Different Cultures in Chicago's Neighborhoods: Chinese and Mexican Communities

byNadra Ruff

This unit is designed for 3rd grade, but could be adapted for grades 4th-8th. The school where the unit will be implemented is located in the Englewood Gresham area, one of Chicago Public Schools hardest communities. The unit emphasizes the Common Core standards of literature and informational text and addresses the social studies and language arts content areas. The main focus of the unit is to teach students about immigration, geographical location, and cultural diversity. These concepts are achieved within this unit by teaching the history, traditions, and commonalities and differences between the Chinese and Mexican American cultures in relation to their geographical settlement in Chicago’s neighborhoods that surround the students’ communities. The unit will use literature and informational text at different reading and comprehension levels, styles of print, and text features. The scope of this unit however, is not just to analyze the Chinese and Mexican cultures but to enhance student’s cultural awareness by building their background knowledge with pieces about the two cultures of study. By examining a historical sequence of events that took place for Chinese and Mexican immigrants, this unit will offer students an understanding of how members of a culture meld into communities while trying to maintain cultural identity and honor their ancestors.

(Developed for Language Arts and Social Studies, grade 3; recommended for Language Arts and Social Studies, grades 4-8)

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