, and the feat of pumping this water through the surrounding mountains uses as much energy per day as the entire neighboring city of Puebla. Furthermore, around 40% of Mexico City’s water supply is lost to pipe leaks or siphoning. As a result of these challenges, 20% of all Mexico City residents do not reliably receive tap water, and may even only receive weekly or monthly deliveries of water that must be rationed. The article further details that access to water disproportionately is a challenge for women and lower class citizens of the city. Many women are unable to enter the workforce, since the majority of their day is spent trying to obtain water for their household. Poor people are disproportionately affected, as access to water is not an issue in affluent neighborhoods. Clearly, Mexico City faces a major water crisis that is exponentially increasing with the effects of climate change.

 

Mexico City’s water crisis is not purely a recent issue. In his documentary film Land and Water, William Sanders (1962) takes an ethnographic approach to understand how the citizens of the Teotihuacán Valley interact with their environment and rely on access to water from natural springs for their traditional way of life. When the documentary was filmed, the Teotihuacán Valley was about an hour’s drive outside of Mexico City. Today, the urban sprawl of the capital has reached this northern portion of the Basin of Mexico. Furthermore, the natural springs that had been such an important part of the daily lives of Teotihuacanos at the time that Land and Water was filmed, as well as to the development of the ancient city of Teotihuacan, are now dried up. The same problems faced by Mexico City have spread north to Teotihuacán. As a result, traditional ways of life in the modern Teotihuacan Valley are at risk. This serves as a case study of the larger issues faced by the greater Mexico City metropolis.

Teaching Strategies

This curriculum unit is based in the American Council for the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) World Readiness Standards for Learning Languages (2015). These standards are framed by the 5 “C” goal areas of communication, cultures, connections, comparisons, and communities. The communication goal area requires learners to communicate effectively in more than one language so that they can operate in different situations and can complete different tasks. The cultures goal area aims for learners to interact with cultural competence and understanding. The connections goal area integrates world language with other subject areas and pushes learners to acquire information and diverse perspectives so that they can use what they have learned in academic and career situations. The comparisons goal area aims to develop insight into the nature of language and culture so that students can interact with cultural competence. Finally, the communities goal area pushes students to communicate and participate in multilingual communities. These standards aim to promote language learning outside of the classroom and to provide language learners with skills that will help prepare them for future careers and experiences. The standards are designed to complement common core standards, college and career readiness goals, and 21st century skills. They can be used at all grade levels, and are applicable to native speakers and heritage learners. Each of the ACTFL standards are cited in the lesson plans included in the classroom activities section of the unit, and the full set is listed in the appendix.

 

The curriculum unit is also based in standards from the Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education’s EfS Standards (2019). These include nine core content standards that aim for students to engage in cultural preservation and transformation, responsible local and global citizenship, the dynamics of systems and change, sustainable economics, healthy commons, natural laws and ecological principles, inventing and affecting the future, multiple perspectives, and connections to a strong sense of place. Each of these standards is addressed throughout the unit and specifically cited in the lesson plans included in the classroom activities section. Furthermore, detailed descriptions of each standard are listed in the appendix.

 

This curriculum unit is aligned with many of the learning objectives outlined in the School District of Philadelphia’s World Language Level 2 Planning and Scheduling Timeline (2010). Since the unit is designed for implementation into a School District of Philadelphia Spanish 2 classroom, it aims to integrate many of the objectives and standards outlined in the “City Life” unit while specifically exploring urbanism in Mexican cities throughout history and into the present day. Students will identify modes of transportation for different types of travel in Mexican cities, particularly the large metro system. Students will learn to ask for and give directions. They will work with sources in the target language to read, follow, and give directions using maps. Students will compare US cities with cities in Mexico. They will identify and discuss major cultural and historical sites. Each of these learning objectives, along with additional learning objectives developed for this unit are specifically outlined in the lesson plans provided in the classroom activities section.

 

The incorporation of art for the purpose of second language acquisition is an important technique that this curriculum unit uses. Erin Díaz (2016) provides a detailed examination of the various merits that art museum visits and the use of visual arts provide in a world language classroom. In addition to the use of art’s potential to complement language learners’ progress towards all of ACTFL’s five “C” goal areas (Díaz 2016:440), she notes that an art museum visit serves as a way to provide students with an opportunity to explore something that they would not have done otherwise. She makes the important point that “art is used as a vehicle for learners rather than the subject of learning” (Díaz 2016:439).  She then provides examples of lessons that incorporated these strategies and received positive results for both teachers and students. Díaz makes a compelling argument for the importance of the use of art, and particularly visits to art museums, in the world language classroom. This unit will integrate visits to both the Philadelphia Art Museum and the Penn Museum. Furthermore, students will explore digital resources from other museums including the Whitney Museum in New York and the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City. These teaching strategies will serve to not only complement the five “C” goal areas, but also to provide some of the benefits outlined by Díaz.

