Celebrating Culture During Hispanic Heritage Month
Hispanic Heritage Month in the United States is celebrated each year from September 15 through October 15. The celebration begins in the middle of September because it coincides with national independence days in several Latin American countries: Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica each celebrate theirs on September 15, followed by Mexico on the 16th, Chile on the 18th, and Belize on the 21st.
Our Latinx ambassador teachers come from fourteen Spanish-speaking countries, and they all bring their unique perspectives and cultural heritages to the classroom. Hispanic Heritage Month is an opportunity to honor and celebrate the diverse threads that make up the beautiful tapestry of Latino culture in the U.S. and beyond.
Are you looking for specific ways to incorporate Hispanic Heritage Month in your classroom? Try out these ideas with your students:
1. Create a scavenger hunt for students. In a single day or week, how many products in their homes can they trace that are made or grown in Latin America? Provide examples like coffee, clothing, pantry foods, or fresh groceries. Use a printable “bingo” card for younger students or ask older students to create a Google Slides presentation with photos of the items they found to share at the end of the activity.
2. Host a Hispanic Heritage culture night on Zoom at your school with other ambassador teachers. Before you plan, you will need your administrator’s approval. Consider sharing a slide or two about your country or a famous person from your country who inspires you. A more interactive option for our talented home chefs might involve a guided cooking lesson over Zoom. Share an ingredient list, and prepare a simple traditional recipe over Zoom for students and families to try at home.
3. Take your students on a virtual trip across Latin America during your morning meetings. Make it fun by introducing the country with photos or a world map and a fact or two that students can easily digest. Then, proceed with your lesson! For example, change up your word problems in math so that they use new vocabulary from the country of the day. By the end of Hispanic Heritage Month, make it a goal to have “traveled” to every country.
4. Use your culture corner to highlight special facts this month. Can you find statistics about the number of people from your country currently living in the United States? Perhaps pop culture trivia or age-appropriate movies could be celebrated this month, too. Here is a digital-version culture corner that dual language ambassador, Ana Herrera, created recently for her students.
5. Expose students to historical figures and role models from Spanish-speaking countries or who identify as Latinx. Consider combining a reading and writing lesson such as activity #2 on this list. Students can choose from a set of short biographies, then reflect on what they learned and how it relates to their lives. Alternatively, can you find Hispanic parent volunteers or community members to join as guests for a mini career day? It is motivating for students when they can identify role models who look like them or come from the same background as they do.
No matter how you choose to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, remember that you can lead by example. Show your students what it means to honor the cultures of others and, especially for your Hispanic students, to be proud of their own heritage, too.
How do you embrace culture in your classroom? Start the conversation by tagging us on Twitter @ParticipateLrng. Stay tuned throughout Hispanic Heritage Month as we continue to share cultural stories that highlight our ambassador teachers from Latin America.