Lights, Camera, Action! Reading Children's Literature through Film in the Spanish Classroom

bySobeyda Rivera


Diversity is a concept that eludes young children as they grow; they do not see it even though it is all around them. Young children live in their own worlds, trying to figure out their own identities, and fail to see how much rich culture is around them. However, as students go to school, their world begins to grow and they begin to see new cultures, traditions, and values that they may not have noticed before. At times this can be difficult for example, when there is no diversity in a school they do not experience differences; variety is needed for students to understand what the concept of diversity means in their own world. This is something that the students in my school often experience.

“Are you from China?” This is a common question my students ask me or ask when they see someone who looks different from them. A couple of years ago I taught Spanish in a second grade class. It was career day and we had many people in and out of the classroom sharing their experiences in their jobs and everyday lives. Then a young lady of Asian descent walked into the classroom. A student approached her and greeted her with a “Hola, cómo estás?” and she simply laughed. This is when I first realized that my students did not truly understand that just because people are light skinned and looked different from them did not mean they spoke Spanish. The student automatically assumed that the lady spoke Spanish because she looked different, but had no awareness that she had her own language and culture different from theirs and the Latino culture.

Understanding that there are different ethnic groups and different cultures is a very important thing for our students to learn. Many times students in my building have little or no awareness of the diversity that exists in today’s society. As a language educator, I think it is important to stress the importance of diversity. Not only is it important to teach the Spanish language such as in my case, but the rich history and culture that come with the language should also be taught. This not only allows students to embrace the language fully, but also allows them to understand how it can and does affect the world around them.


My second grade student’s need to experience and have a better understanding of what other cultures and ethnicities in our world consists of. Aside from just telling the students and trying to have them visualize different cultures, I think that having visuals through literature and film is a great way to present other cultures to students. Using film is a great tool for showing students other races as well as for giving them an understanding of family dynamics and other geographical areas with their different architectures. They get to make meaning and have their own interpretation of what a culture may consist of. The students need to be able to also relate what they understand from film and literature and apply it to their lives and own culture.

The community where my students come from is not very diverse, and because the population of the school comes from the same community, the school also is not very diverse. However, although only a few miles out you may see concentrations of other cultures, my students do not come across them often. My students are at a disadvantage because they are only exposed to their surroundings and this does not allow them to expand their knowledge of other ethnic groups. This school has the opportunity to receive a Spanish lesson once a week. Throughout the school year, the students learn about the Hispanic culture and its language. The materials that the students learn consist of colors, food, family members, unique holidays and landmarks. Most importantly, they get to experience the language and cultural traditions that I bring to the classroom to show them. I share my personal Latino culture with them. In this way the students have an opportunity to gain a better understanding of another culture and learn more about something that they are not exposed to in their neighborhoods. Although they have this opportunity, however, there is still a lack of further awareness of other cultures. They do not realize that not only their culture and the Hispanic culture exist, but know nothing about the many other cultures throughout the world. I want to enhance their spectrum of diversity by introducing them to the Chinese culture.

With these thoughts in mind a great film that would be ideal to introduce to my students would be Mulan. This film is an elementary level friendly video that outlines important qualities from the Chinese culture. Although it is a Disney animated film and has some additions to the original Chinese legend, it contains meaningful Chinese traditions. In Mulan we will see the importance of geographical location, family, monuments and cultural traditions. This movie will be a tool to help aid the students to be introduced into a new and different culture that they were not aware of. They will also be able to relate to the film and find it enjoyable.

The students will be able to relate this not only to the information that they learn in Spanish, but also to their own lives. In order to help the students truly understand the film, the student will need to learn more information about Chinese culture and traditions. I have had the opportunity to travel to China and have photographs from my trip that I can show my students. I am able to share my personal connection to my experience of the architecture and of interacting with the local people that I met during my trip.  I am also able to share my first hand experience when I came into contact with the architecture, such as touring through the temples, palaces and garden, as well as having seen and stepped on the Great Wall of China. The students will be able to see that they too could travel there and have the opportunity to see how China has changed over time. They will then be able to connect the China portrayed in the film to modern day China.  

