K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education

LEARN NC was a program of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Education from 1997 – 2013. It provided lesson plans, professional development, and innovative web resources to support teachers, build community, and improve K-12 education in North Carolina. Learn NC is no longer supported by the School of Education – this is a historical archive of their website.

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The Changing Face of Mexico
Essays and activities exploring Mexican culture, past and present. Includes historical perspectives, classroom activities, and recipes.
Format: book (multiple pages)
Activity: 16 de Septiembre
In The Changing Face of Mexico, page 2.2
Contact the local Hispanic cultural or resource center and establish contacts with Mexican immigrants. Have your students interview families, especially those with children of comparable ages and discuss how Mexicans celebrate the 16th of September...
Format: activity
Days of the Dead (Powerpoint presentation)
Photographs and text explain the history, traditions, and modern celebrations of the Days of the Dead in Mexico.
Format: document/slideshow
Activity: Quinceañera
In The Changing Face of Mexico, page 3.2
Form a committee with some friends who can take you to a Latino tienda or mercado in your community. Divide up responsibility for finding certain articles that are used for a quinceañera,...
Format: activity
Jonkonnu celebrations in North Carolina and beyond
In this lesson plan, students read two articles about Jonkonnu, an African American and Afro-Caribbean celebration among slave populations with origins in West Africa. Students complete a graphic organizer comparing Jonkonnu in North Carolina, Belize, and Jamaica.
Format: lesson plan (grade 8 and 11 Social Studies)
By Jamie Lathan.
Recipe: Ponche (Punch)
Ingredients 12 quarts water 10 ounces tejocotes (or peaches) 9 ounces prunes 5 ounces pecans 4 pieces sugarcane 6 oranges 10 guavas 3...
Format: recipe
Food and culture
In Food for thought: Elementary lessons on nutrition and healthy living, page 6.3
We associate different kinds of cuisine with specific places in the world, but why do people eat what they eat? This lesson plan for the fifth-grade, from the Food for Thought nutrition curriculum, explores world cultures and ethnic groups and the foods in their diets.
Format: lesson plan (grade 5 English Language Arts and Healthful Living)
Pan de muerto
Pan de muerto
Pan de muerto, a bread traditionally baked for the Mexican Day of the Dead. This loaf has shapes on the surface meant to look like bones.
Format: image/photograph
Suggestions for existing GSAs
In LGBTQIA Resources for Educators, page 4.2
Actions YOU and your GSA CAN take! Identify the "safe" adults in the building. Who can you go to if you are feeling unsafe or bullied or if you hear others are? Know the "chain of command" in your school....
Format: article
By Nick Winstead.
The strikers move into tents
In North Carolina in the early 20th century, page 8.5
Article from the Gastonia Daily Gazette printed during the Loray Mill strike, 1929. Striking workers were thrown out of their houses, which were owned by the mill. Includes historical background and commentary.
Format: newspaper/primary source
Commentary and sidebar notes by L. Maren Wood.
The rag man
The rag man
The "rag man" in a Jonkonnu reenactment at Bellamy Mansion in Wilmington, North Carolina. The rag man is an important part of Jonkonnu. He symbolizes the ancestors. Each fluttering rag is an ancestor he commemorates as he dances and sends the colorful strips...
Format: image/photograph
The Mexican eagle
The Mexican eagle
A massive display of Mexico’s national emblem, the eagle, for Mexican Independence Day.
Format: image
I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!
Biltmore Dairy ice cream also played a leading role at estate gatherings — Cornelia’s birthday celebrations, Christmas parties, May Day festivities, and picnics. In fact, virtually every oral history interview or questionnaire containing childhood...
Format: article
By Sue Clark McKendree.
Candy Skull
Candy Skull
During the Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico, ofrendas are placed throughout the house to welcome the deceased home. Often additional treats are included with the ofrendas such as sugar skulls, which is a traditional holiday treat. This...
Format: image/photograph
Dressing for the Carnival
Dressing for the Carnival
Painting by Winslow Homer (1836–1910), 1877, shows an African American man being helped with preparation for a carnival by two women. In 1875, Homer made studies of African Americans around Petersburg, Virginia, and this painting may be one of several based...
Format: image/painting
Christmas at Lake Norman, NC
Christmas at Lake Norman, NC
This is a boat decorated for Christmas at Lake Norman in Iredell County, North Carolina. Boat owners around the area gather and deck out their decks with Christmas lights, animated snowmen, and more.
Format: image/photograph
The Quinceañera Celebration
In The Changing Face of Mexico, page 3.1
Slideshow View a slideshow of photographs from quinceañera celebrations. One of the most important...
Format: article
The Kiss - V-J Day
The Kiss - V-J Day
At the news of the Japanese surrender, people spilled out into Times Square in New York City to celebrate V-J Day(Victory over Japan). This photograph shows a sailor grabbing a nurse, bending her back, and giving her a big kiss. Taken by a Navy photographer,...
Format: image/photograph
Day of the Dead Grave Decoration
Day of the Dead Grave Decoration
During the period of October 31 through November 2, Mexican families honor their dead during the Day of the Dead celebrations. During this time families will visit the cemeteries where their loved ones are buried and then clean and decorate their graves. This...
Format: image/photograph
Classroom Activity: Making an Altar for the Day of the Dead
In The Changing Face of Mexico, page 1.2
An altar created for the Day of the Dead. The best activity you can undertake for the Day of the Dead is to create the traditional altar, or ofrenda. As highlighted...
Format: activity