 

The final assessment for this curriculum unit uses the Integrated Performance Assessment (IPA) model (Shrum & Glisan 2010). This type of assessment integrates all three modes of communication as defined by the American Council for the Teaching of Foreign Languages: interpersonal communication, interpretive communication, and presentational communication. According to the World Readiness Standards for Learning Language (The National Standards Collaborative Board 2015), interpersonal communication is the learner’s ability to interact and negotiate meaning in spoken, signed, or written conversations to share information, reactions, feelings, and opinions. Interpretive communication is the learner’s ability to understand, interpret, and analyze what is heard, read, or viewed on a variety of topics. Finally, presentational communication is the learner’s ability to present information, concepts, and ideas to inform, explain, persuade, and narrate on a variety of topics using appropriate media and adapting to various audiences of listeners, readers, or viewers. The final assessment for this curriculum unit aims to measure the students’ proficiency in all of these areas. The details of the assessment, including materials and rubrics, will be outlined in the lesson plans provided in the classroom activities section below.

Classroom Activities

Pre-Hispanic Mexican Cities Lesson Plan

VISION-SETTING OBJECTIVES
·       SWBAT identify modes of transportation for different types of travel.

·       SWBAT identify buildings and places in cities.

·       SWBAT read, follow, and give directions using a map.

·       SWBAT compare and contrast modes of transportation in US cities with cities in the target culture.

·       SWBAT identify and discuss major cultural and historical sites.

·       SWBAT compare and contrast ancient Mexican cities with modern Mexican cities.

·       SWBAT analyze primary documents in the target language about ancient and colonial Mexican cities.

·       SWBAT communicate about the arts, architecture, and material culture of ancient, colonial, and modern Mexican cities.

·       SWBAT compare and contrast Mexican cities with Philadelphia.

ASSESSMENT
Boleto de Salida: Create a Venn diagram to compare and contrast pre-Hispanic Mexican cities such as Tenochtitlán and Teotihuacán with modern Philadelphia. Use appropriate Spanish vocabulary to describe buildings, places, transportation, and other important components of cities where appropriate.
STANDARDS

ACFTL World Readiness Standards for Learning Languages

•                  Interpersonal Communication: Learners interact and negotiate meaning in spoken, signed, or written conversations to share information, reactions, feelings, and opinions.

•                  Interpretive Communication: Learners understand, interpret, and analyze what is heard, read, or viewed on a variety of topics.

•                  Presentational Communication: Learners present information, concepts, and ideas to inform, explain, persuade, and narrate on a variety of topics using appropriate media and adapting to various audiences of listeners, readers, or viewers.

•                  Relating Cultural Practices to Perspectives: Learners use the language to investigate, explain, and reflect on the relationship between the practices and perspectives of the cultures studied.

•                  Relating Cultural Products to Perspectives: Learners use the language to investigate, explain, and reflect on the relationship between the products and perspectives of the cultures studied.

•                  Making Connections: Learners build, reinforce, and expand their knowledge of other disciplines while using the language to develop critical thinking and to solve problems creatively.

•                  Acquiring Information and Diverse Perspectives: Learners access and evaluate information and diverse perspectives that are available through the language and its cultures.

•                  Language Comparisons: Learners use the language to investigate, explain, and reflect on the nature of language through comparisons of the language studied and their own.

•                  Cultural Comparisons: Learners use the language to investigate, explain, and reflect on the concept of culture through comparisons of the cultures studied and their own.

•                  School and Global Communities: Learners use the language both within and beyond the classroom to interact and collaborate in their community and the globalized world.

•                  Lifelong Learning: Learners set goals and reflect on their progress in using languages for enjoyment, enrichment, and advancement.

 

Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education EfS Standards

•                  A. Cultural Preservation & Transformation: The preservation of cultural histories and heritages and the transformation of cultural identities and practices that contribute to sustainable communities. Students will develop the ability to discern with others what to preserve and what to change in order for future generations to thrive.

•                  E. Healthy Commons: Healthy Commons are that upon which we all depend and for which we are all responsible (i.e., air, trust, biodiversity, climate regulation, our collective future, water, libraries, public health, heritage sites, top soil, etc.). Students will be able to recognize and value the vital importance of the Commons in our lives and for our future. They will assume the rights, responsibilities, and actions to care for the Commons.

•                  H. Multiple Perspectives: The perspectives, life experiences, and cultures of others, as well as our own. Students will know, understand, value, and draw from multiple perspectives in order to co-create with diverse stakeholders shared and evolving visions and actions in the service of a healthy and sustainable future locally and globally.

•                  I. Strong Sense of Place: The strong connection to the place in which one lives. Students will recognize and value the interrelationships between the social, economic, ecological, and architectural history of that place and contribute to its continuous health.

 

DETERMINING METHODS OPENING (Do Now) MATERIALS
Students will read the following excerpt from Bernal Diaz del Castillo’s (2013) The Conquest of New Spain:

“When we saw all those cities and villages built on water; and the other great towns on dry land, and that straight and level causeway leading to Mexico, we were astounded. These great towns and shrines and buildings rising from the water, all made of stone, seemed like an enchanted vision from the tale of Amadis. Indeed some of our soldiers asked whether it was not all a dream. It is not surprising therefore that I should write in this vein. It was all so wonderful that I do not know how to describe this first glimpse of things never heard or, never seen, and never dreamed of before.”

Then, students will write a short paragraph describing their thoughts and answering the following questions. How does Bernal Diaz del Castillo describe the cities and towns the conquistadors observed when they arrived in Mexico? How would you describe his thoughts, emotions, and feelings as the conquistadors entered the Basin of Mexico? What types of buildings does he describe? What are the buildings built from? What type of terrain are the cities and towns built on?

