Past Events

CLAS Teacher Workshops and Institutes

Spring and Summer 2013

La Camioneta: The Journey of One American School Bus

Every day dozens of decommissioned school buses leave the United States on a southward migration that carries them to Guatemala, where they are repaired, repainted, and resurrected as the brightly-colored camionetas that bring the vast majority of Guatemalans to work each day. Educators at this workshop had the opportunity to engage with the producer of La Camioneta: The Journey of One American School Bus and CLAS alum Mark Kendall, who spoke on the process of making this film and his time in Guatemala.  CLAS faculty spoke on Guatemala in the larger context of Latin America and the world.  Curriculum materials were provided.

La Maestra: The Cuban Literacy Campaign through the Eyes of a Teacher

International Lens Film Screening: Tuesday, February 19; 7:30pm; Sarratt Cinema
Teacher Workshop: Thursday, February 21; 9am-3pm; Vanderbilt campus

In February 2013, in honor of Black History Month, CLAS offered  a screening and teacher workshop on the documentary MAESTRA. The film tells the story of the Cuban Literacy Campaign of 1961, when 250,000 volunteers taught 700,000 people to read and write in one year.  The campaign was one of the most successful to date and a pinnacle moment in the history of the Americas. Teachers  placed the literacy movement in the larger context of Cuba and Latin American history, and presenters Catherine Murphy and Norma Guillard  examined the participation of youth and women in the movement as well as the transformative power of education.  Curriculum materials were provided.

Read more about Maestra  here.

Exploring Art of the Ancient Americas: The John Bourne Collection

Thursday, April 11 OR Saturday, April 13
9am–3pm; Frist Center Studios

Presented in collaboration with the Center for Latin American Studies (CLAS) at Vanderbilt, this workshop focused on Mesoamerican artworks from Mexico to Peru drawn from the John Bourne Collection. Organized thematically by culture, the artworks present more than 2,500 years of creativity in Mexico, Central America, and Andean South America from 1200 B.C. to A.D. 1520.  The program  introduced the major themes of the exhibition, presented specific images and activities, and provided interdisciplinary links to the visual arts, language arts, and social studies. Curriculum materials were provided.

A Musical Journey Through Indigenous Cultures of Mexico: Carlos Chavez’s Sinfonia India

Thursday, April 18
9am-2pm; Schermerhorn Symphony Center

Presented in collaboration with the Nashville Symphony, this workshop focused on Mexican composer Carlos Chavez’s Sinfonía India.  Written in 1934-35, the piece is a musical travelogue through the incredible diversity of sounds of Mexico’s indigenous cultures.  The program will include attending a dress rehearsal of Sinfonia India, performed by the Nashville Symphony.  The training  explored musical themes, examined specific indigenous instruments, and provided activities that combined  music, language arts, and social studies. Curriculum materials and lunchwere  provided.

Exploring Brazil: A Window into the Language and Culture of a Country on the Rise

Summer K-12 Teacher Institute
June 9 – 13, 2013
at The University of Georgia- Athens

The University of Georgia, Tulane University, and Vanderbilt University offered a Summer Institute on Brazilian Culture and Portuguese Language. K-12 educators of any discipline and grade-level were invited to apply to attend. The goal was to encourage and promote the teaching of Portuguese and the culture of Brazil through film, literature, service learning, and technology in any K-12 classroom. Focus was on the language, history, and geography of Brazil. Sessions included Portuguese language instruction and participants  explored the culture, history, and geography of Brazil. Film screenings and other presentations were incorporated into the institute to highlight contemporary and engaging cultural content for the K-12 classroom. During the week, educators  worked in teams to develop interdisciplinary units that addressed applicable state learning standards.

Fall 2012

The Incredible Journey: Exploring the Art, Migration and Traditions of the Monarch Butterfly

Saturday, September 29  OR Wednesday, October 3
9am- 3pm; Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art

Each year, monarch butterflies travel 2,000 miles from the Northeastern United States and Canada to a butterfly sanctuary in Mexico.  Cheekwood and Center for Latin American Studies partnered to offer a workshop that focuses on the art, history, geography and biology that is part of this incredible journey.

