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The following activities allow students to compare what it was like to live in Castolon with life in their own communities during the same time period. They will also get some additional practice using Spanish.

Activity 1: Growing Up in Castolon
Ask students to write a 300 word essay describing the life they would have experienced if they were their current age and lived in the Castolon area during frontier times. Ask them to take into account the following questions:

1. What language or languages would you have spoken at home? Would everyone in the neighborhood have spoken the same language?
2. How would your family have made a living?
3. How often would you have travelled to a big city?
4. What would have happened when somebody got sick? Who would the family have called to help cure the sick person?
5. If you had the choice of crossing the Rio Grande in a rowboat and walking half a mile to La Harmonia Store, or doing without sugar, salt and flour, what would you have done?

Activity 2: Learning Some Spanish
Have the students use a Spanish/English dictionary to define the following words:
cerro, sierra, harina, leche, azucar, sal, vestido, maiz, pantalon, caballo, caballero, queso, casa, rio, camisa, zapatos, sombrero.

Then hold an old-fashioned spelling bee--with a twist. Divide the class into two equal groups (if class numbers are unequal, appoint one student as assistant judge whose duty is to keep a running tally of correctly spelled and correctly used words). Have groups line up in two rows and then, alternating sides, give each student an opportunity to state the correct Spanish word when you call out the English equivalent. If there are more students than words, go through the process again, this time calling out the words in Spanish, with the students responding with the English version.

Activity 3: Comparing Castolon to the Local Community
Have the students research what was happening in their own community from 1920 to 1940. Have them investigate:

1. How the population changed between 1920 and 1940;
2. Whether there were railroads, paved roads, and electric lights, and if so, when;
3. What public schools, hospitals, and libraries existed;
4. What kinds of work people did to make a living;
5. Whether the community was ethnically or racially mixed, and the dominant languages spoken;
6. What effects the Roaring Twenties and the Great Depression had; and
7. What the city looked like--what types of buildings, what building materials, how large, what ornamentation, etc.

When research is completed, have the students prepare a tabloid-sized newspaper which provides a description of the community from 1920 to 1940. Then ask students to draw a timeline showing the comparison of their community and Castolon.

 

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