One of the important things that needs to be mentioned first is the location of China on a map. We will locate ourselves on a map and then locate China. The students will develop better understandings of the distances between countries. By watching and discussing the movie Mulan they will be able to learn about similar and different cultures. They will learn about the different expectations of people and their positions in their family households. They will notice that the father is the head of the household and will compare this knowledge to what they know about the role of the father in Hispanic culture.

We will see in the opening scene of Mulan begin with one of the most important structures ever built anywhere in the world--the Great Wall of China. We know that today it is a tourist attraction, but in ancient times building the wall had a different purpose--to protect the country. Students are using the film and literature to interpret their understanding but also realize that it conveys a historical meaning. The film also demonstrates and emphasizes the gender roles within Mulan’s family and Chinese culture more generally. Family is an important concept we constantly speak of in my Spanish classes. The study of the Chinese family will challenge my students to think further about the gender roles in that culture and those homes, but also in their own culture.

Family is a very significant concept that we discuss and learn the value of-- always respecting them. Students learn the importance of family and what a traditional family setting looks like. We discuss the terminology in Spanish and English to ensure that the students have a full understanding of the words. This is an important topic because the students become aware of how the family structure looks similar no matter what race we are. The structure may vary but many times consist of a father, mother, sister and/or brother. It is essential for the students to have the realization that as in their home, in the Hispanic culture or Chinese culture there are norms and expectations for each family member.

When the students are watching this film it may be misleading that all the characters speak English. This is an important component to address, because the language is different and they need to understand that English is not the primary language in China but rather traditional Chinese or Mandarin. The students will first watch clips of Mulan in Mandarin before watching the film in English and Spanish. I want to expose my students to a different language that I am not familiar with, but want to show them that there are always new things to learn. I want my students to have an opportunity to experience a new language, a new culture and the beauty of the diversity in our world.


George Washington Carver Elementary School has preschool to fifth grade level students. It is located in the city of Richmond, Virginia, with a population of 500 students. Carver and most of Richmond City is heavily populated with African Americans. The overall student membership is 23,957 and 80% of that population is African American.1

The schools in the city of Richmond also have a dense population of African American children. According to the 2010 census there were 561 African American students that make up the population in the schools of Richmond City. There has also not been much change in the racial makeup of the population in the communities throughout the city. Many of our students at Carver Elementary come from Jackson Ward and Gilpin Court neighborhoods, which is at the heart of Richmond City. My school, George Washington Carver Elementary School, is located very close to Virginia Commonwealth University; we are very close to the campus and some of the surrounding housing is made up of college students. Many of the houses in front of our school consist of older people who do not have children. The only way that we would be able to have more of a diverse racial population would be by having an integration method and bringing over students from other areas of the city.

Most of the neighborhoods in Richmond City area are public housing projects, which were made from a dense population of low socioeconomic families that are in the area. Therefore, most of the students at Carver Elementary come from low socioeconomic home environments and from the public housing project, such as Gilpin Court. Many of these students come to school not ready to learn because their basic needs have not been met before coming to school. This hinders the students from being active learners, which creates a challenging task for the students to get homework done and find after school assistance at home. Most of our students are on free lunch services and participate in a backpack program, which provides the students with food items for the weekend.

Even with those struggles students are expected to go to school, meet state standards and pass standardized tests. In our schools the students have a full day of reading, math, science, and social science. The students also receive daily forty-five minutes of an extracurricular activity throughout the week, which includes art, music, library, computer or physical education. I am the Spanish teacher and teach them forty-five minutes of Spanish once a week. Coming in to teach them Spanish can be challenging at times because of the high learning demand and academic goals that need to be met. The best instructional method for these students has to be attention grabbing and interactive. It is also important to incorporate hand-on activities and involve technology tools for the students to be able to explore and solve problems. They have a better understanding of the concepts with visual aids and a demonstration of what they are learning. Teaching this population of students can be very challenging but very rewarding.


