Celebrate Hispanic Heritage for Grades 2-5
Students learn about one of the largest cultural groups in the United States, Hispanic Americans, through several online learning activities.
- Grades: 1–2, 3–5
- Unit Plan:
The focus for students in this age group is on people. Explain to students that they will be learning about one of the largest cultural groups in the United States, Hispanic Americans, and the contributions they have made to this country and to the world.
- Interpret and understand written and spoken Spanish on a variety of topics.
- Identify and describe traits that represent Hispanic cultures
- Study and analyze the traditions and culture of Hispanic Americans
- Read observations Hispanics make about their identity
- Conduct research on issues of identity and heritage
- Formulate interview questions based on reading materials
- Use compiled information to ask questions that seek information not already discussed
- Understand and summarize the contributions of Hispanic Americans
- Gather and synthesize information about Hispanic community members by using a variety of informational resources
- Write a biography about an accomplished American that relates information on heritage and identity
- Apply reading comprehension skills, including:
- main idea
- read for detail
- draw conclusions
Set Up and Prepare
- The components of Celebrate Hispanic Heritage are broken up into three categories: Culture (Grades K-2), People (Grades 3-5) and History (Grades 6-8). Therefore, depending on the grade level and maturity level of each class, activities can be facilitated as independent work, collaborative group work, or whole class instruction.
- You may also want to create a special display for your classroom library in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month.
- If a computer is available for each student, guide students to the activities either through printed URLs on handouts or on the board.
- If you are working in a lab, set up the computers to be on the desired Web site as students walk into class. If there are fewer computers than students, group the students by reading level. Assign each student a role: a "driver" who navigates the web, a timer who keeps the group on task, and a note taker. If there are more than three students per computer, you can add roles like a team leader, a team reporter, etc.
- If you are working in a learning station in your classroom, break out your class into different groups. Have rotating groups working on the computer (s), reading printed background information, holding smaller group discussions, writing first drafts of their journals or specimen box offline, etc. Details described further in the Teaching sections.
Step 1: Begin a discussion about Hispanic heritage. Have students talk about what it means to be Hispanic (being a member of Americans descended from more than 20 primarily Spanish-speaking countries as well as from states and territories in the United States) or a member of any ethnic group.
Step 2: Introduce the Meet Famous Latinos activity, which is designed to teach students about famous Latinos and their contributions to American history. As an introduction, choose one of the six famous Latinos to highlight. For example, you can choose Pam Munoz Ryan and showcase her book, Esperanza Rising. This would be a great time to share an excerpt with the class.
Step 3: In the My Heritage activity, seven Latino and Latina citizens discuss the importance of their Hispanic American heritage. Their observations help students to deepen their understanding of ideas related to heritage: what heritage means, the similarities and differences in language and culture among Hispanic Americans, the diversity of backgrounds that shape the Hispanic American community, and the multicultural nature of the United States population. Take the class through a tour of this activity, or encourage students to visit this area on their own. This section provides appropriate material for younger students or low-level readers and allows you to customize your lesson to their needs.
Step 4: Next, organize students into five groups, and assign a biography from the Meet Famous Latinos or My Heritage activity, as appropriate, for each group of students to read. Note: you can do this individually, in a computer lab, or if only one computer is available, as a learning station.
Step 5: Provide students with a copy of the biography skill sheet. Students can complete this activity individually or in groups.
Step 6: Now, have each group of students discuss the famous Latino they read about, and the contributions they made. Students can lead this discussion as a group, in front of the whole class, or the groups can be reorganized so that one person from each original group is the expert on the famous Latino they will be discussing.
Music, games, writing activities, crafts, and recipes offer excellent opportunities to appreciate and explore Hispanic Heritage.
Latinos in the U.S.A.
Use this map and worksheet to demonstrate where many Latinos live in the U.S.
Source: This activity is from Scholastic News.
Music (Grades 2-5)
Play music from various countries to show the diverse cultures within Hispanic heritage. As a group, create a multicultural songbook that incorporates the music of the various cultures, and include songs from a variety of countries.
