Sobre Octubre: Resources on Día de los Muertos, Remembering, and Celebrating

Sobre Octubre: Resources on Día de los Muertos, Remembering, and CelebratingHi, everyone,

I’m here to wrap up our September focus on “Resources to Honor and Understand Latin American Influences,” and introduce you to the themes we’ll be tackling in October: Día de los Muertos, remembering, and celebrating.

Before I talk about our upcoming month, I have to acknowledge that we’re still smack dab in the middle of Hispanic Heritage Month (HHM), and here at Vamos a Leer remain caught in a love-hate relationship with it.  Even while HHM promotes the discussion about Latin@/Hispanic culture, it minimizes the conversation to stereotypes and relegates the information to one month out of the year, effectively communicating to students that Latin@/Hispanic heritage offers a “break” from the real curriculum; it’s apart from authenticate knowledge. There are many, many reasons why this is problematic. Katrina has discussed some of them on the blog, joining other educators such as Enid Lee and Deborah Menkart who advocate for a “beyond heroes and holidays” approach to education. In short, she’s advocated for a classroom where discussions of other cultures are not limited to one month out of the year, but instead are integrated meaningfully throughout the curriculum.

But we’re not suggesting dismissing HHM completely. Instead, much like readers who responded to a recent poll on “How do you feel about Hispanic Heritage Month? Tell us” organized by LatinoUSA, we suggest that HHM is “what you make of it.” Let’s use this an opportunity to start (or better, continue!) meaningful conversations about Latin@/Hispanic heritage, but conversations unfettered by the arbitrary dates of Sept. 15 – Oct. 15. Continue reading

En la Clase: All About Me Cube

All About MeOur most recent series of En la Clase posts featured lesson plans that introduce teaching about race, culture, difference, acceptance, and respect as ways to encourage community building in the classroom.  Today’s post on “All About Me” Cubes offers one more way to build that classroom community while bringing students’ own lives into the classroom curriculum.  It’s a great activity to do in preparation for Open House or Parent-Teacher Conferences, especially if you’re looking for a fun display that showcases your students. While our previous series focused mainly on early elementary activities, today’s post can be adapted to a much broader grade range.  I found it was always the perfect activity to do at the beginning of the school year as we eased into the structure and curriculum of the new year.  With four separate parts, it was easy to spread the project out over an entire month, and it could be stopped and started without much trouble.  There are lots of variations of “All About Me” projects, if you already have one that you use, it could easily be adapted to the cube format.  Continue reading