Searching for Cesar Chavez

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Cesar Chavez Day Prompts Searches - We're Working to Provide Good Results! 

by Craig Wiesner

Each year, starting in late February, we start to see lots of folks searching for Cesar Chavez information and tools for putting together high quality service learning. We're glad you found us and we'll make this page worth your while!

In the last few years, we've interviewed teachers across the country, learning how they hunt for resources for pulling together innovative lesson plans, or as some like to say, thinking outside the textbook. We hope that more and more they'll find their way to Reach And Teach to both find great stuff and to share great stuff!


Before We Go Too Far

If you came to this page because you were hunting for some lesson plans or ideas for Hispanic Heritage Month or to celebrate Cesar Chavez day (with service learning projects), I'll save you a lot of time and just point you to these great resources. Just click on the links below to jump in and I think that after a short while you will have all you need to plan your lessons.



Reach And Teach Products Featuring Cesar Chavez 

Side by SideCheck out Side by Side (Lado A Lado), the story of Cesar Chavez and Delores Huerta, a wonderful picture book for ages 4 and up. We also have Latino U.S.A. - A Cartoon History by Ilan Stavans and A Kids Guide to Latino History (with more than 50 great activities) by Valerie Petrillo. 

Reach And Teach Service Learning Products:

Over the last decade or so days like Cesar Chavez Day have been marked by calls to community service. We offer a wide variety of products that can help you put together excellent service learning programs. We recommend the following:

Real Kids, Real Stories, Real Change
Real Kids, Real Stories, Real Change
SKU: 978-1-57542-350-0
Price: $9.99

Youth Community Service Curriculum
Youth Community Service Curriculum
SKU: ycs_curriculum
Price: $30.00

The Complete Guide to Service Learning
The Complete Guide to Service Learning
SKU: 1-57542-133-X
Price: $39.95

Doing Good Together Book with CD-ROM
Doing Good Together Book with CD-ROM
SKU: 978-1575423548
Price: $24.99

Hitch-Hiking to Alaska: The Way of Soulful Service
Hitch-Hiking to Alaska: The Way of Soulful Service
SKU: 978-1-937943-08-0
Price: $18.95

The Spirit That Moves Us Volume II
The Spirit That Moves Us Volume II
SKU: A0-88448-187-5
Price: $18.50

Lessons From a Street Kid
Lessons From a Street Kid
SKU: 9781553658658
Price: $19.95


How Do You Find Stuff?

We work closely with many non-profit organizations that have developed curriculum, local school district leaders, professors training new teachers and providing continuing education to teachers seeking to grow in their professions. One of the most difficult things for us to understand has been why some excellent resources that are freely available seem to get scant use. In this article, I'll discuss some of the key reasons we've discovered, and ask for your help to change the way things are into the way things could be. 

One Stunning Report - Teachers Aren't Allowed to Surf the Internet!

The chief psychologist for a major East Coast school district recently told us that teachers are NOT allowed to surf the Internet from their classrooms or offices. He said that blocking software had been put in and that teachers' Internet use was monitored to ensure that they did not spend work-time browsing the web. If true, this means that vast resources that would otherwise be freely available are blocked, and teachers can only seach for those resouces from their homes. If you are a teacher who is not allowed to surf/search the web from work, please contact us so that we can build a case for changing that!

Did You Know These Resources Existed?

As we've met with teachers or spoken with them by phone, we've been amazed at some of the resources they've told us about, but we've also been amazed at the resources that they did not know existed. The Cesar Chavez Model Curriculum, for example, is the result of an incredible effort by many people and was developed at considerable expense. Yet beyond the first year when it was released and promoted, few teachers in California schools have heard of it.

One of our goals as a business focused on providing resources to K-12 teachers is to help promote excellent materials that already exist, but to do that we had to understand how teachers currently used such materials, how they found them, what worked well and didn't.

These are just a few of the questions we've asked every teacher with whom we've spoken (including the ones who were very strict about using the proper grammar):

What supplemental materials (other than those that are district-assigned or recommended in an approved textbook) do you use in your class?

  • Why?
  • How?
  • What is it? (What form does it take)
  • Where do you get this material?
  • How do you find out about it?
  • How much does it cost?
  • Do you pay for it? (Out of pocket? Through school funds?)
  • Can you give one exceptional example of something you've used? What made it exceptional? How did your students react to it?
  • What could be done to further improve the supplemental materials you already use?
  • Is your school administration supportive of your use of supplemental materials.
  • Do you need to get approval from administrators to use specific supplemental materials?

The Internet or the Lunch Room?

What we discovered in our interviews was not surprising. The most common way teachers find out about supplemental materials is simply by talking to other teachers. Typically, these conversations take place in the teacher's lounge or lunchroom. Those half hour breaks from kids and paperwork, sitting with peers who cover similar subject matter, are the most fruitful resource for finding great stuff. Whether it is a web site recommendation, a journal available through the library, a catalog the teacher can sign up for, or an upcoming program on television, the most common way teachers we interviewed find about about great stuff is from their peers during breaks at school.

The next most common way teachers find good stuff is through catalogs and journals. Every specialty has its own catalogs and journals and glancing through one of these during a few spare minutes often yields results. Most teachers get some form of monthly or quarterly journals or catalogs. Because of that, we've placed ads for CIVIO, A Civil Rights Game, in the Social Education Journal (NCSS).

Teachers also told us that they often attended conferences, or seminars, or other professional gatherings where they learned about resources they might use in the classroom. Since virtually all teachers have to do some form of professional development to maintain their certification, it is quite common for new materials and tools to be discovered at these types of professional events.

Of course there were plenty of teachers who told us that they use the Internet to search for materials. Mostly, these teachers told us that they used the Internet to hunt for "primary sources" they could use in the classroom. Articles and stories that they could print out and use as the basis for a lesson plan. "What about all the lesson plans available on the Internet?" we asked. Well..... those were a different story. Beyond many teachers not even knowing about many of web sites with lesson plans that are out there, those who had found lesson plans in the last more often than not found them lacking for one or more reasons. Here are a few of the most common comments:

  • There was too much work I would have had to do to implement the lesson. The plan didn't include everything I needed.
  • The lesson plan seemed half-baked, incomplete.
  • I wasn't sure I could trust the source or if the lesson plan had been properly tested.
  • It didn't quite fit into the flow of our curriculum and would have required too much modification to make it work.
  • There were thousands of lesson plans, a few of them good, but too much work to find the gems among the trash.
  • I'm much too independent to let someone else plan out the entire lesson for me. I'd rather just have good primary source materials and some suggestions for how to use them.

The quandry for us is this. How should we let you (and others like you) know about new worthwhile resources that you can use in the classroom?

Here's where you come in.... We have a really short online survey. We would really appreciate your input. No personal information is being requested.

OK, I'll take the survey...

Green America approved