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Teaching Hoosier Latinos

December 20, 2022

In 2016 the Indiana Historical Society launched a collecting initiative to collect, preserve, and share the stories of Hoosier Latinos. This vital work led to the 2018 exhibition, Be Heard: Latino Experiences in Indiana. From there a traveling exhibit, virtual exhibit, book, and lesson plans were formed. Of course, this work is ongoing, and the IHS will continue to weave Latino history into the historical narrative of Indiana as the collections continue to grow.

As an educator, I am most excited about three components of this project that can be accessed worldwide – the virtual exhibit, Hoosier Latinos: A Century of Struggle, Service, and Success book, and the newest addition to this powerhouse of resources – 8 lesson plans that bridge the book and online exhibit to enhance engagement and learning.

Each lesson plan includes a compelling question to set the stage and guide inquiry, a lesson overview for educators, a materials list, step-by-step procedures, and supplementary materials, such as graphic organizers or additional information that may be helpful in completing the lesson. All lessons connect to multiple state standards for Indiana Studies and Ethnic Studies.

Apart from the incredible images, one of my favorite pieces of the book is the oral histories (or recorded firsthand accounts). Reading them gives a glimpse into history but listening to them in the online exhibit brings them to life. All of this ties beautifully with the active classroom learning in the lessons.

These lesson plans were written by IU doctoral student, Mariah Pol. Her research centers on the inclusion of multiple perspectives with curriculum design in social studies education. Shew has received the 2019 Indiana History Teacher of the Year through the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, the 2020 Caleb Mills Indiana History Teacher of the Year from IHS, among several other awards, grants, and fellowships as a 7th and 8th-grade social studies teacher.

For more information on teaching Immigration and Ethnic heritage visit Immigration and Ethnic Heritage.

Beth Brandon is the Manager of Education at IHS. She is a children’s book enthusiast, preservation lover, and Indianapolis’ biggest fan.

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