Latin America: Our Neighbors at Home and to the South

Guatemalan Marketplace Lessons

Lesson #1: The Guatemalan Marketplace | Lesson #2: Literature Connection-Life in Guatemala

Essential Questions Adressed through these lessons:

Question #1-Why study Latin America? By studying the economic and cultural significance of the Guatemalan marketplace students become aware of the similarities and differences between their lives and the lives of Guatemalan people. Since many of Port Washington's Latin American residents originate from Guatemala, these activities provide the fifth graders with an opportunity to gain an appreciation of their fellow classmates ethnic and cultural background. The marketplace lessons are a way to discuss natural resources, vegetation and economic patterns.

Question #3-Who are the peoples of Latin America, both past and present? These lessons allow students to learn about the people of Guatemala. They are able to use technology and literature to extract information and draw conclusions about life in a Central American country.

Lesson #1: The Guatemalan Marketplace


Objective: Students will research the structure of a Guatemalan marketplace in order to distinguish similarities and differences between their own lives and the lives of people from Guatemala. This lesson will serve as an introduction to lessons related to literature in which the Guatemalan marketplace is the setting.


Look at the activity sheet that goes with this lesson.

  1. Students should be instructed to find the web page located on the Latin America unit site the class will be using. Each child will be given a paper version of the web page in order to use it as a recording sheet. The page can be printed out and copied prior to the lesson.
  2. Tell the students that we will be using literature that is set in Guatemala. Explain that both stories have parts that take place in a marketplace. Before we start reading we are going to investigate the Guatemalan marketplace. Ask students to predict what they think a Guatemalan marketplace is like. They should record their ideas on the sheet provided at the start of the lesson.
  3. Next instruct students to log onto the computers in the computer lab and locate the web page for the activity called: "The Guatemalan Marketplace."
  4. Students should follow directions on the page and answer questions on the recording sheet based on their reading and research using the provided Internet links.
  5. Students should fill out the Venn diagram on their recording sheet.

Assessment and Evaluation:

Students’ Venn diagrams will be evaluated based on details, factual accuracy and ability to draw conclusions based on the reading.


Lesson #2: Literature Connection-Life in Guatemala


Objective: By reading literature about children from Guatemala, students will gain a better understanding of the Guatemalan culture. Since many of the Latin American students in our district are of Guatemalan descent, this lesson is designed to raise awareness of the rich background many of our fellow classmates come from.

Materials: Trade books (The Most Beautiful Place in the World, by: Ann Cameron and Abuela’s Weave and Among the Volcanoes, both by: Omar Castaneda), reading response logs, post-it notes, computers, Inspiration software, markers and other art supplies.

  1. Procedures:
  2. The teacher will read the chapter book, Among the Volcanoes aloud to the class throughout the duration of the unit on Latin America. Students will be expected to read Abuela’s Weave (a picturebook) and The Most Beautiful Place in the World ( a short chapter book) as independent reading. As students read, they are to jot down observations, opinions and connections they make to the essential questions on post-it notes. These post-it notes are then placed on the pages of the text where the reading response came from. The post-it note responses are then used as a basis for small group literature discussion.
  3. After reading and discussing the central theme of overcoming obstacles in each book, students will be asked to do a character web for each story. Using the software, Inspiration, The character web should show how each character changed throughout the text and how the lifestyle in Guatemala affected the character’s daily life. Webs should be printed out.
  4. Students will then be asked to write a reading response log entry based on the following questions:
    1. Compare and Contrast: What aspects of the characters’ lives were like the lives of children in the United States and what aspects were different?
    2. Personal Connections: How would you feel if you were in Juan’s shoes? How would you have felt heading to the marketplace alone if you were in Esperanza’s shoes?
    3. Social Studies Connection: What have you learned about the people of Guatemala through our read aloud and your independent reading?
  5. Finally, students will be asked to create a "Sketch to Stretch" as a homework assignment. They should create an illustration based on images they created while reading any of the three pieces of literature. These sketches should show evidence of the differences and similarities they enumerated in their written reading response. A brief summary explaining the significance of the picture should accompany the sketch.

Assessment and Evaluation:

Using the reading response rubric, the post-it notes, the written reading response log entry and the sketch to stretch will be evaluated. Students will need to show a connection to the essential questions throughout all three reading response assignments.


Lesson Plans