Every year, we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15th to October 15th. One of several months dedicated to highlighting various culture and ethnicities, Hispanic Heritage Month is our first opportunity of the school year to embrace our national diversity. Start off the school year by showcasing your students' cultures, involve their families by inviting family members to participate in show and tell or story time! Ask your students (and their parents!) for ideas or try some of the ones we've found below - either way, your students will feel included, valued, and eager to participate and share. We've blogged about the value of family stories before - this is a great opportunity to encourage the sharing of stories with a larger audience!
Start with a Story
Introduce the month with a selection from Portraits of Hispanic American Heroes by Juan Felipe Herrera, then ask students to write about important people in their own lives. Assign students to listen to one or more of the stories in the Island Treasures: Growing Up In Cuba collection, then have them write a story about their own childhood experiences.
Share Your Stories
Getting your students' families to participate in your school, library, or classroom activities can be a rewarding experience for everyone. Invite community members to share an important or favorite part of their culture. If scheduling proves too difficult, try one of these activities instead. Remember to reiterate the significance of the activity before, during and after students work. Once your students are settled into their work with these projects, art projects, reinforce the lesson with a story.
- DIY Alebrijes: mythical creatures from the Land of the Dead
- Zapotec Rugs: Make smaller ones and laminate to create placemats that can be used for your Tapas Taste and Tell (see next section)
- Make and Play Chapas: Decorate chapas with flags of Spanish speaking countries, recreations of famous Spanish art, or items from Hispanic cultures (Bonus: make courses from paper and this game can be played for indoor recess throughout the year!)
- Gaudi Mosaics: Antoni Gaudi was famous for his colorful mosaics - create your own with markers, bits of paper, or get creative and use found objects pressed into clay!
Host a "Tapas Taste and Tell"
Arrange a "taste and tell" potluck/story time. Ask parents or family members to prepare mini versions of traditional or favorite foods to share with the class. Invite them to tell students why they chose to prepare those treats, or send in a card you can read. If you don't have willing volunteers, play a story while you try one of these recipes:
- Horchata: a Mexican sweet rice drink (and a vegan version) simple enough to make in the classroom!
- Simple Cheese Quesadillas
- Pan Con Tomate: Few ingredients, but enough activity to keep it interesting - make the tomato topping ahead of time or with your students
- Spanish Olives: Try the recipe if you're culinarily inclined or simply serve store bought olives on toothpicks (Bonus points if you can find the little swords like the conquistadors wielded!)
- Polvorones de Limon: Latin American citrus shortbread cookies
A final bonus: If you include listening to stories throughout these (and other) lesson plans, you'll be helping your struggling readers to keep up with their peers. While you have their families' attention and excitement, encourage family listening, too. Curious to learn more about how just listening can help support your students' academic ability? Click below to learn more: