by Anne Karakash, Southeast Raleigh Magnet High School
Students delve into Hispanic legend and folklore by researching La Llorona and El Chupacabra. They work in pairs to write articles, share their findings with one another, and reflect on their learning.
This project is intended to get kids interested in the topic of Hispanic folklore, to give them practice with research methods and writing, and to get them working together in pairs.
I chose the topic of legendary creatures because it is one that has perennial appeal to teens and it is one that is not generally covered in textbooks. My students are usually quite interested in this topic and tell me later that they had a good time researching it.
The project is especially well-suited to late October in the USA, since that is the time of year that people are already talking about legendary creatures, swapping ghost stories, and trying to scare one another. This also gives the students ample opportunity to reflect on their own culture's perspectives on legendary creatures and folklore.
When your students have finished, they will have worked together successfully in pairs, will have researched two creatures and decided which one appeals most to them, they will have written articles, and will have written a personal reflection. They will then get together to put their work into a binder or a portfolio to turn it in.
I do not recommend this project for students who are younger than high school age, because it might be frightening to them. Ultimately you will have to use your best judgement as to what will be considered acceptable in your school and your community, but keep in mind that some people might find this topic unacceptable so you might need to consider an alternative assignment just in case.