Free Online Resources at Thinkfinity.org Help Educators Bring National Hispanic Heritage Month Lessons to Life

BASKING RIDGE, N.J. - From the epic ghost stories of the Southwest, to a  rich culture of dance and song, to personal stories of immigration to the United States over the past century, Hispanic Heritage Month offers a unique opportunity to celebrate the diverse history and important contributions Latinos have made to American culture.

To help educators stimulate their students' interest in Hispanic-American history and celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month, from Sept. 15 - Oct. 15, Thinkfinity.org will offer a rich collection of free lesson plans, activities and educational resources to educators on a special section of its home page.

Thinkfinity.org is the Verizon Foundation's comprehensive program and online portal to 55,000 standards-based, grade-specific, K-12 lesson plans and other educational resources provided in partnership with many of the nation's leading educational and literacy organizations.

Among the resources available in the Thinkfinity Hispanic Heritage section are:

  • Teaching the Epic Through Ghost Stories - A lesson plan created by ReadWriteThink.org, a joint resource of the International Reading Association and the National Council of Teachers of English, uses traditional ghost tales, such as "La Llorona" (the weeping woman), to help students connect to epic storytellers by sharing their own tales of ghosts and goblins. This lesson also includes an audio clip of a Mexican ghost story from National Public Radio to demonstrate the power of traditional, storytelling. For students in grades 9-12. http://www.readwritethink.org/lessons/lesson_view.asp?id=225

  • A Nation of Immigrants: Latino Stories - An educational resource from the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, which contains articles and photographs highlighting personal experiences of Latino immigrants. This resource highlights immigrants from the 1920s who came to this country to escape the Mexican Revolution; Caribbean immigrants who came by raft in the 1960s; and Mexican nationals who came between 1942 and 1964 to take part in the Bracero Program, a sometimes-controversial guest-worker program. For students in grades 9-12. http://americanhistory.si.edu/onthemove/themes/story_51_2.html

  • Mexican Culture and History Through its National Holidays - A lesson plan from the National Endowment for the Humanities' EDSITEment. Through this resource, students will learn the origins and importance of several Mexican national holidays including, The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Dia de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe); Day of the Dead (El Dia de los Muertos); and Cinco de Mayo. For students in grades 6-8. http://edsitement.neh.gov/view_lesson_plan.asp?id=740

  • Mission Nuestra Senora de la Concepcion - A new feature from the National Endowment for the Humanities' EDSITEment. Through this resource, students at all grade levels will learn about early Spanish settlements in the American Southwest and their complex relationship with American Indians through the architecture and art of one of this country's best-preserved missions. http://edsitement.neh.gov/view_lesson_plan.asp?id=740

"In our global society, it's more important than ever for our students to have the opportunity to develop a true understanding and deep appreciation of cultures different from their own," said Verizon Foundation President Patrick Gaston. "Through Verizon's Thinkfinity.org, teachers receive quick and free access to a multitude of educational resources to bring the stories of Hispanic-American history to life."

Since the launch of Verizon's Thinkfinity.org in March 2007, the Verizon Foundation has committed more than $32 million to update and expand Thinkfinity.org and provide training to teachers.

In addition to providing standards-based resources from the nation's leading educational and literacy organizations, Thinkfinity.org also offers a comprehensive professional development program that allows teachers to sign up for free online or face-to-face training to learn how to make the most of Thinkfinity.org tools.

Content for Thinkfinity.org is provided through a partnership between the Verizon Foundation and 11 of the nation's leading organizations in the fields of education and literacy: the American Association for the Advancement of Science, International Reading Association, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, National Center for Family Literacy, National Council on Economic Education, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Council of Teachers of English, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, National Geographic Society, ProLiteracy Worldwide and the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.

The Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications, supports the advancement of literacy and K-12 education through its signature program, Thinkfinity.org, and fosters awareness and prevention of domestic violence.  In 2007, the foundation awarded more than $67.4 million in grants to nonprofit agencies in the United States and abroad. The foundation also matched the charitable donations of Verizon employees and retirees, resulting in $25.1 million in combined contributions. Through Verizon Volunteers, one of the nation's largest employee volunteer programs, Verizon employees and retirees have volunteered more than 3 million hours of community service since Verizon's inception in 2000. For more information on the foundation, visit www.verizon.com/foundation.

About Verizon Communications
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), headquartered in New York, is a leader in delivering broadband and other wireline and wireless communication innovations to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers.  Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving nearly 69 million customers nationwide.  Verizon's Wireline operations include Verizon Business, which delivers innovative and seamless business solutions to customers around the world, and Verizon Telecom, which brings customers the benefits of converged communications, information and entertainment services over the nation's most advanced fiber-optic network.  A Dow 30 company, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of more than 228,600 and last year generated consolidated operating revenues of $93.5 billion.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.