After writing their reflections, students will share their answer with the class as part of a larger group discussion.

Excerpt from Bernal Diaz del Castillo, Pencil, Paper
INTRODUCTION OF NEW MATERIAL  
The teacher has a variety of options to introduce new material for this lesson. This component of the lesson should focus on introducing ancient Mesoamerican culture, particularly focusing on the Central Mexican sites of Teotihuacán and Tenochtitlán. Direct instruction should particularly focus on the material culture and archaeological record of ancient Mexico. As an introduction, present relevant material from the content objectives section of this curriculum unit. Use relevant Spanish vocabulary accompanied by images as frequently as possible. Vocabulary should include, but is not limited to, ciudad, pirámide, calle, edificio, templo, palacio, estatua, mercado, chinampa, and casa. If possible, schedule a field trip to the Penn Museum for students to the Mexico and Central America Galleries. Direct students to explore the UNESCO World Heritage City website for Mexico City and Xochimilco. Teacher-created presentation

 

Historic Center of Mexico City and Xochimilco World Heritage City Link: https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/412/

 

GUIDED PRACTICE  
As a class, visit Google Maps and search for the Pirámide del Sol, San Juan, Teotihuacán. Use street view and proceed north along the Calzada de los Muertos to the Palacio de Quetzalpapálotl and Pirámide de la Luna. Then, examine the Rene Millon (1970) archaeological map of Teotihuacán. Compare the map with Google Maps, and have students label buildings and streets in the city using appropriate Spanish vocabulary. Google Maps

Rene Millon (1970) map

INDEPENDENT PRACTICE  
Direct students to visit the Penn Museum and Museo Nacional de Antropologia digital collections using the provided links. For each website, students should identify at least three artifacts that are relevant to both ancient and modern cities. In their notes, students should identify each artifact and write the appropriate English and Spanish vocabulary. Penn Museum Digital Collections: https://www.penn.museum/collections/

Museo Nacional de Antropología Digital Collections: https://mna.inah.gob.mx/

Venn Diagrams

Paper, pencils

Lesson Assessment (Exit Ticket)
Boleto de Salida: Create a Venn diagram to compare and contrast pre-Hispanic Mexican cities such as Tenochtitlán and Teotihuacán with modern Philadelphia. Use appropriate Spanish vocabulary to describe buildings, places, transportation, and other important components of cities where appropriate.
CLOSING  
Each student should briefly describe their Venn Diagram to the class as part of a closing discussion.  
HOMEWORK
Students will compile a list of the new Spanish vocabulary relevant to ancient and modern cities that they learned throughout the lesson.

 

Conquest and Colonial Mexico Lesson Plan

VISION-SETTING OBJECTIVES
·       SWBAT identify modes of transportation for different types of travel.

·       SWBAT identify buildings and places in cities.

·       SWBAT identify and discuss major cultural and historical sites.

·       SWBAT analyze primary documents in the target language about ancient and colonial Mexican cities.

·       SWBAT communicate about the arts, architecture, and material culture of ancient, colonial, and modern Mexican cities.

ASSESSMENT
Students will write a sentence describing a Diego Rivera piece of art from the Philadelphia Museum of Art online collections. Then, they will share their sentence aloud for the class in the target langauge.
STANDARDS

ACFTL World Readiness Standards for Learning Languages

•                  Interpersonal Communication: Learners interact and negotiate meaning in spoken, signed, or written conversations to share information, reactions, feelings, and opinions.

•                  Interpretive Communication: Learners understand, interpret, and analyze what is heard, read, or viewed on a variety of topics.

•                  Presentational Communication: Learners present information, concepts, and ideas to inform, explain, persuade, and narrate on a variety of topics using appropriate media and adapting to various audiences of listeners, readers, or viewers.

•                  Relating Cultural Practices to Perspectives: Learners use the language to investigate, explain, and reflect on the relationship between the practices and perspectives of the cultures studied.

•                  Relating Cultural Products to Perspectives: Learners use the language to investigate, explain, and reflect on the relationship between the products and perspectives of the cultures studied.

•                  Making Connections: Learners build, reinforce, and expand their knowledge of other disciplines while using the language to develop critical thinking and to solve problems creatively.

•                  Acquiring Information and Diverse Perspectives: Learners access and evaluate information and diverse perspectives that are available through the language and its cultures.

•                  Language Comparisons: Learners use the language to investigate, explain, and reflect on the nature of language through comparisons of the language studied and their own.

•                  Cultural Comparisons: Learners use the language to investigate, explain, and reflect on the concept of culture through comparisons of the cultures studied and their own.

•                  School and Global Communities: Learners use the language both within and beyond the classroom to interact and collaborate in their community and the globalized world.

•                  Lifelong Learning: Learners set goals and reflect on their progress in using languages for enjoyment, enrichment, and advancement.

 

Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education EfS Standards

•                  A. Cultural Preservation & Transformation: The preservation of cultural histories and heritages and the transformation of cultural identities and practices that contribute to sustainable communities. Students will develop the ability to discern with others what to preserve and what to change in order for future generations to thrive.

•                  H. Multiple Perspectives: The perspectives, life experiences, and cultures of others, as well as our own. Students will know, understand, value, and draw from multiple perspectives in order to co-create with diverse stakeholders shared and evolving visions and actions in the service of a healthy and sustainable future locally and globally.

