Overview

NOTE: Although this lesson is written from the New Mexican perspective, students of any state or nation can do this activity. Simply replace 'New Mexico' with the name of your state or province.

Through this project, students will be introduced to the various cultures, traditions, and beliefs of New Mexicans while exploring and recording their own presence and place. These student portfolios can be later unified into a class web site, much like short stories published in the book, Rio Grande Stories, by Carolyn Meyer.

Activity

Online Student Activity

Introduction

Rio Grande Stories by Carolyn Meyer is an excellent book to use when introducing the rich and varied cultures of New Mexico to middle school students who are new to our state as well as to students who are born natives. Through this project, students will be introduced to the various cultures, traditions, and beliefs of New Mexicans while exploring and recording their own presence and place. These student portfolios can be later unified into a class web site, much like short stories published in the book, Rio Grande Stories.

This year-long portfolio project will be done in conjunction with the novel and is intended to be used as a self-discovery and enrichment program for both middle school Language Arts and New Mexico History. Nearly all students will find a piece of themselves in at least one of the chapters or short stories published about a fictitious middle school in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where the characters are exploring who they are and how they are linked to our state. Through this project, students will explore and develop a deeper understanding of how they are a part of our state. This would be an excellent collaborative project for Language Arts and New Mexico History teachers.

Student Outcomes

After completing this project, students will:

Technology Usage

Process

Rio Grande Stories is written in twelve chapters with each chapter followed by a short story written by a fictitious student enrolled in the fictitious Heritage Project at the fictitious Rio Grande Middle School in Albuquerque, New Mexico. After the class reads each chapter and short story, students begin a component of the digital portfolio.

Allow special education students to make full use of needed modifications.

Some cultural groups may be hesitant to share family or personal histories. Assign these students an historical figure research or to interview others about.

Preparation:

Materials

Tasks:

Collecting the information

  1. Distribute, collect, and file signed parent permission slips to continue project.
  2. Review interviewing skills.
  3. Brainstorm a list of what might make a relative interesting. Ex: Taught in a one-room schoolhouse, worked in Colorado's coal mines, raised a family of five before there was television
  4. Decide who will be interviewed. Student will have the choice of interviewing a living relative or a family member who can tell about a deceased relative.
  5. Research interviewee on Internet genealogy sites.
  6. Conduct the interview.
  7. Ask permission to include information found on the Internet for report. Report should focus on one major event that made a difference in the interviewee's life. Ex. Education, work, historical event, marriage. Be specific and detailed.
  8. After the interview, write and send a thank you note to interviewee.

Preparing the information

  1. Using Word Art, write relative's name.
  2. Write narrative or question-answer interview report using word processing program. Save to disk.
  3. Scan interviewee's photograph onto a disk. Paste image into report.
  4. Print the photograph and report.
  5. Using the atlas, draw and cut an outline of the state or country where interviewee was born. Mount printed name, area outline, and report on outlined poster board.
  6. Using markers and/or colored pencils, surround the printed report with drawings and symbols of objects that represent details from the event share by interviewee.
  7. Have a team member take and print a digital picture of the student.

Presenting the information

  1. Place all paper copies into binder with a title page.
  2. Save all digital documents and images on diskette labelled with student's name.

Presentation

Completed posters along with students' digital photograph will be hung in the classroom. Heritage Night will be hosted at the school. Students will give a short, oral narrative of their interview research to attending family members.

Assessment

Extension

Resources

Online

Offline

Downloading and Printing Files

These pages can be downloaded to your computer as files. Files can then be opened and printed. Choose from two file formats:

Microsoft document format opens the files in Microsoft Word. You can make changes in the pages before printing them.

Acrobat Reader or Portable Document Format (pdf) opens the files in Adobe Acrobat Reader. Pages cannot be edited in this format. However, .pdf files are less likely to be distorted. Pages that contain graphics or large images look better in .pdf and print very nicely. For your convenience, Acrobat Reader can be accessed from this page.

Microsoft Word (.doc)

Heritage Project: Family History-includes all materials and student pages.

Acrobat Reader (.pdf)

Heritage Project: Family History-includes all materials and student pages.

About Acrobat Reader

Files in the .pdf format can be read using Acrobat Reader. Acrobat Reader is a free software. You can download and install it by clicking on the link below.

GO TO: Acrobat Reader Download Page

New Mexico Content Standards