My project proposal is to create a unit for a fourth grade classroom, aimed at increasing my students knowledge and awareness of Afro-Cuban religion. This unit will include lessons about history, geography, and writing / reading. All of these lessons included in the unit are to help my students understand another culture and religion, and become better global citizens.
The lessons about history are going to be done at the beginning of the unit to help students understand how Afro-Cuban religion came to be. We will discuss the slave trade and the conditions slaves faced. We will talk about why they were taken from their homes and brought to Cuba. Once we have laid the groundwork for understanding why people were brought to Cuba we can then talk about how they were able to stay true to their religious roots. Using music and masking some of their Orishas as Saints, to allow them to blend into their life as salves, but stay true to their roots.
While student are learning about the history, it is important to let students explore the geography that goes along with the history. Students will use tangible maps, as well as using Google Earth to understand where in the world these events happened. It will also open up conversation about how the placement of these events may or may not have had an influence. Understanding the geography surrounding this unit will allow the students to understand some of the context surrounding Afro-Cuban religion. Geography will open up a conversation about this different cultures and customs in those different geographical regions, and their influence over the history of Afro-Cuban religion.
The unit will also include times for students to practice their reading and writing skills. Our class will become pen pals with a class in Cuba and exchange letters. This activity will help students develop their writing skills but also get a first hand account of what life is like in Cuba. I think this is one of the best ways for the students to develop skills that will help them become responsible and tolerant global citizens. Throughout this unit students will be learning about Afro-Cuban culture and crafting their letters to their pen pals, which is leading up to a Skype call with the class of pen pals. This will really help students put a face to who they have been talking to during this unit. The class will prepare questions before the call to help facilitate the conversation, and ensure they are prepared.
Teaching my students to be informed and inclusive global citizens is one of the most important things I can teach them. This unit is designed to help 4th graders learn about Afro-Cubran religion, in an effort to teach them global citizenship. With our current political climate I think its imperative to teach students tolerance and inclusion of other cultures and religions. This unit will touch upon the immigration of people to the United States, and will help open up a current event lesson on immigration. During this lesson we can discussion the process of immigration, and we can also discuss how the current administration is handling immigration (building the wall & the Muslim ban). Having these tough conversation allows students to form their own opinions on what is right and wrong, and what it means to be a good global citizen.
Religion is the center of this unit which would normally cause issues in a public school. I decided to create a unit about religion because regardless of whether or not I would actually be able to implement it in my future classroom, I think it shows the merit of students learning about another religion. This unit is not designed to force religion on any student, it simply aims to help students learn about, and hopefully become more tolerant of another religion their customs.