Americas Award in Washington DC

Saturday, October 6
9am-11am; Busboys and Poets (2021 14th Street Northwest  Washington, DC 20009)

Tulane University and Vanderbilt University’s Centers for Latin American Studies collaborated with Teaching for Change to offer an exciting K-12 teacher workshop as part of the Américas Award ceremony at the Library of Congress. The workshop focused on strategies to incorporate Latin American and Latino children’s literature into the K-12 classroom.  Facilitators of the workshop included 2012 Americas Award Winners Monica Brown, author and Julie Paschkis, illustrator of Pablo Neruda: Poet of the People.  Founder of the award, Julie Kline and Chairperson of the 2012 committee, Ruth Quiroa shared strategies for incorporating Latin American and Latino cultural content into the curriculum.  Staff at of Teaching for Change  shared additional resources for educators to engage critically with texts in the classroom.   All  received breakfast, curriculum materials, and signed copies of Pablo Neruda: Poet of the People.  Participants were are also invited to the Americas Award Library of Congress ceremony.

Fall 2011

The Long Struggle for Freedom in Latin America; Wednesday, September 21; 9am-3pm; Vanderbilt Campus

This workshop  explored the historical as well as ongoing struggle for freedom in Latin America.  Teachers heard presentations from Vanderbilt History faculty on Indigenous and Afro- Latin American populations and  explored the wide diversity of thought on race within the region .

Strategies for Elementary Foreign Language Acquisition; Tuesday, October 4; 9am-3pm; Vanderbilt Campus

This workshop, with presentations by faculty from the Center for Second Language Acquisition at Vanderbilt, focused on developing strategies for teaching foreign language at the elementary level.

Journeys: An Artistic Exploration the Art of Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons; Thursday, October 13 OR Saturday,October 15;9am-3pm; Frist Center for the Visual Arts

Teachers who attended this workshop had the opportunity to connect directly with María Magdalena Campos-Pons and learn about her creative process by going through the exhibit with the artist.  Also during the day, Vanderbilt faculty who have studied the work of Magda will gave  insight into the historical and anthropological factors which surround her art. Part of the year-long CLAS series entitled Afro-Latin America: Historical, Cultural and Artistic Representations.

Summer 2011

Tulane/Vanderbilt Summer Institute at Millsaps College in Jackson, MS
June 5-10, 2011
Through the Lens: Teaching Latin America Through Film

Vanderbilt University’s Center for Latin American Studies and the Stone Center for Latin American Studies at Tulane University  collaborated to offer a week-long institute on Latin America for high school teachers.  The institute was held June 5-10, 2011 on the campus of Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi. Teachers studied different aspects of Latin America through feature films and documentaries with specialized faculty from Tulane, Vanderbilt, and Millsaps.  Enriching their knowledge of Latin America, teachers developed curricular plans for increased coverage of Latin America in their respective schools.  Teachers took part in groups of two or more from each school, with around 12 schools or districts participating.  Teachers worked together to incorporate material relevant to Latin America into their high school curricula. During the week, faculty and staff from Vanderbilt, Tulane and Millsaps were available for consulting outside program workshops so that educators maximized their institute experience.

Spring 2011

Black History Month: Exploring the Legacy of the African Diaspora; Wednesday, February 16; 9am-3pm; Vanderbilt Campus
Sessions of this workshop focused on the impact of the Atlantic Slave trade on Latin America as well as the use of primary sources to give voice to forgotten narratives.  Teachers expanded their knowledge of this important part of the history of Latin America and the Caribbean as it relates to the African Diaspora and to the history of the United States. In the afternoon teachers heard a presentation about and interacted with the primary sources of Voices of Our America, oral histories which teach about neglected narratives. Curriculum materials were provided at this workshop.

Coffee, Culture and Community Development in New Orleans

Center for Latin American Studies at Vanderbilt  and Stone Center for Latin American Studies at Tulane offered teachers a workshop on Thursday March 17, 2011 in New Orleans.  During the day teachers heard presentations by Mark Pendergrast, author of “Uncommon Grounds” on the history of coffee and how it changed the world.  Additional sessions gave teachers a taste of fair trade and the real cost of coffee. Curriculum development materials were  provided.  Following the workshop, teachers  attended the coffee symposium, a part of the National Coffee Association Centennial Celebration.