In this unit I want to increase the cultural awareness of students. The students are currently limited to their own culture and the Latino culture that they have been exposed to so far. They will be able to compare them to their own experiences and the cultural values they have learned during their Spanish instruction. They will use this prior experience and knowledge to relate to Chinese culture through the film Mulan.

One of the aspects that will be covered will be the importance of family and the roles of family members. Family is a universal word that identifies an immediate group of people that are related to us either by blood or union. In a literal sense family is usually made up of a mother, father, sisters and/or brothers. Then there is the extended family, which consist of uncles, aunts, cousins, grandparents, nephews and nieces. Families also consist of those loved ones we grow up with, take care of us and show us how to be good citizens in life. All these individuals take part in our lives, help form who we are, and teach us about our cultural background, language and family history. This concept of family is one that is known regardless of our race, culture and ethnicity. The idea of the family allows us to learn and continue to understand the concept of self-identity. This is what makes us who we are and how our thinking is developed. We learn from the ones around us and grow up with what our environment teaches us. We learn to recognize our social concepts and how we are different and alike to others. This is a principle that is often understood naturally by younger children, but awareness increases as we explore the world and get exposed to our surroundings and interact with academics.  

Understanding the dynamics of a family is very important to my students. In the film Mulan we see the value and importance of family in the Chinese culture. We quickly notice that this film has a traditional family setup and home where there are rules and structures like many homes today. It is important to emphasize that Mulan comes from a nice family, with a father, mother and grandmother. Her father is the head of the family and wants best for his family and he fulfills his duty of head of the family. There is also the mother who attends to the family and her husband. She is there to guide and set an example for Mulan so as to be able to raise her to the standards of what is expected of her as a young lady. The mother is the primary caregiver of Mulan and her parents are there to console her when it does not go well with the matchmaker. Another important figure in this family is the grandmother. She is there as the elder to give guidance and support to Mulan and her parents during the different obstacles faced throughout the film. She also hopes that Mulan will live up to family expectations. These are the important family members that the students would need to have an understanding about in order to guide them to relating to their own homes. They would be comparing this family structure to see whether it follows the family dynamics discussed in a typical Hispanic home. Just as in their lives there are exceptions and a family may not have a father or mother figure, which is the case for some of my students, but we discuss the importance of remembering these figures. The students will realize that overall families are all different but at the same time very similar.

The film introduces Mulan as a daughter who has a dog taking care of her chores and on that day will have to meet with the matchmaker to find a potential husband and uphold the family honor. She is reciting the important qualities it will take to be an ideal wife,--being quite, demure, graceful, polite, delicate, refined, poised and punctual. These qualities are very similar to the expectations in many cultures. Women are often perceived as having to be very gentle and attentive to the home and children. These are norms that to this day continue to be practiced in many cultures. Women and girls are meant to be in the home cooking and taking of house chores. Today those norms are still expected for a woman to uphold, but many times also have to be out in the workforce. Mulan has a reached an age where she is now expected to begin to find a good husband and form her own family. She is expected to have all these qualities in order to be the good fit that society expects. In the film it is evident that Mulan comes from a good home environment. She lives with both her parents and grandmother in a nice home. You see that her house is very spacious, has a large yard and a temple for worship of her ancestors. There is also a stable for the horses and chickens and a nice pond. The family seems to live well and keep to the normal family dynamics.

