Hispanic Heritage Month is observed each year from September 15 through October 15 in the United States. It is a celebration of the achievements and contributions that the Latinx community has made to US society. This provides a terrific opportunity to study the diverse and rich heritage that makes up the Latinx and Hispanic cultures spanning the country.
We are so grateful to our Participate Learning Ambassador Teachers from Spanish-speaking countries who bring the world to their students each day. We also honor the Hispanic communities that are part of the Participate Learning Network in our partner schools.
There are many ways to learn about and value different cultures in your classroom this month. From diverse genres of music, to influential historical figures, to traditional foods, there is so much to explore with your students! Below, we provide ideas and resources for how you can connect Hispanic Heritage Month to your local community and to the broader world.
Making local connections with diverse cultures
Chances are, some of your students and those in your community identify as Latinx or Hispanic. You can tap into this local expertise and history to help students learn about the heritage and cultures around them.
If you plan to ask students or their families to share with your class, it is important to first ask how they identify themselves before assuming their ethnicity or cultural heritage.
Then invite them to speak with your class. They can talk about unique holidays or cultural celebrations they observe in their family. Maybe they could show your class how to make a special food or dish. Have students ask questions. After someone has shared, this is an excellent time to go deeper on topics, places, and vocabulary that came up during the presentation.
You can also find out what events and celebrations are happening in your area during Hispanic Heritage Month. This is a great way for students to participate in experiential learning opportunities and reflection.
Check with local museums or historical societies to see if they can provide you with information about the contributions of the local Latinx community in your area. They may have someone who could present to your class, virtually or in person.
However you make local connections in your community, explore the wealth of cultures and celebrate the achievements of the Hispanic community. This will be an important way to recognize the cultures in your own classroom and give all students, regardless of their backgrounds, a chance to feel seen and celebrated.
Connecting Hispanic Heritage Month to the broader world
The local connections you develop can lead to a deeper exploration of countries or cultures you and your students are curious about.
You can set up a virtual exchange with another class from the countries you are studying. If you are an Ambassador Teacher, you may have connections in your home country already to set up a meaningful exchange.
As you make local connections, there may be historical events that come up in your studies. You can look at migration in your area to better understand the history and movement of Latinx communities from different parts of the world.
Keep in mind that, if you study migration with your students, not all people have moved to the United States, but rather, the borders of their countries have changed. For example, 55 percent of Mexico’s land was incorporated into the United States in 1848 when the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed, ending the Mexican-American War. This includes present-day California, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, and parts of five other states. People living in this area became American citizens when the treaty was signed.
Studying these historical events and making global connections can lead to great class discussions, help students feel connected, and increase their curiosity about the world.
Please tell us how you are honoring Hispanic Heritage Month with your students! We would love to hear about your ideas and activities. Tag Participate Learning on social media and use the hashtag #UnitingOurWorld.