Brazil 101: Brazil Takes Off;Thursday, April 7; Vanderbilt Campus
As the world’s fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population, Brazil is by all accounts an economic power in the hemisphere and in the world.  Presentations by faculty increased teacher’s knowledge of this emerging superpower, through the lens of culture, literature, language, US/Brazilian relations…and soccer!  Curriculum materials were  provided at this workshop.

Fall 2010

What Moves Them: Immigration and the Push Factor;Wednesday September 15; 9am-3pm; Vanderbilt campus
Sessions of this professional development workshop provided insight into the sociological and economic issues of what cause people to move.  Featured was Jorge Durand, CLAS Visiting Resource Professor and Professor of Sociology at the University of Guadalajara.  Dr. Durand shared with teachers his work on migration patterns.

A Celebration of Remembrance: Exploring the Historical and Cultural Traditions of Día de los Muertos; Wednesday, October 13 and Saturday October 16.  (Teachers attended one workshop).

CLAS and Cheekwood partnered to offer this day long workshop, which explored the  historical and cultural significance of the Día de los Muertos holiday in Mexico.  At this interdisciplinary workshop,  participants heard from Vanderbilt scholars, worked with standards-based curriculum connections and lessons that they could use in their classroom, and took part in hands-on studio activities. Educators of all grade levels and subject areas attended. Classroom resources were provided for participating teachers.  Workshops took place at Cheekwood.

Wednesday November 10; (9am-3pm) “The Maya: Language, Culture and History”

The ancient Maya once occupied a vast geographic area in Central America. Their civilization extended to parts of what is now Mexico, Honduras, and El Salvador, Belize and most of Guatemala. They were known for the only fully developed written language of the pre-Colombian Americas, as well as art, architecture,  mathematical and astronomical systems.  At its peak,  it was one of the most densely populated and culturally dynamic societies in the world. At this workshop teachers  heard from Arthur Demarest, Markus Eberl and Sergio Romero, all anthropologists who specialize in the study of the Maya.   Participants received six professional development points as well as curriculum materials.

Summer 2010

Latin American Studies Summer Institute for High School Teachers: Latin American Film in the 9-12 Classroom

June 6-11, 2010
University of TN – Knoxville Campus
The Center for Latin American Studies at Vanderbilt and the University of Tennessee’s Latin American Studies Interdisciplinary Program  collaborated this summer to offer a week-long Institute on Latin American Film in the 9-12 Classroom. This Institute was held June 6-11, 2010 on the University of Tennessee campus in Knoxville. Teachers studied different aspects of Latin America through feature films and documentaries with specialized faculty from Vanderbilt, Belmont University and the University of Tennessee- Knoxville. Enriching their knowledge of Latin America, teachers began to develop curricular plans for increased coverage of Latin America in their schools.

Spring 2010

Crafting an Image in the Ballet Folklorico de Mexico
Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Schermerhorn Symphony Center

Sessions of this workshop  provided teachers with a historical panorama of Mexico, crafted through music and dance. Vanderbilt faculty gave a historical perspective on the dances and in the afternoon there was a curriculum session on incorporation of arts into the classroom.   This workshop will took  place at the Schermerhorn Center.

Music, Dance and Artistic Representations in the Ballet Folklorico
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Schermerhorn Symphony Center

This workshop featured a presentation on Mexican mural painters  and also one on how Mexico has been represented through dance and music. In the afternoon there was a session on integration of arts into curriculum.  This workshop took place at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center.

Hip Hop and Civil Rights in a Multiracial Brazil
February 25, 2010
Global Education Center

CLAS and the Global Education Center  partnered to offer this workshop during Black History Month, which took an anthropological look at the context of the geographical an cultural panorama of Brazil.  Teachers heard presentations on the history and geography of Brazil, and even learned a little bit of Portuguese!   A hands-on portion of drumming and capoeira was offered in the afternoon, taught by instructors from the community and from the Global Education Center.

