Nuestras Historias (Our Stories) at Telpochcalli Elementary
This post highlights a project from our upcoming Shifting Boundaries exhibition, which will run March 1-9, 2018, at Hairpin Arts Center. Click here to learn more about Shifting Boundaries, including public gallery hours.
Telpochcalli Elementary, a long-time CAPE partner in Little Village, has a new Dual Language Program Coordinator this year: classroom teacher Dana Osterlin-Castillon. Dana has taught at Telpochcalli for over a decade in dual-language classrooms, and in her new role she’s expanding how dual-language education is implemented in her after-school program with CAPE teaching artist Laura Saenz. In this way, Dana and Laura’s after-school classroom is a laboratory for exploring and cultivating new dual-language teaching practices that can be applied to school-day classrooms in the future.
In Fall 2017, Dana and Laura began investigating how their students’ family stories could demonstrate the unique value of the Spanish language as a means for students’ self-expression and community engagement. To make this an immersive experience, Dana and Laura’s after-school class, titled Nuestras Historias (Our Stories), was conducted fully in Spanish.
The project started with activities designed to help the students develop storytelling, interviewing, active listening, and audio recording skills. At the same time, the students also worked to gather photos of people, places, and objects related to their family stories. The class later put all their new skills to work during a field trip to the StoryCorps Booth at the Chicago Cultural Center, where they recorded high-quality interviews with each other.
At the Shifting Boundaries exhibit, audio of the students’ interviews and family stories in Spanish will be played alongside the related photographs collected by the students.
The Nuestras Historias project is a prime example of teachers, artists and students investigating modes of learning and art making that engage and represent their community. For Dana, the project adds something to the Telpochcalli and Little Village communities:
“I think that the concept of our own stories in our own language (Nuestras Historias) is a key component of community. The two ideas are intertwined.”