Culture, Community, and the Classroom: Unlocking Inquiry through Mexican Traditions

Folk and traditional arts are a natural fit for the social studies classroom. They easily facilitate learning and conversations about diverse communities, both local and global. This residency demonstrates how music and social studies can dovetail. It also models how multiple subject areas–music, English Language Arts, and social studies– came together in a single artist residency. The tools of folklore–close listening, observation, interviewing–deepened student preparation for the residency and their engagement with the artists.
World map or globe; Pictures, video, and/or visuals related to the State of Veracruz, Mexico; Story books or printed stories about Veracruz; Performance space; PA system and lighting; Gathering space in the classroom for sitting in a round; Artist-provided Cajon (wooden box), and other indigenous instruments; Other percussion instruments from music classroom; Sketching paper with pencils; Hand drums for each student; Sharpies, brushes, and acrylic paints; Paper plates as palettes; Rinse water and paper towels; Chromebooks or paper and pencils for writing

A Culture, Community, and the Classroom Lesson by teacher James Longbotham and artists Maria Puentes Flores and Mateo Cano of Pulso de Baro.

This CCC project was supported in part by the New York State Council on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and Individual Donors to Local Learning.

TITLE: Unlocking Inquiry in the Social Studies Classroom through Mexican Traditions

AUTHOR AND TEACHER: James Longbotham

James Longbotham is a third grade teacher at Lenape Elementary School in New Paltz, NY.

ARTIST COLLABORATOR: Pulso de Barro– Maria Puentes Flores and Mateo Cano

LENGTH: Five one-hour class sessions and one grade-level assembly

Find the complete lesson plans in the sidebar under “Downloads.”


NYS Next Gen ELA Standards 2017

3W4: Create a response to a text, author, theme, or personal experience (e.g., poem, play, story, artwork, or other).

NYS Next Gen Social Studies Standards 2016

3.2 The location of world communities can be described using geographic tools and vocabulary.

3.4 Each community or culture has a unique history, including heroic figures, traditions, and holidays.

3.5 Communities share cultural similarities and differences across the world.

3.6 Communities from around the world interact with other people and communities and exchange cultural ideas and practices.