A father in any home is a very important figure. He is a role model and is one of the caregivers of the children. Many times the mother is the primary caregiver but there are those families where the father is the single father. In Mulan, Fa Zhou is Mulan’s father and head of the household. He is older and uses a cane to walk. At the beginning of the film he is praying to the ancestors that his daughter will be able to impress the matchmaker and find a good man. When she returns from town with her mother and grandmother he can tell there is great disappointment. Although he was hoping for a different outcome he shows compassion for his daughter. He sits with her and gently compares her to a late blossom and tells her that when it blooms it will be the most beautiful of them all2. It goes to show that although Mulan has not been able to meet the families expectations, her father is understanding and hopeful that eventually she will be able to live up to what is expected from her. As the only male of the family and war veteran he is called to go fight for his country despite his health conditions. Although he gives his cane to his wife when accepting the mandate to go out to fight, you know that he is not well enough for war because when he goes to lift the sword he soon drops it and seems to suffer pain. He is the leader of the family and tells Mulan that she must know her place just like he knows he knows his. He has set his tone in the family and is respected when speaking. The role of the father in Chinese culture can be compared to the role of males in the American and Hispanic culture.

The father, just like mother, plays a very important role in the life of a child. The mother is usually the primary caregiver and raises the children at home. The mother is the one that looks after the children and ensures that they are fed, dressed and taught to be well mannered. The mother, Fa Li, plays a very important role at the beginning of the film. She is waiting for Mulan to arrive to get her ready for the matchmaker. She is upset that Mulan is running late and arrives with hay in her hair and looking a mess. Meanwhile the grandmother is also there to provide support to Mulan and provides her with a lucky cricket. We see that the grandmother is more comical, but still instills the female duties that Mulan must live up to. Both these characters are demonstrating the importance of their role in the family. They both then wait, as Mulan is showered, dressed, getting her hair done and makeup ready. During this clip in the film we see the bright colors and importance of her traditional clothing. Her makeup is very beautiful and makes her look like a delicate porcelain doll. Her mother seems to worry about Mulan in the film but is there with the grandmother prepping her and adding final details. You see that her family is at all times praying and hoping that Mulan does her best and will be able to impress the matchmaker.

Mulan has a mind of her own and wants to follow her heart but also make her family proud. In the film we see that she is the only daughter and is trying to uphold the honor of her family but also trying to have a mind of her own. We notice Mulan is very attentive to her father and wants to keep up the family honor. When the dressers are doing Mulan's hair, they speak of how boys will want to go to war for her, but her face is displeased when they say so. Through the process of getting ready she is focused on all her surroundings, wants to be independent, but also wants and hopes to be able to live up to the standards expected of her. As the daughter she feels pressure to keep her father standing tall but later she goes against her father and follows her heart to protect her father. Although she knows she will cause disappointment to her family, she decides that she is going against the norms. She is risking her life and also the honor of her family. In today’s society this concept is important to touch on because although we see similar norms about what a female should do, it has become more acceptable for women to work and take on other roles.

In order to help students have a more dynamic view on how similar and different culture can be, the students need to compare and contrast this new culture that they are looking at to the American and Latino cultures that they have already been exposed to. This will help the students be able to relate to the new culture on a personal level and make connections that they may not have noticed before. Therefore, the students will need to be exposed to more Latino concepts that may not have been covered, so that the students can have more knowledge of how to properly see how similar or different they truly are from people that come from different Latin countries or China.

In Latino culture family is very important and the most traditional component of this culture kept to this day. “In Latin America, the family is the center of everything and it still maintains a strength and unity not found in many other countries.”3 As people immigrate to the United States the one part of the Latino culture that stays intact is the fact that family is not only an important aspect of the Latino culture but also the core of it. With this in mind one must look at the different roles that are put into play in families and how they change or differ when looking at that same role but in another culture. Typically Latino families tend to be large and very united, from parents to children to grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, mother- and father–in-laws. However, each family member plays an important part and role that is respected by traditions and customs of the Latino culture.

In the household the head of the family is usually a male many times he is the father. The father “is still the patriarchal figure”4 the one that speaks and uphold the name for the family and makes final decisions. In the Latino culture the overbearing and dominant behavior that the male, or father exhibits is often known as “machismo”. He is well respected, holds dominant roles in society and home life, and expected to keep the family safe. Traditionally, he is the one who brings income into the family, goes out to work to ensure that all the necessities are brought into the home and has power over all economical aspects of the family. The male of the home or the father is the face of the family and even to this day that is a tradition that is still strongly held by the Latino culture. However, as time passes traditions have been put aside to fit into a new generation where family structures have changed.

