Saturday, May 02, 2009

Cinco de Mayo

With my fifth graders, most of them Hispanic, I am embarking on a short theatre project about Puebla -- the battle which commenced on the 5th of May, 1862. Cinco de Mayo.

On the first of May, I broached the subject with the class and asked them -- Hispanic, most of them, close as we are to the Mexican border -- if anyone could tell me the significance of that date.

Blank stares. Well, it was first period on a Friday morning. I decided to cue them a little.

"True or false," I asked: "Cinco de Mayo is Mexico's Independence Day."

"TRUE" came the chorus. Oh dear.

"False!" said I. "It is the date of a famous battle. Can anyone tell me who Mexico was fighting against?"

A boy raised his hand confidently. Maybe there was some hope here. I called on him and he smiled as he responded: "England!"

Oh dear.

"False!" said I. "They were fighting the French. Their army was feared all over the world. In fifty years, no one had beaten them. Can anyone tell me the name of the famous French general who invaded Mexico?"

Another confident hand. Oh please please please. I called on him. He beamed. He knew the answer.

"Hitler."

Stay positive. No sarcastic jokes about "Jules Hitler."

"Napoleon!" said I, and proceeded to tell them the story of Cinco de Mayo. A weird moment for me.

3 comments:

Hal Johnson said...

I used to go to Mexico fairly often, and it always struck me that in most of Mexico, Cinco de Mayo seemed no big deal.

The Cajuns in south Louisiana have sure embraced it, along with Corona beer.

Pam said...

There's a big holiday around here for Cinco de Mayo. Same in San Antonio.

Another excuse for a fiesta. :)

Pam said...

Although, not this year, I fear. The H1N1 flu over-reaction will probably quash it as it has most all other public gatherings.

My kids were looking forward to after-TAKS field trips. Canceled.

We got notice from the district that any parent who feels uncomfortable sending their kids to school right now can keep them home. Excused absences.

My boys will NOT have the option of staying home. :)

This unnecessary panic and school-closings is getting ridiculous.