I have these Day of the Dead books in my classroom and have seen how my students get motivated to look at them to read and look at the art. In the elementary Spanish program at the school where I teach, the Day of the Dead is one of the cultural explorations we do to help our students to understand what this celebration means to many communities in Mexico. We are not celebrating it, but we aim to show appreciation of a tradition that’s important to another culture. The Day of the Dead is not related to Halloween. The Day of the Dead is a two-day celebration to remember loved ones who have passed away. This is a happy and colorful celebration. Here are my five top book picks:
Uncle Monarch and the Day of the Dead has a beautiful story that shows the importance of Monarch butterflies in this celebration. In some places in Mexico, it is believed that these butterflies carry the souls of loved ones who have passed away.
I feel that these next two books need teachers to provide a little bit of background about this celebration before sharing them with the children.
Clatter Bash!: A Day of the Dead Celebration is a vivid book! There is not much text, but it’s great to use to describe the pictures. The illustrations will keep your students engaged. At the end of the book there is plentiful information about the Day of the Dead celebration.
Last, but not least! Here is a banner to decorate your classroom!
This is a fun Halloween game for lower elementary Spanish. In preparation for the game, print the pages more than once, laminate them, and put them in a bag. Use the big flashcards to introduce or review the emotions vocabulary in this game. You can also use the cards to play “charades.” Place all the cards in a bag, including the cards that say “¡Qué horror” and “¡Es Halloween.”
Divide your class into groups, depending on the number of students you have. You can have from 2 to 4 groups. Explain the rules of the game and the meaning of each card to the children. Each group takes turns taking the cards out of the bag. If they take the “Qué horror” card, it means they have to put 1 card back into the bag. If they get the “¡Es Halloween!” card, it means they get another turn. You can decide the amount of time you want to play the game. At the end, the group that has the most wins! Click here or on the pictures to download your game!
If you explore my blog, you will find a few posts related to The Day of the Dead. This celebration takes many forms in Spanish speaking countries, and it also changes names and meanings in the different countries. In some countries, it’s just one more name on the calendar. In others, it is celebrated in some parts of the country, which is the case of Guatemala and Colombia. While in Mexico, it is an important celebration across the country that has been included by UNESCO on its Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
While incorporating this tradition in your curriculum, it’s important to clarify with school administrators and parents that you are not celebrating this as a holiday in your class, you are just sharing about a cultural celebration that others celebrate (i.e. you’re exploring and honoring others’ traditions, not appropriating them as your own). You might like to read the following posts. Just click on the pictures to read them all!
I love finding opportunities to bring the sounds of traditional and authentic music to my Spanish classes. Music is also a way to show students the diversity of the different Latino cultures. The Hummingbird Sings invites you as a teacher to take your students on a trip around Latin America through music. This music CD includes 19 songs that were recorded by the fabulous Grupo Cántaro.
If you are looking to bring authentic resources to your Spanish class, this musical collection is a “must have” for Spanish teachers. Not only is the music beautiful, but the book itself is a work of art. You can use the illustrations to introduce the songs and also to talk about the different vocabulary and phrases in each song. These pictures will give your students a chance to talk about colors and animals – as well as to locate the countries where the songs come from on a map.
I am lucky enough to already have a copy of this book thanks to The Secret Mountain Publishing company, who asked me to review it. I am passionate about spreading the love for authentic music in the Spanish classroom, and one lucky teacher will get to add this music collection to her/his realia.
If you would like to participate in this giveaway and have the opportunity to win this awesome music, just enter below to participate. Participants in the continental United States and Canada only. Winner will be announced on October 9th, 2018.
My students really love the Movement Cards I shared on Spanish Playground. I though I will surprise them with a Halloween version! My students have been talking about Halloween since the middle of September. Halloween time is an opportunity to make connections with something students really love. You can find so many concepts to incorporate in Spanish class such as colors, shapes, sizes, feelings and so on. Here is an opportunity to teach some movement words in Spanish. I have added these cards to the brain breaks I will be using with my younger students during October. Download yours here!