First of all, I did not know this existed (did you?) and I’m glad I found it: TeacherTube! It’s YouTube (different company) for teachers. Age appropriate, classroom oriented topics on just about everything. It even has information on how to align the videos with core curriculum requirements and TEK. You can narrow your search by subject and media type (audio, video, photo and document are the available types). I’m not going to claim it’s as good as You Tube, it runs a little slower and isn’t as sleek nor comprehensive, but not everything needs to be fancy to be a great resource (case in point: my posts!). TeacherTube is completely made for teachers so you won’t have to sift through all that (YouTube) content that has ziltch to do with your search term or is completely inappropriate. As a bonus: you sign up for a (free) membership and you can upload resources you’ve found useful!
Second of all…guess what I found? A few videos on Día de Los Muertos for your classrooms:
- This one is a straight forward easy to understand, comprehensive video in English with Spanish vocabulary words; appropriate for just about every age range.
- Travel Channel Video (about 3 minutes) on Day of the Dead in Mexico City and San Andreas Mixquic, appropriate for all ages.
- This video is a great, short (4 minutes) explanation of the spiritual history and belief system behind the Day of the Dead. In Spanish, with English subtitles, it has beautiful imagery and is a useful way to get a discussion going among high school students about death, life and how those concepts are portrayed in different countries. I wouldn’t play it for younger children since it’s more somber and shows pictures on the ofrendas (offerings/altars) of children who have passed.
- Finally, this one is a fun little music video by Roxana Rio about Day of the Dead. The lyrics are in Spanish (don’t worry it’s kid friendly) talking about creating an altar for the dead, what more does La Guapachosa (good sport, someone who’s always in a good mood/lives a good life) want?…To sing!
I also wanted to include some more information about Jose Guadalupe Posada’s las calaveras. From Art Through Time (which by the way is a really neat web site utilizing art from around the world to discuss what different themes mean in different countries), “Although originally conceived by Posada’s contemporary Manuel Manilla, the calavera was popularized by Posada, whose cartoons circulated widely in newspapers, street gazettes, broadsides, and commercial posters. Perhaps the most famous of Posada’s calaveras is La Calavera de la Catrina, the skeleton of a high-society lady wearing a large, fancy hat. This figure, in particular, has become an icon of the Mexican Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead.” And from Art of the Print, “Jose Guadalupe Posada’s prints cover an amazing range of imagery. National events, disasters, miracles, abnormalities, executions, illustrations to popular songs (corridos), broadsides and street gazettes (gaceta callejera) comprise a large portion of his artistic oeuvre. By means of the Calaveras (Spanish for skulls or skeletons), Posada mimed practically every human folly.”
Some more resources I came across:
- Our friends over at Scholastic have a great post about Día de los Muertos.
- PDF of a mask cut-out for your kids to create (who doesn’t love to color and glitter!).
- Free printable party kit invitations, decorations, facts, and more from HP here.
- How to build an ofrenda can be seen here.
- 2-3 week lesson plan for 1st graders complete with a pan de los muertos recipe (the traditional bread placed on the ofrenda).
Incorporating videos and crafts into your lesson plan about Día de los Muertos is a great way to get kids talking about other cultures. We can use these fun tools to have a really effective conversation about stereotypes, spiritual practices, art and culture.
Keep your eye out for another post next Friday about literature to use with your Día de Los Muertos lesson!
Visit the LAII’s website to view and download our complete thematic guide on Día de los Muertos.