¡Hola errbody! Espero que se encuentren bien. As we near El Día de los Muertos, I wanted to share the approach that I take in teaching my students about the holiday. A major component of cultural responsiveness is intentionally designing and facilitating learning experiences that support students in making authentic connections with content.
In addition to teaching Day of the Dead-themed vocabulary, sharing cultural perspectives, watching videos, reading articles, making arts-n-crafts and then of course sampling pan de muerto, I like to invite my students to make a personal connection with the root of the holiday - which is honoring our loved ones who are no longer with us.
So after doing the aforementioned activities, here's the flow of learning for connection & community:
Share a personal example of someone important from your own family who is deceased. Also share an example of historical figure that you respect or connect with that is deceased, and why that person matters to you years/decades/centuries later. Ask students to think of a loved one who has passed away or a famous, historical person (i.e. Malcolm X or Selena Quintanilla Pérez), that they would like to honor for the holiday.
Next, inform students that they will write a paragraph about the deceased person that they want to celebrate for the holiday and will decorate una calavera in their honor (download resource worksheets below).
Distribute the Paragraph Starter Sheet (included in download) and provide students with an exemplar, and model for students your expectations for their paragraphs. Students can write their dedications in English or in Spanish, based on their ability level.
Once students have finished, have them clear off their desks and only leave their written paragraphs and their decorated calaveras. Distribute the Gallery Walk Worksheet (included in download). Explain the task and monitor students as they complete the activity. If time permits, students can share with the large group which calaveras and/or paragraphs stood out to them the most and why.
As an optional, extension activity, invite students to bring in pictures and small, items in remembrance of the one they have chosen to honor to be added to the community ofrenda, which will be displayed on a bulletin board inside or outside of your classroom. Coordinate with your grade level administrator or supervisor to schedule a collective time for collective remembrance during a specific class period, and allow students and staff members to read their paragraphs aloud. This is such a powerful, community building activity for the whole school community! I can't wait for you and your students to experience it together!
CLICK HERE TO VIEW/DOWLOAD THE DAY OF THE DEAD COMMUNITY OFRENDA RESOURCE WORKSHEETS FOR FREE!