SALSA!

Northwest Middle School Students Dancing Salsa!

Northwest Middle School Students Making Salsa!

This workshop begins with a read-aloud of a bilingual book about Salsa, the music and dance, that celebrates the African-Caribbean traditions.  The book is read by a spanish speaking student with an english speaking mentor.  Mentors get out the globe to tell the story of how people, from Africa, Spain and the native peoples of the Caribbean, blended  and ultimately created the dance and music we call “Salsa.”  This discussion is expanded to tell the story of the tomato, cultivated by the Aztecs, brought to Europe by the Spanish, and feared for several hundred years.  The Aztecs and their descendants, the Mexican people, have carried their family recipes for Salsa, (the sauce) through many generations. Salsa is now one of our most popular foods, (or condiments) today.  Students are asked to consider how our cultural perception of the tomato has changed since the 17th century. Mentors explain how most scientific studies today, indicate that the tomato is one of nature’s healthiest foods.  Students learn the basic ingredients of salsa, the same basic ingredients originally used by the Aztecs.  Mentors explain how students can grow their own Salsa Garden!  As a group, mentors and students learn how to make Salsa together, by preparing fresh Tomatoes, Tomatillos, Garlic, Cilantro, Lime, Jalapeno and salt and pepper. Students follow a recipe and prepare and measure ingredients. Before students enjoy their home-made snack, served with corn tortilla chips, they must first get back on their feet and learn a special salsa dance.  Each dance step represents various ingredients of the salsa recipe.  While students mix the salsa ingredients, they also mix their salsa dance steps.  English/Spanish translations are explored with food, music and literacy providing a celebration of African, Spanish, and Native cultures.  We examine the history of Salsa, The Tomato, European explorers, The Aztecs, The Mexicans.  This interactive workshop not only warms our tummy but also heats up our feet!

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