Strategies for K-8 Foreign Language Teachers
March 6, 2010
Center for Latin American Studies/TFLTA
Belmont University

K-8 Foreign Language teachers who attended this workshop heard presentations on incorporating culture into language classrooms using authentic materials, emerging technologies such as social media, and TPRS.  Teachers also heard about opportunities for travel abroad opportunities with Fulbright.   Participants swapped ideas on foreign language teaching and shared best practices.

Latin America 101
March 31, 2010
Vanderbilt Campus

The term “Latin America” means different things to different people. For the purposes of this workshop, Latin America refered  to the eighteen Spanish-speaking countries of this hemisphere, along with Portuguese-speaking Brazil, and the French/Créole-speaking republic of Haiti. Ted Fischer, Vanderbilt professor of Anthropology and CLAS director provided an anthropological lens on Latin America.   Historian  Frank Robinson offered an overview of this region and placed selected themes from Latin America and the Caribbean within their proper historical and global contexts.   In the afternoon teachers worked together to develop ideas for incorporating these themes into their classrooms and schools.

Fall 2009

The Drug Trade in Latin America
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
9 am – 3 pm

Sessions of this workshop  focused on the root of drug production in Colombia, transit routes and cartels in Mexico and elsewhere, and the impacts on communities in Latin America and the US. Pablo Gómez, candidate for PhD in History from Vanderbilt, spoke on the drug trade in Colombia and US foreign policy. Helena Simonett, ethnomusicologist and professor at Vanderbilt, spoke on cartel activity and her research on border culture and music, and anthropologist Lesley Gill spoke about drug cultivation and production in South America.
This workshop was free of charge and open to all teachers, levels K-12. All participants  received free curriculum materials and resources, and  also earned six professional development points upon completion of the workshop.

Film – El General
by Natalia Almada
Thursday, September 17, 2009

Filmaker Natalia Almada  presented her documentary, El General, about Mexico’s 1910 revolution, and one of its key leaders, Plutarco Elias Calles. Calles became president in 1924, and was known as both hero and fiend to the nation he led. He often used brutal violence to silence his political enemies, and was the de facto leader long after he left office, using brutal violence to silence his political enemies, including priests and nuns. Natalia Almada is the great- granddaughter of Calles, and through her family, came into possession of an invaluable heirloom: recordings of Calles’ daughter speaking about her fathers’ life and work, which she has brought to life in this film. An official selection at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, this film is sure to provide a fascinating and personal insight into this riveting period of Mexican history.

Ancient Andean Indigenous Groups
by Natalia Almada
Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Wari and later the Inka built extensive empires throughout South America that were connected by an elaborate network of roads. This workshop was a unique and fascinating look at these groups known for their military prowess, engineering genius, and socio-religious organization.
Tiffiny Tung, an anthropological bioarchaeologist,  shared her research on the Wari empire of the Peruvian Andes. She is currently collaborating with Vanderbilt University Medical Center in analysis of DNA obtained from thousand year old skeletons she has excavated in Peru. As a consultant for the Discovery Channel, she has appeared in 10 episodes of Discovery Channel’s show “Mummy Autopsy”. Dr. Janusek is an archaeologist who studies the development of complex societies in the South American Andes. His interests include social identity and collective memory, human agency and power relations, urbanism, rural landscape, religious ideology and the rise of complexity, and household archaeology. He spoke on Inka social organization and groups.

Day of the Dead – El Día de los Muertos
Cheekwood Museum of Art
Saturday, October 24, 2009

In recognition of this Latin American holiday, Cheekwood brought the traditions of Mexico and other countries to Nashville. Participants explored the beautiful altar displays, shopped in the bustling Mexican marketplace, and tried some authentic cuisine from local bakeries and restaurants – all while enjoying a beautiful fall day at Cheekwood.This year, Cheekwood  hosted the 2nd annual Tapete Display and Competition. Entries portrayed many aspects of the Día de los Muertos holiday. Students developed a cultural awareness, encouraged class unity and participation, and displayed the talent and enthusiasm  to over 3,000 event visitors through this interactive and fun competition.