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School Stories

Grade 2: Weaving Together Spanish, Art, Culture and Activism

When she was a teenager, Rigoberta Menchú Tum became an activist in social reform in her native Guatemala. Spanish Teacher Christi James recounts her story to Grade 2 students, telling them how Rigoberta suffered many hardships
fighting for what she believed in and how she grew up to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992. She is a symbol of perseverance, grit and leadership, and an agent of change, another role model like others they are discovering in preparation for the Biography Expo.

“Rigoberta grew up in the Mayan tradition,” said Señora James. “We use her story as part of a broad lesson about Guatemala, its history and its people.”
 
Second graders also learn that Rigoberta loved to weave, which created an opportunity for Señora James to team up with Art Teacher Cathy Naughton for an interdisciplinary project. Having lived and worked in Guatemala in the summer of 2012 as part of Graland’s summer sabbatical program for faculty, Señora James brought in her collection of woven materials and tortilla cloths to share with students for inspiration. They called out their favorite colors in Spanish as they selected hues for their looms. Ms. Naughton stepped in to oversee the art project and teach them how to weave.
 
The looms are now on hiatus for six weeks until Ms. Naughton and Señora James return to their second-grade rotation.
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Graland Country Day School

Graland Country Day School is a private school in Denver, Colorado, serving students in preschool, kindergarten, elementary, and middle school. Founded in Denver in 1924, Graland incorporates a rich, experiential learning approach in a traditional classroom setting, emphasizing the development of globally and socially conscious leaders who excel academically.