•                  I. Strong Sense of Place: The strong connection to the place in which one lives. Students will recognize and value the interrelationships between the social, economic, ecological, and architectural history of that place and contribute to its continuous health.

 

DETERMINING METHODS OPENING (Do Now) MATERIALS
Begin by watching the Whitney Museum video about “Los Tres Grandes”. Have students write down their thoughts from the video and conduct a Think-Pair-Share. https://whitney.org/media/46366

 

INTRODUCTION OF NEW MATERIAL  
Referring to the content objectives in this unit plan, introduce colonial Mexico with a presentation. Then, introduce Mexican Muralists, with a specific focus on the work of Diego Rivera. Discuss students’ thoughts about the popular Mexican artists. Explain that their artwork can be used as a way to better understand Mexico during different historical time periods, and that art serves as a medium to build communication skills in the target language.

 

If possible, schedule a field trip to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Guide students to view the Diego Rivera works depicting colonial Mexico Sugar Cane and Liberation of the Peon. IF this is not possible, find these resources on the Philadelphia Museum of Art website. Use target language to describe the artwork and its depiction of Mexican cities and social life during colonial times, including caña de azucar, campesino, and caballo.

Teacher-created presentation

 

https://www.philamuseum.org/collections/permanent/48441.html?mulR=751189643|3

GUIDED PRACTICE  
Examine Jose María Velasco’s Valley of Oaxaca. Students can visit this at the Philadelphia Museum of Art if a trip is possible, but it is also available online. With a partner, have students describe the painting using vocabulary from this unit, as well as Spanish vocabulary and phrases they have learned from previous units. Require students to write at least five sentences, and then share their answers aloud to the class. Some vocabulary that should be used includes valle, calles, tren, campo, ciudad. https://www.philamuseum.org/collections/permanent/50796.html

 

Pencil, paper

INDEPENDENT PRACTICE  
Direct students to the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s online database. Then, direct students to search the name ‘Diego Rivera’ in the online collections. Students must choose at least five works form the online collection and write a description in the target language. At the end, each student will have to share the work they have selected with the class and say their sentence in Spanish for the entire class. https://www.philamuseum.org/

 

Pencil, paper

Lesson Assessment (Exit Ticket)
Students will write a sentence describing a Diego Rivera piece of art from the Philadelphia Museum of Art online collections. Then, they will share their sentence aloud for the class. (See description in Independent Practice above).
CLOSING  
Discuss with students how artwork can be used to build communication skills in the target language.  
HOMEWORK
Students will compile a list of the new Spanish vocabulary that they learned throughout the lesson.

 

Environmental Change and Mexico City Lesson Plan

VISION-SETTING OBJECTIVES
·       SWBAT identify and discuss major cultural and historical sites.

·       SWBAT compare and contrast ancient Mexican cities with modern Mexican cities.

·       SWBAT communicate about the arts, architecture, and material culture of ancient, colonial, and modern Mexican cities.

·       SWBAT compare and contrast Mexican cities with Philadelphia.

 

ASSESSMENT
Boleto de Salida: How has life changed in Central Mexico since the time Land and Water was filmed? What changes are faced by people living in Central Mexico today? Do we face any similar challenges in Philadelphia?
STANDARDS

ACFTL World Readiness Standards for Learning Languages

•                  Interpersonal Communication: Learners interact and negotiate meaning in spoken, signed, or written conversations to share information, reactions, feelings, and opinions.

•                  Interpretive Communication: Learners understand, interpret, and analyze what is heard, read, or viewed on a variety of topics.

•                  Presentational Communication: Learners present information, concepts, and ideas to inform, explain, persuade, and narrate on a variety of topics using appropriate media and adapting to various audiences of listeners, readers, or viewers.

•                  Relating Cultural Practices to Perspectives: Learners use the language to investigate, explain, and reflect on the relationship between the practices and perspectives of the cultures studied.

•                  Relating Cultural Products to Perspectives: Learners use the language to investigate, explain, and reflect on the relationship between the products and perspectives of the cultures studied.

•                  Making Connections: Learners build, reinforce, and expand their knowledge of other disciplines while using the language to develop critical thinking and to solve problems creatively.

•                  Acquiring Information and Diverse Perspectives: Learners access and evaluate information and diverse perspectives that are available through the language and its cultures.

•                  Language Comparisons: Learners use the language to investigate, explain, and reflect on the nature of language through comparisons of the language studied and their own.

•                  Cultural Comparisons: Learners use the language to investigate, explain, and reflect on the concept of culture through comparisons of the cultures studied and their own.

•                  School and Global Communities: Learners use the language both within and beyond the classroom to interact and collaborate in their community and the globalized world.

•                  Lifelong Learning: Learners set goals and reflect on their progress in using languages for enjoyment, enrichment, and advancement.

 

Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education EfS Standards

•                  A. Cultural Preservation & Transformation: The preservation of cultural histories and heritages and the transformation of cultural identities and practices that contribute to sustainable communities. Students will develop the ability to discern with others what to preserve and what to change in order for future generations to thrive.

•                  B. Responsible Local and Global Citizenship: The rights, responsibilities, and actions associated with leadership and participation toward healthy and sustainable communities. Students will know and understand these rights and responsibilities and assume their roles of leadership and participation.