Just like the father plays an important role the mother also has her own part to play in the family dynamic. “A common saying in Spanish is ‘El hombre en la plaza y la mujer en la casa.’”5 This saying basically demonstrates that even though the men of the family are the leaders and hold all the power in the family; the women are in charge of everything else in order to make sure that the family functions properly. Traditionally, the role of the mother is to maintain the home and to bear and raise the children. The mother is usually described as “hembrismo”6 which means that she needs to be patient and dedicated to her husband and children. However, as times have changed so have the role of the women in the family. In the new generation that has come there have been more female heads of households which has caused women to not only take on the role of the mother but also the father. Today women have jobs in order to be able to provide additional income for the family. They also have more liberty. Despite these new traditions, there is always pressure on the female to someday marry and take care of the home needs.

The mother and father have larger roles in the family that dictate how the family dynamic will function socially and economically. The children in the household also have a role that they play in the family. Although the role of children may seem insignificant, it in facts also holds power over the future of their family. The children in the household are expected to follow in the footsteps of their mothers and/or fathers. If the father has a trade the sons are expected to learn and master that trade to one day take over for the father. The sons are also respected as the males in the home and learn how to take care of the family. As the son grows he takes more roles of the father but is to never overstep his boundaries. The daughters in the family on the other hand are expected to help and learn from the mother. The girls in the family learn skills necessary to take care of a family such as cleaning and cooking. The girls also go through a coming of age ceremony when they are presented to society as women ready for marriage. This ceremony is called a quinceañera. The children are taught at a very young age about these values and what is expected from them. However, “due to industrialization of the economy the family is changing and families moving to the city the nuclear family is affected.”7

Although Chinese and Latino culture come from different parts of the world they have many similarities. In the Chinese culture one can see “‘how important honor, the family unit, and the reverence involved with people knowing their place in that structure it is.”8 Each person in the family not only holds a specific position in the family but also has responsibility they must adhere to for their role in the family.  The men have always had the dominant role in the household and society. Especially in ancient China, each gender followed strictly their role in the family. The father would be the head of the household and would be required to work and go to war.  It was their honor to protect their country and family. Just like in the Latino culture the men were the face of the family and provide for their family by making decisions and speaking for the family.

The women in the Chinese family also had their own position and responsibilities that they were required to live by. “For centuries, Chinese women who sought to control their own lives and destinies were forced to make harsh and often fatal choices.”9 The mother in the family was at home and raising the children. The daughters had to go matchmakers and would have arranged marriages. They would have to live up to the expectations of what women should be and how they should be an honor to their family. These were traditional values that were kept throughout generations, but as the years have passed there has been some western influence and some changes to these traditions. Just as in the Latino culture these are traditional values that are still acknowledged and that hope to be passed down through generations. In both cultures the older family members continue to have their influence on the family and keep to many traditions.

During Spanish instruction the students not only cover culture, traditions and geography, but also learn new vocabulary and look at architecture. In this film we see some of the same structural terms we discuss in my class. During the film the students will see different types of architectural structures. Some of the main ones they will see are a house, temple, school, palace, stores and a camping ground (which can also be considered a school). The students will be able to compare these structures to the ones that they see in their everyday lives. They will also be able to compare English and Spanish vocabulary. For example, the family lives in a house that in Spanish we call casa. The house is a place where the family lives and in this film is where we first see Mulan and her father. The students will have a chance to see the house and compare and contrast how that house is different or similar to their home. The students will also be able to compare this to the other structures that they see in the film. Another important architectural structure that is seen is the Great Wall of China. The students will learn why the Great Wall of China is so important and how it has changed from what it is known as today, one of the great wonders of the world. In the opening scene of Mulan we see The Great Wall of China and how it is used in ancient times as a zone of protection.

