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Words Without Borders: Free Stories and Poems from Around the World for Educators

April 3, 2020 | 1 comment

Words Without Borders: Free Stories and Poems from Around the World for Educators

Join Re-Imagining Migration and Words Without Borders and sign up for a lunchtime discussion on indigenous language with the author.


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By Nadia Kalmaneditor and curriculum designer at Words Without Borders

Although many of us in the U.S. are staying close to home, we can still connect to the larger world. One of the best ways of doing that is through literature—and this week, we’d like to share a poem from Central Mexico, originally written in the Mazahua indigenous language.

The poem tells the story of Mazahua women who leave their village homes hoping for better lives in Mexico’s cities:

"They decided to discover new worlds

closed the windows and the door of the house

and the bean patch was left abandoned...[...]"

Why do the women leave? Traditional village life has become increasingly difficult, as water shortages and other environmental issues create severe hardships. The documentary trailer below can help students get a sense of these issues, their effects, and the ways in which Mazahua villagers have been making their voices heard.

To read the full poem and access a virtual toolbox of free resources (including more videos, standards-aligned teaching ideas, and audio samples of the Mazahua language, go to the Words Without Borders Campus.

You can use the Learning Arc from Re-imagining Migration to guide students’ explorations and discussions. Especially relevant questions from the Arc include:

* What can we learn from the many visible and invisible stories of migration around us?

* Why do people leave their homes?

* How do local narratives of migration relate to global patterns?

Then, join us next Monday, April 6, for an online educators’ lunch where we’ll talk about the poem, teaching strategies and ways to help each other bring the world to our students. Details below!

Staying Locally? Lunch Globally with Re-imagining Migration and Words Without Borders!

Join us right here on Monday, April 6, at 1 p.m. EDT (noon CDT, 11 a.m. MDT, 10 a.m. PDT). Bring your thoughts and questions—about this poem, Mexican literature, remote learning, migration, or anything else that would be helpful. We’ll bring ideas for using the poem in English and social studies classes and perhaps a recipe from Central Mexico. And we’ll all put our heads together, collaborate and chat.

words without borders campus logo

Words Without Borders Campus: Discover Free Resources and Tools

Words Without Borders Campus is a free educational website that publishes stories and poems from around the world, along with an array of tools for teaching and learning.

Re-imagining Migration’s mission is to advance the education and well-being of immigrant-origin youth, decrease bias and hatred against these youth and help all young people develop the understanding and habits of mind, heart, and civic participation to nurture inclusive communities and healthy democracies. 

We’re looking forward to meeting you Monday!

nadia from words without borders

Nadia Kalman is an editor and curriculum designer at Words Without Borders.

Re-Imagining Migration
Re-Imagining Migration's mission is to advance the education and well-being of immigrant-origin youth, decrease bias and hatred against young people of diverse origins, and help rising generations develop the critical understanding and empathy necessary to build and sustain welcoming and inclusive... See More

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