•                  C. The Dynamics of Systems and Change: A system is made up of two or more parts in a dynamic relationship that forms a whole whose elements hang together and change because they continually affect each other over time. They will be able to apply the tools and concepts of system dynamics and systems thinking in their present lives, and to inform the choices that will affect our future.

•                  D. Sustainable Economics: The evolving set of theories and practices of economics that integrates the economic, and social systems with the ecological systems required to support and maintain life on the planet. Students will know and understand 21st century economic practices and will produce and consume in ways that contribute to the health of the financial, social, and natural capital.

•                  E. Healthy Commons: Healthy Commons are that upon which we all depend and for which we are all responsible (i.e., air, trust, biodiversity, climate regulation, our collective future, water, libraries, public health, heritage sites, top soil, etc.). Students will be able to recognize and value the vital importance of the Commons in our lives and for our future. They will assume the rights, responsibilities, and actions to care for the Commons.

•                  F. Natural Laws and Ecological Principles: The laws of nature and science principles of sustainability. Students will see themselves as interdependent with each other, all living things, and natural systems. They will be able to put their knowledge and understanding to use in the service of their lives, their communities, and the places in which they live.

•                  G. Inventing and Affecting the Future: The vital role of vision, imagination, and intention in creating the desired future. Students will design, implement, and assess actions in the service of their individual and collective visions.

•                  H. Multiple Perspectives: The perspectives, life experiences, and cultures of others, as well as our own. Students will know, understand, value, and draw from multiple perspectives in order to co-create with diverse stakeholders shared and evolving visions and actions in the service of a healthy and sustainable future locally and globally.

•                  I. Strong Sense of Place: The strong connection to the place in which one lives. Students will recognize and value the interrelationships between the social, economic, ecological, and architectural history of that place and contribute to its continuous health.

DETERMINING METHODS OPENING (Do Now) MATERIALS
Haz Ahora: How do you think Philadelphia has changed since your grandparents were children? How do you think Philadelphia has changed since your parents will children? What will Philadelphia look like in 20 years? Pencil, paper
INTRODUCTION OF NEW MATERIAL  
Class will watch Land and Water to better understand the threat that climate change and rapid urbanization poses to traditional ways of life in Central Mexico. Depending on student level, watch the documentary in English or Spanish (links provided in materials and in the resources section of the unit). Spanish: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XEG94W-eaNQ

 

English: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aYPnstZi0pk&t=242s

 

GUIDED PRACTICE  
After viewing the film, discuss the following questions:

·       What is the primary means of subsistence of most people living in the Teotihuacán Valley at the time that the documentary was filmed?

·        What crops do the people rely on?

·        What challenges do the residents face? How do they overcome these challenges?

 
INDEPENDENT PRACTICE  
Students read the article “Mexico City, Parched and Sinking, Faces a Water Crisis”. As they are reading, students should write down ten specific examples of how climate change threatens the modern metropolis at Mexico City. Then, discuss the article as a class. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/02/17/world/americas/mexico-city-sinking.html

 

Lesson Assessment (Exit Ticket)
Boleto de Salida: How has life changed in Central Mexico since the time Land and Water was filmed? What changes are faced by people living in Central Mexico today? Do we face any similar challenges in Philadelphia?
CLOSING  
Reflect as a class on the challenges faced by Mexico City and the relevance of these challenges in Philadelphia.  
HOMEWORK
Develop a plan of how you will help prevent climate change here in Philadelphia.

 

Modern Mexico City and City Map Integrated Performance Assessment Lesson Plan

VISION-SETTING OBJECTIVES
·       SWBAT identify modes of transportation for different types of travel.

·       SWBAT identify buildings and places in cities.

·       SWBAT ask for and give directions.

·       SWBAT read, follow, and give directions using a map.

·       SWBAT compare and contrast modes of transportation in US cities with cities in the target culture.

·       SWBAT identify and discuss major cultural and historical sites.

·       SWBAT extend an invitation and respond affirmatively and negatively.

·       SWBAT compare and contrast cultural norms regarding the use of invitations.

·       SWBAT compare and contrast ancient Mexican cities with modern Mexican cities.

·       SWBAT analyze primary documents in the target language about ancient and colonial Mexican cities.

·       SWBAT communicate about the arts, architecture, and material culture of ancient, colonial, and modern Mexican cities.

·       SWBAT compare and contrast Mexican cities with Philadelphia.

 

ASSESSMENT
City Map Integrated Performance Assessment
STANDARDS

ACFTL World Readiness Standards for Learning Languages

This curriculum unit is aligned with the American Council for the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) World Readiness Standards for Learning Languages. These standards encourage students to build proficiency in communication, cultures, connections, comparisons, and communities.

 

•                  Interpersonal Communication: Learners interact and negotiate meaning in spoken, signed, or written conversations to share information, reactions, feelings, and opinions.

•                  Interpretive Communication: Learners understand, interpret, and analyze what is heard, read, or viewed on a variety of topics.

•                  Presentational Communication: Learners present information, concepts, and ideas to inform, explain, persuade, and narrate on a variety of topics using appropriate media and adapting to various audiences of listeners, readers, or viewers.

•                  Relating Cultural Practices to Perspectives: Learners use the language to investigate, explain, and reflect on the relationship between the practices and perspectives of the cultures studied.

