Whether or not they relate to my selected short stories, I want to participate in an empanada-making lesson and learn a traditional Costa Rican dance while I am on my trip. I also want to interview locals about what they value most and purchase authentic, locally-made items of importance. My goal will always be to push myself to travel through the country as much through the eyes of a native Costa Rican as possible, rather than only as a tourist.
I am a 7th and 8th grade inclusion teacher in a reading/writing for English language learners classroom, and the first unit we embark upon with our students each year centers on the theme of Identity. Our unit focuses on revealing aspects of our own identities and determining how they shape us as we grow, and pairing that process with an investigation of how authors use characterization to reveal the identity of his or her characters. When I travel to Costa Rica, I plan to take photos, videos, and collect artifacts through the lens of investigating different aspects of Costa Rican identity. I plan to teach a series of Costa Rican short stories to kick off our Identity unit, and I will incorporate videos, photos, and artifacts into each lesson as ways of bringing Costa Rican identity to life for my students. Students will then make connections between the evidence I bring from Costa Rica and the stories they read as we work to develop their characterization analysis skills.
Preparation During Travel
Prior to my departure, I plan to read a wide range of Costa Rican short stories and other literature. Ultimately, I'd like to select 5 stories that encompass a wide range of voices and experiences from Costa Rica. I will use my 5 selected stories to guide my collection of artifacts and photos on my journey to this country in order to make each story come alive for my students.