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Love Fourth-Graders Learn About Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month: Students in Tracey Eliason’s fourth grade class pose with items they’ve learned about during Hispanic Heritage Month.

Fourth graders in Tracey Eliason’s class have spent much of the first month of school learning about Hispanic Heritage Month through a research project and class-created book.

“We started doing these projects last year,” said Eliason, who looped with her class after teaching them in third grade. “Last year, we started an African American Month and Women’s History Month project and briefly spoke about and recognized Hispanic Heritage Month, but never did a meaningful project or created a book. We decided to change that this year.”

Eliason’s class is diverse, including a refugee from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. But, with a large percentage of her students having a Hispanic background, a research project about the culture has proved fitting.

“The students have learned a lot about their own cultures,” she said. “In math, we’ve looked at the conversion of money in these countries compared to the American dollar and how much they would be able to spend. They also have looked at the social studies aspect of learning about continents, islands and landlocked countries and have gained an appreciation of how all Spanish-speaking cultures have different practices, while speaking the same language — give or take a few words.”

Students also had the chance to hear from classroom “grandma” Karen Carlson, who lived in Peru for 30 years.

“Grandma Carlson is originally from Jamestown and attended school here,” she said. “She is amazing and of so much help to our Spanish-dominant students because she taught in Peru and is bilingual.”

Most of all, Eliason feels that teaching her students about different cultures is important.

“Hispanic Heritage Month is a national celebration each year,” she said. “The students have loved being able to work together on commemorating it in our class.”

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