•                  Relating Cultural Products to Perspectives: Learners use the language to investigate, explain, and reflect on the relationship between the products and perspectives of the cultures studied.

•                  Making Connections: Learners build, reinforce, and expand their knowledge of other disciplines while using the language to develop critical thinking and to solve problems creatively.

•                  Acquiring Information and Diverse Perspectives: Learners access and evaluate information and diverse perspectives that are available through the language and its cultures.

•                  Language Comparisons: Learners use the language to investigate, explain, and reflect on the nature of language through comparisons of the language studied and their own.

•                  Cultural Comparisons: Learners use the language to investigate, explain, and reflect on the concept of culture through comparisons of the cultures studied and their own.

•                  School and Global Communities: Learners use the language both within and beyond the classroom to interact and collaborate in their community and the globalized world.

•                  Lifelong Learning: Learners set goals and reflect on their progress in using languages for enjoyment, enrichment, and advancement.

 

Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education EfS Standards

The curriculum unit is also aligned with standards from the Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education’s EfS Standards. The following standards address culture and perspectives:

 

•                  H. Multiple Perspectives: The perspectives, life experiences, and cultures of others, as well as our own. Students will know, understand, value, and draw from multiple perspectives in order to co-create with diverse stakeholders shared and evolving visions and actions in the service of a healthy and sustainable future locally and globally.

DETERMINING METHODS OPENING (Do Now) MATERIALS
Students will explore the Mexico City Metro Map, provided in the target language. Identify five new vocabulary phrases from the website. Discuss the map as a class. Provide relevant directional vocabulary for maps. https://www.metro.cdmx.gob.mx/la-red/mapa-de-la-red

 

INTRODUCTION OF NEW MATERIAL  
Present location, transportation, and direction vocabulary (See the vocabulary list below). Create a presentation with imagery and practice with call and response exercise. Teacher-created presentation
GUIDED PRACTICE  
Teacher will introduce map project. Students will be shown a model project with the following directions:

 

Students will create a map of an imaginary city with the following components:

·       Name the city

·       Draw a map with at least four labelled roads and ten labelled buildings in the target language

·       Write five sentences describing where things are located relative to each other in the target language. For example, “El Mercado está al lado de la iglesia.”

·       Give multi-step directions to arrive from one place to another. For example, “Desde la biblioteca, siga derecho en la calle Aldama hasta el hospital.”

·       Design your map either on paper or on the computer.

·       Present your map and the directions you have written in the target language to the class.

Directions

 

Sample project

 

Teacher-designed rubric

INDEPENDENT PRACTICE  
Students will work on completion of the City Map Performance Assessment according to the directions above. When completed, they will present their map and directions to the class using the target language. Project materials
Lesson Assessment (Exit Ticket)
Not applicable, project serves as assessment.
CLOSING  
Encourage students to use what they have learned to communicate about their neighborhood.  
HOMEWORK
Complete performance assessment.

 

Vocabulary List

¿Adónde vas? (Where are you going?)

Voy ( I go)

Vas (You go)

Va (He/she goes)

Vamos (we go)

Van (They go)

El centro / el zócalo (the town center)

El parque (the park)

El centro comercial (the mall)

El cine (the movie theater)

El restaurante (the restaurant)

El café (the café)

El concierto (the concert)

El partido (the game)

El trabajo (the work)

El banco (the bank)

La biblioteca (the library)

El hospital (the hospital)

El aeropuerto (the airport)

La estación de autobus/tren (the bus/train station)

La iglesia (the church)

La mezquita (the mosque)

La fuente (the fountain)

La autopista (the highway)

La carnicería (the butcher)

La panadería (the bakery)

La piscina (the pool)

El estadio (the stadium)

El estacionamiento (the parking lot)

El barrio (the neighborhood)

El apartamento (the apartment)

El vecino (the neighbor)

El mercado (the market)

El carro (car)

El autobús (bus)

El metro (subway)

El tren (train)

El taxi (taxi)

El avión (plane)

El camión (truck)

La bicicleta (bicycle)

La moto (motorcycle/dirtbike)

El barco (boat)

A la izquierda (to the left)

A la derecha (to the right)

Cerca (near)

Lejos (far)

Debajo (under)

Encima (on top)

Al lado (to the side)

Delante/enfrente (in front)

Detras (behind)

Entre (between)

Todo recto (straight ahead)

A la derecho (on the right)

A la izquierda (on the left)

La línea (the line)

Próximo/a (next)

Un mapa (a map)

Gira (turn)

Sigue (continue)

Da la vuelta (turn around)

Siguiente (next)

Resources

Works Cited

Childe, V. G. (1950). “The urban revolution,” Town planning review, 21(1).

 

Childe writes how farming, and economic surplus as a result of the Neolithic Revolution led to the development of cities in the Urban Revolution. He then identifies ten criteria that can be seen in the archaeological record to identify cities.

 

Cowgill, G. L. (2015). Ancient Teotihuacan. Cambridge University Press.

 

Cowgill provides a comprehensive examination of the major Central Mexican urban center at Teotihuacán.

 

Díaz, E. M. (2016). Expanding the Spanish Classroom: The ‘Art’ in Liberal Arts. Hispania, 436-448.

