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The Forgotten Americans

Classroom Resources


Focus: Las Colonias
Filmmaker's Journal
An Inside Look
A Colonia Experience
Build A Community  
Classroom Resources
Press Room

Discussion Questions

Grade Levels: 7-12

Overview: Students will discuss community and how communities are mobilized. They will also explore how community organizing and grassroots organizing has produced political, social and economic change.


The student will:

  • Use The Forgotten Americans film, the PBS Web site and the Internet to find information
  • Demonstrate research skills and reading comprehension
  • Demonstrate media literacy skills
  • Demonstrate a willingness to learn about other cultures

English Language Arts

  • Students read a wide range of print and non-print texts to build an understanding of texts, of themselves, and of the cultures of the United States and the world; to acquire new information; to respond to the needs and demands of society and the workplace; and for personal fulfillment. Among these texts are fiction and nonfiction, classic and contemporary works.
  • Students adjust their use of spoken, written, and visual language (e.g., conventions, style, vocabulary) to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences and for different purposes.
  • Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write and use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes.
  • Students conduct research on issues and interests by generating ideas and questions, and by posing problems. They gather, evaluate, and synthesize data from a variety of sources (e.g., print and non-print texts, artifacts, people) to communicate their discoveries in ways that suit their purpose and audience.
  • Students use a variety of technological and information resources (e.g., libraries, databases, computer networks, video) to gather and synthesize information and to create and communicate knowledge.


  • What does Proyecto Azteca do?
  • Who has ownership of Proyecto Azteca?
  • Who makes up EPISO and what does it do?
  • Who created the organization Promotoras? And why?
  • Who is Ernie Cortez and what does he do?
  • What does Valley Interfaith do?
  • Which organizations brought state and federal media attention to colonias?
  • What did one Texas Senator say when he was told of the conditions in colonias?
  • How did the Texas legislature react to information about colonias?
  • What did the legislature do to stop new colonias from forming?
  • Who did the new housing codes hurt the most?
  • How many colonia developers did the Texas Attorney General sue?
  • Rosie, from Green Valley Farms, convinced Cameron County to do what?
  • Cameron County was given a grant to assist colonias. How much was the grant?
  • How many colonias competed for the Cameron County grant?
  • What organizations are advocates for colonias? Why are they needed?

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