Many Mexican American students who come to the United States quickly lose the historical knowledge needed to build a strong self-identity. Those who were born on this side of the “tortilla curtain” have few, if any opportunities to learn about the history of their parent’s country of origin. Their chances to learn and reconnect with their history will often times be reduced to taco shop murals and Cinco de Mayo celebrations.
Luckily, the Mexican government released a web portal last year full of engaging educational material relating to the Mexican War of Independence and the Mexican Revolution, both of which were celebrated in a bicentennial and a “one-centennial,” respectively.
Niños 2010, as the site is titled, features “audiolibros” (audiobooks), animations, interactive games and activities and printable material. The age group is elementary, but much of the material could also apply in the middle school setting, especially if students are struggling to maintain their Spanish.
Historically speaking, the purpose of the site is clearly to help kids develop a strong sense of civic pride as well as to integrate them into a national narrative that, at times seems too simplistic and hero-worshiping, but that can nevertheless serve as a starting point for deeper discussions, should you wish to take it that far.
Try it out and leave a comment if you have success using this in your class.
The best feature I found are the audio-books, which offer printable text to accompany an instructional read aloud in Spanish class. Comprehension questions and vocabulary is not included, however.
For a more grown-up site, look at : http://www.bicentenario.gob.mx/index.php
This bicentennial site has similar content as the kids site, but also has everything from flyovers that take you to important historical sites to historical newspapers digitized for 21st century eyes. It’s quite probably the largest and most impressive effort to date to officially present Mexican history on the web.
Mexico 2010 also exists for the English-speaking world. It is available here: english.bicentenario. gob.mex
It is a great resource for any student working on a biography, or a Social Studies project. You will even find materials you can use in biology and music.
On the downside, much of the content requires Flash, so no leave your iOS devices by the door.
I’ll end this post on this note so I can return to peruse its content some more!