 

Díaz outlines the merits of integrating art, particularly through art museum visits, into the Spanish classroom.

 

Diaz del Castillo, B. (2013). The conquest of New Spain. Stellar Classics.

 

This primary account is considered one of the most reliable primary sources written about the Spanish conquest of Mexico.

 

The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education. (2019). Education for sustainability standards and indicators. Accessed from: https://cloudinstitute.org/cloud-efs-standards18 Feb. 2019.

 

These national educational standards encourage sustainable education for the future.

 

Hirth, K. G., Carballo, D. M., Dennison, M., Carr, S., Imfeld, S., & Dyrdahl, E. (2019). “Excavation of an obsidian craft workshop at Teotihuacan, Mexico,” Ancient Mesoamerica, 30(1), 163-179.

 

The authors provide evidence from excavations of an obsidian blade workshop at Teotihuacán about large-scale craft production, trade, and economic specialization.

 

LeGates, R. T., & Stout, F. (Eds.). (2011). The city reader. 6th ed. Routledge, London.

 

This volume contains a collection of various, mostly scholarly, writings about the city.

 

Millon, R. (1970). “Teotihuacán: Completion of Map of Giant Ancient City in the Valley of Mexico,” Science, 170(3962).

 

Millon’s survey of Teotihuacan is the most reliable and widely used map of the ancient city.

 

Sanders, W., & Webster, D. (1988). “The Mesoamerican Urban Tradition,” American Anthropologist, 90(3).

 

Sanders and Webster examine urbanization in Mesoamerica and identify different types of Mesoamerican urban centers using a model developed by Richard Fox. They examine different Mesoamerican cities with respect to Fox’s definitions of regal-ritual cities, administrative cities, and mercantile cities.

 

Shrum, J.L., & Glisan, E.W. (2010). Teacher’s Handbook: Contextualized Language Instruction. 4th ed. Cengage, Boston, MA.

 

Shrum and Glisan outline integrated performance assessments as an important way to assess all modes of communication in the language classroom.

 

The National Standards Collaborative Board. (2015). World-readiness standards for learning languages. 4th ed. Alexandria, VA.

 

The American Council for the Teaching of Foreign Languages provides national standards for the world language classroom.

 

The School District of Philadelphia. (2010). Planning and scheduling timeline for world languages, level two. Songhai Press, Philadelphia, PA.

 

The School District of Philadelphia provides learning objectives, standards, and suggested activities for the World Language Level 2 classroom.

 

Reading List and Materials

Kimmelman, M. (2017, February 17). “Mexico City, parched and sinking, faces a water crisis,” The New York Times. Accessed from: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/02/17/world/americas/mexico-city-sinking.html

 

This interactive New York Times article describes the challenges faced by

Mexico City and its residents because of water shortages and climate change.

 

Metro CDMX (2020). Mapa de la red. Accessed from: https://www.metro.cdmx.gob.mx/la-red/mapa-de-la-red

 

This map in the target language enables students to see the massive subway network that connects Mexico City neighborhoods and serves as a major form of transportation.

 

Museo Nacional de Antropología (2020). Accessed from: https://mna.inah.gob.mx/

 

The National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico has a world class collection of archaeological and ethnographic artifacts. Students can explore their collections in the target language using their website.

 

Penn Museum Digital Collections Collections (2019). Accessed from: https://www.penn.museum/collections/

 

This digital resource provides images and information about many of the artifacts housed in the Penn Museum.

 

Rivera, J.D.M. (1931a). Liberation of the peon [fresco]. Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA, United States. https://www.philamuseum.org/collections/permanent/48440.html

 

 

This Rivera’s fresco shows a brutally beaten hacienda laborer who has been rescued by soldiers during the Mexican revolution.

 

Rivera, J.D.M. (1931b). Sugar cane [fresco]. Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA, United States. https://www.philamuseum.org/collections/permanent/48441.html?mulR=751189643|3

 

Rivera’s artwork provides a look at life on a sugar plantation in colonial Mexico.

 

Sanders, W.T. (Director). (1962). Land and water: an ecological study of the Teotihuacán Valley of Mexico. [Film]. Pennsylvania State University. Accessed from: https://www.landandwaterrevisited.org/

 

Sanders’ film examines traditional ways of life and human interaction with the environment in the Teotihuacán Valley outside of Mexico City.

 

United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization World Heritage Convention (2020). Historic Centre of Mexico City and Xochimilco. Accessed from: https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/412/

 

Mexico City is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage City. This website has a number of resources including photos, videos, and documents that students can use to further explore Mexico City’s historic roots.

 

 

Velasco, J.M. (1888). Valley of Oaxaca [oil on canvas]. Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA, United States. https://www.philamuseum.org/collections/permanent/50796.html

 

Velasco’s painting shows a landscape of the Valley of Oaxaca. This region was one of the original areas of Mexico where complex, state-level societies with cities appeared. Today, it is where the city of Oaxaca is located. Velasco’s landscape shows the valley at a time of transition when it was beginning to industrialize but still maintained some pre-Hispanic and colonial institutions.

 

Whitney Museum of American Art (2020). Vida Americana: Mexican muralists remake American art, 1925-1945. Accessed from: https://whitney.org/exhibitions/vida-americana#exhibition-artworks

 

Resources from this exhibit at the Whitney Museum of American Art include an informational video about “Los Tres Grandes” Mexican muralists, essays about Mexican muralists, and artwork by famous Mexican muralists.

