Curriculum Guides

Welcome to the Digital Portobelo page for educators! If you aren’t from Portobelo, you may be wondering why your class should learn about a small town on the coast of Panama. Why? Because Portobelo is an inspiring example of how a Black community has used the power of imagination and creativity to bring people together, sustain cultural beliefs and traditions, resist injustice, and engage with the broader world. Designing curricula that build upon those connections to communities in the United States and elsewhere can allow all students to reflect on themselves in relation to others locally and globally. In the words of Botelho & Rudman (2009), students can have access to “mirrors” that allow them to build strong cultural and academic identities through self-reflection, “windows” to gain greater knowledge and appreciation of other cultures, and “doors,” or opportunities for interaction. In particular, students will benefit from a deeper understanding of Afro-Latin cultures and experiences, which are often neglected in mainstream curricula. Portobelo’s rich history and traditions and the resources throughout the Digital Portobelo website present learning opportunities for students of all grade levels and content areas. We are also ensuring that all materials are available in both Spanish and English so that they can be a resource for teachers in Panama and dual language and Spanish language teachers in the United States. We hope the creation of high-quality, open-access curricular materials will inspire and support rich, culturally-sustaining global learning in many classrooms. However, as Portobelo shows us, this is a community endeavor. Please let us know how you have used Digital Portobelo with your students, or even better, join us in getting to know Portobelo and creating resources to share!

3rd-Grade Curriculum

What happened? How do we know? Listening to the voices of Portobelo and of our community This curricular unit was written for a 3rd-grade dual language class at Southwest Elementary (Durham, NC). In this unit, students explore how seeking out multiple perspectives allows them to answer a selected research question and gain a deeper understanding of historical events. As a final project, they will create a bilingual exhibit for a class museum of local history. The exhibit will include a piece of student-created art and an informational paragraph that answers their chosen research question, including quotes and information from multiple sources.

5th-Grade Curriculum

One place, many cultures: Intercultural interactions in Panamá and in our community This curricular unit was written for a 5th-grade dual language class at Southwest Elementary (Durham, NC). In this unit, students explore the effects of contact between diverse cultures. As a final project, they will create a photo and poem exhibit illustrating the interactions between cultures in their school or community.