"They Want to Erase That Past": Examining Race and Afro-Latin@ Identity with Bilingual Third Graders

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The authors describe a month-long unit on Afro-Latin@ identity in which third grade students began with a discussion of complex questions with which many historians, anthropologists, and scholars struggle to make sense. The goal of this month-long unit was to have students adopt the lens of cultural anthropologists as they explored the historical and contemporary nuances surrounding Afro-Latin@ identity. The authors designed and implemented an integrated Afro-Latin@ curriculum unit for third grade bilingual students that culminated with an understanding of Afro-Latin@'s significance in the formation of Latin America's multiracial identity, politics, economics, and social life. In this article, they detail several aspects of this unit that provide pedagogical and curricular insight for discussing global nuances of race and systemic racism with elementary students. They also highlight an integrated approach to teaching Afro- Latin@ identity using social studies, reading, math and art.

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Social Studies and the Young Learner