Then it is important to continue to expand the students’ knowledge of geography. Therefore, another aspect that will be focused on will be geography.  Many times my students do not grasp the concept of geography and how big the world really is. They live within the community and do not know very much outside their neighborhood. To them their current location is where home is. Students start by understanding that they live in the city of Richmond. After explaining that Richmond is the capital of the state we live in, explaining that Virginia is only one of the fifty states in our country of the United States is the next step. Once students have understood and realize how big our country is we can continue to explain that the United States is in the continent of North America. I will show the students where we are on the map in comparison to where Latin American countries are. They are able to use these references to point to where China is located in world in comparison to us. It will be evident that China is on the other side of the world. This will give them a better perspective on the world.

The story in the film Mulan takes place in China. In the film the students will see what China looked like during feudal times. It is important that the students make the connection that this film takes place in the past and that therefore the country looks different today than it did during that time period. One way to help with this process would be to use photography. By using pictures the students will not only have visuals of China but they will also be able to relate it to their own city.

Since the students will be able to locate China on a map along with the United States, they also will need to understand that both the United States and China are countries made up of different regions that consist of both cities and countryside. It would then be beneficial to show students photographs and have them compare and contrast those photographs to see how China and the United States have changed over time and how they differ from one another. China is the third largest country in Southeast Asia. “China is bounded to the east and south by the Pacific Ocean, to the southwest and west by the massive Himalaya and Pamir mountain ranges, and to the north by the steppe lands and the desolate terrains of Siberia.”10

The students will enrich their knowledge of the traditions and some of the important values in a Chinese family. By means of this film they will be able to see the family dynamics, cultural pressures on Mulan and the bravery of her acts to protect her family. They will also have a better understanding of the language and the geographical location of China. They will be analyzing the film and making interpretations and then discussing their thinking with each other. The students will use the film and literature, to not only compare to the Chinese to the Hispanic culture, but also to their own.

Essential Questions

  1. Why is culture important?
  2. Who is in your family?
  3. Where are we and where is China on a map?
  4. How can we relate to Mulan’s family?
  5. What are some of important works of architecture that we know?


Making meaning through pictures, maps and web chart

One of the activities that the students will perform will be identifying the location of the United States, Latin American countries and China. The students will be using maps and a globe in order to find the countries and visually see how far the countries are. They need to be able to find these locations and grasp the distances and how people are from all around the world.

Another activity the students will engage in is to look at the photographs I took when I traveled to students will be comparing and contrasting the photographs to be able to understand how time has changed Chinese culture and architecture. The web chart will be a visual organizational tool to sort the different information that the students gather on culture, architecture, family structure and traditional wardrobe. The students will be creating the web individually and demonstrating their skills for being able to identify what categories the items go in.  

Understanding Cultural Differences

The students will gain a deeper understanding that outside of their own culture there are a lot of other cultures. The students will first need to identify their own culture that is around them that helps define them. They will then look at what they have learned during Spanish instruction about Latino culture. Using the information that they know on the American and Latino culture and now are able to explore the Chinese culture.

Many times they have made the assumption that I came from China and just have no knowledge of the differences between cultures. My activities will also help students look into their own cultural background. They will have the opportunity to explore their heritage inheritance and truly understand the rich culture that is within them.  

Film Elements

The students will watch the film and analyze the setting, characters, traditional wear and family dynamics. They will be able to identify the significant parts of the film that not only tell the story but how the film is able to give them a glimpse into a new world and a time period that is different from their own. They will understand that this is a Disney film but that it is based on a true story. They will use this awareness of the film components to use when they are writing their own legend and thinking of what they want to create. This will give the students the experience of creating a story that has culture and is personal to them. They will then be creating their own costumes, props and characters. The students will then perform their legend to the class and bring it to life while they are being recorded.

Classroom Activities

These activities are designed to give students a deeper understanding of other cultures around them and to show the similarities and differences in family dynamics.

Some of the activities will be whole group and lead to discussions about the legend and the film. The students will see and hear film clips in different languages, such as English, Spanish and Mandarin.  The clips will also show the importance of architecture during that time in China and the traditional wear and gender roles. The students will be creating a web chart on the film that will give them guidance to writing their own the legend. The students will then work on different film elements to be able to act and produce a film presented to their classmates.

