What I did: Andrea and Deb had told me about the Alma Project. It is a free service available through DPS to provide multicultural materials for instruction. Since six out of my seven students are hispanic and six out of seven are female, the LATINAS unit seemed perfect for them. La Llorona is a famous Mexican folktale. We were able to read a modern bilingual version (Prietita and the Ghost Woman/Prietita y La Llorona) and listen to Joan Baez's traditional Spanish version of La Llorona, (translated for the student who doesn't speak Spanish). Another facet of the book that we read was about curanderas (traditional healers).
Extend: They developed familiarity with both concepts. Their discussions included questions and, sometimes disagreements, about whether or not La Llorona:
stole (kidnapped) children to replace the ones she had murdered,
walked/roamed every where or just near water
she was real or invented by people just to scare kids or just a myth
was she mean and horrible or kind and helpful as the book portrayed her
and much more.
The Curanderismo discussion was limited. I am wondering if, since curanderismo is out of the norm in the predominant culture, they were reluctant to talk about it. It could also be that they don't refer to it as such or they don't have any/much experience with it. Perhaps, it is not an urban experience as much as it may be in rural areas.
Challenge: The challenge was that although it is a famous folktale, about a third had never heard of it. (Throughout this unit, they have become familiar with authors, artists, activists, and singers who they can identify with through language and heritage.) I am reminded daily that I cannot make assumptions about any schema.