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LES second-graders learn about Mexico’s food, culture

Lafayette Elementary School second-grade teacher Sandy Brown took her students to Mexico this year.

They didn’t physically cross the border, but they were intellectually transported to the country through their studies, and Friday, they ended the lesson with a trip to El Mariachi Mexican, where they feasted on authentic Mexican cuisine.

“I have a wonderful student teacher, Ashley Mooneyham, and part of her five-day lesson was to teach on Mexico,” Brown said. “We have a student in the class whose dad owns a restaurant, and we thought it would be a great opportunity to culminate the event and eat some Mexican food after we’ve learned about Mexico.”

Brown said students studied the culture of Mexico and traditional Mexican food.

“We integrated a little bit of math with it,” she said. “We graphed the different foods that they eat in Mexico, and the class voted on the different foods they like the best. Then we used a food pyramid to bring a little more science into it.”

Students also used technology to learn more about the country.

“They got to do some research on their favorite facts about Mexico,” she said.

Students also had fun creating the flag of Mexico together.

Mooneyham, a student teacher from Delta State University, said students “used little strips of red and green paper” to create the flag.

“They really liked getting to use the computer to find interesting facts about Mexico,” she said. “One of the main things we’ve learned in school is to try to teach them about diversity, so I really think it would be cool if they remember some of the things that come from Mexico that we use every single day.”

Laura Young, a teacher’s assistant, said she also hopes the students remember the lesson later on in life.

“I hope they have more understanding of other cultures and diversity, and that they won’t be afraid to meet people and greet them, embrace the cultures,” she said.

Maggie Irwin, 8, enjoyed learning about the games children play in Mexico.

“They would throw a ball through a hoop way up high, and it would end on the shadow when the sun goes down,” she said.

Ryan Houston, 8, enjoyed making the flag.

“That was the most fun,” he said. “And we looked up stuff about Mexico on the computers.”

Aydan Vazquez, 7, said his father owns the restaurant in which the children ate Friday.

He said “making a flag and searching the computer for facts about Mexico,” was the most fun.

About LaReeca Rucker

LaReeca Rucker is a writer, reporter and adjunct journalism instructor at the University of Mississippi's Meek School of Journalism and New Media.

A veteran journalist with more than 20 years of experience, she spent a decade at the Gannett-owned Clarion-Ledger - Mississippi's largest daily newspaper - covering stories about crime, city government, civil rights, social justice, religion, art, culture and entertainment for the paper's print and web editions. She was also a USA Today contributor.

This year, she received a first place award from the Mississippi Press Association for “Best In-Depth Investigative Reporting.” The story written in 2014 for The Oxford Eagle chronicles the life of a young mother with two sons who have epilepsy, and details how she is patiently hoping legalized cannabis oil experimentation will lead to a cure for their disorder.

Her website is www.lareecarucker.com.

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