Classroom Activity 1

In the first activity we will be discovering more on China. They students will first be looking at map and we will be identifying our location and Latin American countries. The students will then locate China and get a geographical sense of where we are and where China is. I will have the students compare their findings on a map to a globe. The students will see that North America and Asia are only separated by one ocean. I will then share that I flew to China and visited multiple cities of China. I will also share photos that I took during my visit to China. The photographs consist of monuments, temples, foods, the city and The Great Wall of China. I also had an opportunity to have dinner and interact with a local family. It was a very unique experience for myself and one that my students will be able to see. This will help give my students a visual of how China has changed throughout the years.

Classroom Activity 2

Once we have located China and the students have an understanding that it has a different culture and language. I will then begin to focus on the language aspect so that the student become aware that their are many different languages spoken around the world. We know English and we are learning Spanish but China also has their own set of languages. The most popular spoken language in China is Mandarin. I will introduce this language to my students by having them watch a clip from Mulan in Mandarin. They will hear the difference and look at film clues to understand what is happening during the scene. Clips can be found on YouTube and the ones that I will be using will be in the resources section. Once we have watched the clips in Mandarin I will show them the same film clip in Spanish. The goal here is for the students to have a better understanding of the diversity around us.  

We will then begin discussing who is in our family. I will first share who is in my family with pictures and using vocabulary terms that they need to know. The students will then turn and talk to another student to share who is in their family. Then I will show them a clip from Mulan where you see the family gathered at dinner.  The students will then illustrate their family in their home. The students are comparing in order to see the similarities and differences in the family structure and gatherings.

Classroom Activity 3

The students will be watching the beginning of the film from the introduction of the Great Wall until the Mulan goes off to the training camp in the middle of the night on a horse to fight in her fathers’ place. We will then discuss important components of the film and create a web chart; such as, architecture, characters, setting and traditional wardrobe. This web chart will help the students have a better understanding of the components of the film.

Classroom Activity 4

After the students watch the film of Mulan and have created the web I will then have the students listen to the Ballad of Mulan and see the connection between the literature and film. Based on this ballad and the web chart components they will work in small groups to create a Spanish legend with their prior knowledge of the Latino culture. I will guide the students with important elements to an exciting classroom film production. They will then work on costumes, props and scenery item to be filmed and then presented to the whole class.


Falcon, Rafael, and Christine Yoder Falcon. Salsa A Taste of Hispanic Culture. Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 1998.

Mulan. Madacy Entertainment Group, 1998. DVD.

"RPS Overview." About RPS. (accessed July 11, 2015).

Ward, Annalee R. Mouse Morality The Rhetoric of Disney Animated Film. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 2002.

Wright, David Curtis. The History of China. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2001.

Student Resources

Disney, Walt. Mulan. CA: Walt Disney, 1998.

Mulan. Madacy Entertainment Group, 1998. DVD.

Zhang, Song Nan. The Ballad of Mulan / La Balada De Mulán. Union City, CA: Pan Asian Publications, 1998.

This is the Mandarin translation of the Mulan film clips that will be shown.

This link is for the Virginia Standards of Learning for second grade History and Social Science.

Appendix A: Implementing District Standards

Commonwealth of Virginia

This curriculum unit will be targeted to second grade and aligned with the Virginia Standards of Learning 2.1 on the topic of ancient China. We will be exploring the importance of film but also using vocabulary terms in Spanish. Our key focus points will be family, culture, geography and important architecture.


  1. "RPS Overview." About RPS. (accessed July 11, 2015).
  2. Ward, 101.
  3. Braidootti, 321.
  4. Braidootti, 324.
  5. Braidootii, 328.
  6. Braidootii, 329.
  7. Falcon and Falcon, 43.
  8. Kurtti, 65.
  9. Kurtti, 17.
  10. David, 1.

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