Years ago, when I didn’t know many things (not that I’m all knowing now, but still), I hated corridos. I thought they were such a waste of music. I scoffed at the guys who wore tight wrangles, funky colored vaquero shirts, and sometime icky colored botas de armadillo or vibora.

After some university hours, I realized that corridos were actually very important to my history. I became acquainted with El Corrido de Gregorio Cortez, El Lavaplatos, and El Corridos de Joaquin Murrieta. I even felt knowledgeable enough to write a paper about it in one of my American Literature courses.

I felt ashamed that it took me so long to understand something so important to my culture. Although I grew up in a place where the majority of the population was Latino, Mexican really, I never really learned about my culture. Sure my family had many traditions, but I thought that’s what all families did. Sure, our traditions weren’t like those on Growing Pains, Family Ties, Full House, and they sure weren’t like what they did on Rosa Salvaje, En Familia con Chavelo, or Chespirito; but they were what we did and what a lot of the people that I knew did. Our traditions were a hybrid of a lot of things. I didn’t learn their importance until much later.

Now that I have the power to manipulate young minds, I like to teach them about these traditions and their culture. It can be a lot of work writing up new lesson plans, finding age appropriate materials, and sometimes getting everyone else on board so that all 6th grade students get the same opportunity.

This is why as part of their poetry unit; my students are analyzing and writing corridos. At first, when they heard the songs, there was a lot of snickering and giggles, but when it came time to work, they got down to it. After listening to El Corrido de Gregorio Cortez, one of my more verbal students exclaimed, “It’s like a story!” I had explained that when we talked about the basic form, but it was good to know that he had seen it for himself and hopefully internalized it. Amazingly, the class who never turns in their work until I make them come in after school actually has 90% of their corridos turned in.


jip said...

i really wanna use that lesson plan some day. where did you get the recordings? and what texts did you use? lemme know. i wanna do the lesson with my Writers in the Schools kids.

thanks... maybe you could post the lesson plan.

Annette said...

I could definitely relate to this post. I think it's great that you're teaching your students about their culture.

Cracked Chancla said...

lol. i like corridos too. i got the lesson way later tho, when a college professor lectured on it.