Sometimes lighthearted, other times heartfelt, the stories students in the Heritage Spanish classes have been presenting about their ancestors have inspired all. Everyday a new student presents to the class an artifact and a story about an ancestor of theirs, many of whom have strong links to Puerto Rico, México, or other countries of origin like Guatemala, Columbia, Honduras, and the Dominican Republic.
One student shared how her grandfather proposed to her grandmother in the middle of a plaza in Michoacán while friends and family jumped out from behind the bushes in celebration, all the while showing us a picture of the acclaimed plaza. Another shared the story of her great-grandfather who lived to 105 and spent much of his life working on a finca in the mountains of Puerto Rico. A few students shared heirlooms passed down from generation to generation, like a watch, a hair clip, a jewelry box, and a hair pick. One shared how his great-grandfather recalled the plane crash of the great Roberto Clemente in Nicaragua in 1973.
One artifact that stood out is a keepsake from Guatemala shown in the picture here. This crafty keepsake depicts, in miniature form, the tools used to collect corn, pound masa, and roll out tortillas. Students asked questions, made connections, and shared their knowledge about the culture surrounding this traditional way of making tortillas in Guatemala – discussing, of course, in Spanish.
As students are challenged to interact with each other in Spanish with greater degrees of focus and sustained language use, these presentations have helped them feel a sense of confidence in their Spanish speaking abilities; a sense of pride in their family and their roots; and a sense of appreciation for the following IB learner profile attributes: 1) taking risks, 2) being open-minded, and 3) caring for others.