Appendix

Learning Objectives

This curriculum unit is aligned with many of the objectives of the School District of Philadelphia World Language Level 2 unit entitled ‘City Life’. Furthermore, it will expand upon these with themes from the Teacher’s Institute of Philadelphia seminar titled ‘The City in History’. Lessons will cover the following learning objectives:

 

  • SWBAT identify modes of transportation for different types of travel.
  • SWBAT identify buildings and places in cities.
  • SWBAT ask for and give directions.
  • SWBAT read, follow, and give directions using a map.
  • SWBAT compare and contrast modes of transportation in US cities with cities in the target culture.
  • SWBAT identify and discuss major cultural and historical sites.
  • SWBAT extend an invitation and respond affirmatively and negatively.
  • SWBAT compare and contrast cultural norms regarding the use of invitations.
  • SWBAT compare and contrast ancient Mexican cities with modern Mexican cities.
  • SWBAT analyze primary documents in the target language about ancient and colonial Mexican cities.
  • SWBAT communicate about the arts, architecture, and material culture of ancient, colonial, and modern Mexican cities.
  • SWBAT compare and contrast Mexican cities with Philadelphia.

 

ACFTL World Readiness Standards for Learning Languages

This curriculum unit is aligned with the American Council for the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) World Readiness Standards for Learning Languages. These standards encourage students to build proficiency in communication, cultures, connections, comparisons, and communities.

 

  • Interpersonal Communication: Learners interact and negotiate meaning in spoken, signed, or written conversations to share information, reactions, feelings, and opinions.
  • Interpretive Communication: Learners understand, interpret, and analyze what is heard, read, or viewed on a variety of topics.
  • Presentational Communication: Learners present information, concepts, and ideas to inform, explain, persuade, and narrate on a variety of topics using appropriate media and adapting to various audiences of listeners, readers, or viewers.
  • Relating Cultural Practices to Perspectives: Learners use the language to investigate, explain, and reflect on the relationship between the practices and perspectives of the cultures studied.
  • Relating Cultural Products to Perspectives: Learners use the language to investigate, explain, and reflect on the relationship between the products and perspectives of the cultures studied.
  • Making Connections: Learners build, reinforce, and expand their knowledge of other disciplines while using the language to develop critical thinking and to solve problems creatively.
  • Acquiring Information and Diverse Perspectives: Learners access and evaluate information and diverse perspectives that are available through the language and its cultures.
  • Language Comparisons: Learners use the language to investigate, explain, and reflect on the nature of language through comparisons of the language studied and their own.
  • Cultural Comparisons: Learners use the language to investigate, explain, and reflect on the concept of culture through comparisons of the cultures studied and their own.
  • School and Global Communities: Learners use the language both within and beyond the classroom to interact and collaborate in their community and the globalized world.
  • Lifelong Learning: Learners set goals and reflect on their progress in using languages for enjoyment, enrichment, and advancement.

 

Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education EfS Standards

The curriculum unit is also aligned with standards from the Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education’s EfS Standards. The following standards address culture and perspectives:

 

  • Cultural Preservation & Transformation: The preservation of cultural histories and heritages and the transformation of cultural identities and practices that contribute to sustainable communities. Students will develop the ability to discern with others what to preserve and what to change in order for future generations to thrive.
  • Responsible Local and Global Citizenship: The rights, responsibilities, and actions associated with leadership and participation toward healthy and sustainable communities. Students will know and understand these rights and responsibilities and assume their roles of leadership and participation.
  • The Dynamics of Systems and Change: A system is made up of two or more parts in a dynamic relationship that forms a whole whose elements hang together and change because they continually affect each other over time. They will be able to apply the tools and concepts of system dynamics and systems thinking in their present lives, and to inform the choices that will affect our future.
  • Sustainable Economics: The evolving set of theories and practices of economics that integrates the economic, and social systems with the ecological systems required to support and maintain life on the planet. Students will know and understand 21st century economic practices and will produce and consume in ways that contribute to the health of the financial, social, and natural capital.
  • Healthy Commons: Healthy Commons are that upon which we all depend and for which we are all responsible (i.e., air, trust, biodiversity, climate regulation, our collective future, water, libraries, public health, heritage sites, top soil, etc.). Students will be able to recognize and value the vital importance of the Commons in our lives and for our future. They will assume the rights, responsibilities, and actions to care for the Commons.
  • Natural Laws and Ecological Principles: The laws of nature and science principles of sustainability. Students will see themselves as interdependent with each other, all living things, and natural systems. They will be able to put their knowledge and understanding to use in the service of their lives, their communities, and the places in which they live.
  • Inventing and Affecting the Future: The vital role of vision, imagination, and intention in creating the desired future. Students will design, implement, and assess actions in the service of their individual and collective visions.
  • Multiple Perspectives: The perspectives, life experiences, and cultures of others, as well as our own. Students will know, understand, value, and draw from multiple perspectives in order to co-create with diverse stakeholders shared and evolving visions and actions in the service of a healthy and sustainable future locally and globally.
  • Strong Sense of Place: The strong connection to the place in which one lives. Students will recognize and value the interrelationships between the social, economic, ecological, and architectural history of that place and contribute to its continuous health.