Vocabulary/Word Origins (Grades 3-5)
Students learn about the influence of the Spanish language by studying the history of common English words. Assign students to each compile lists of five or more words that have Spanish. Encourage students to use a dictionary that contains the historical origins of words. (Example: "ranch" is from the Spanish word rancho.)
Students many also wish to write a play based on the research they have gathered about a Hispanic history maker.
Social Studies (Grades 4-5)
Students may create scrapbooks with flags, maps, costumes, artwork, and other symbols of various countries from which Hispanic people have emigrated.
Art (Grades 4-5)
Students design and make a postage stamp or a small poster that honors Hispanic heritage. They can find different art styles from countries in Central and South America and incorporate them. They can also use pictures of famous Hispanic Americans, maps, or different symbols.
Drama (Grades 4-5)
Students can choose to dramatize the life story of historical figures, rehearse the play, and then present it to the class.
Language Arts (Grades 4-5)
Students read a book from one of the following authors as an example of autobiographical narrative: Family Pictures by Carmen Lomas Garza, The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros, or White Bread Competition by Jo Ann Yolanda Hernandez. Then students may choose a story or episode from their lives to develop into an autobiographical narrative.
Supporting All Learners
International Reading Association (IRA) & National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Standards:
Celebrate Hispanic Heritage helps students meet the following standards Sponsored by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) and the International Reading Association (IRA).
- Read a wide range of print and non-print texts to build an understanding of texts, of themselves, and of the cultures of the United States and the world (1).
- Students conduct research on issues and interests by generating ideas and questions (7).
- Students use a variety of technological and informational resources (libraries, databases, computer networks) to gather and synthesize information in order to create and communicate knowledge (8).
- Students develop an understanding of and respect for diversity in language use, patterns, and dialects across cultures, ethnic groups, geographic regions, and social roles (9).
- Participate as knowledgeable, reflective, creative, and critical members of a variety of literacy communities (11).
- Students use spoken, written, and visual language for learning, persuasion, and exchange of information (12).
National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS):
Celebrate Hispanic Heritage meets the standards of the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS), which promote the development of students as good citizens in a culturally diverse, interdependent world. The content and activities of this project are especially appropriate for the themes of:
- Culture: Students learn how to understand multiple perspectives that derive from different cultural vantage points.
- Time, Continuity, and Change: Students focus on how the world has changed in order to gain perspective on the present and the future.
- Individual Development and Identity: Students learn to ask questions such as "What influences how people learn, perceive, and grow?"
- People, Places, and Environments: Students utilize technological advances to connect to the world beyond their personal locations. The study of people, places, and human-environment interactions assists learners as they create their spatial views and geographic perspectives of the world.
- Global Connections: Students analyze patterns and relationships within and among world cultures.
- Civic Ideals and Practices: Students gain an understanding of the ideals, principles, and practices of citizenship in a democratic republic.
Technology Foundation Standards for Students:
- use technology tools to enhance learning, increase productivity, and promote creativity
- use technology tools to collaborate, publish, and interact with peers, experts, and other audiences
- use a variety of media and formats to communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences
- use technology to locate, evaluate, and collect information from a variety of sources
Formal Assessment Ideas
Distribute the Hispanic Heritage Project Test for a formal assessment of comprehension skills based on the reading passages within this project. The Project Test offers students exposure to standardized tests. The emphasis of the test should not be on the final grade, but on the students' grasp of the tested skills. The test includes tips for students on test-taking strategies.
Writing Assessment Ideas:
Have students choose one profile that they would like to turn into a biographical essay about that person, and flesh out the information on their biography skill sheet from their own research online and in the library. Suggest that they use pictures, personal stories, vital statistics, and anything else they find interesting about the hero in their biography.
Visit Writing with Writers for a biography writing workshop!
Project Assessment Ideas:
Famous Latino/Latina Magazine Article
Students choose someone to highlight from any of the Celebrate Hispanic Heritage activities. They will read the biography and flesh out information onto their biography skill sheet. Students are encouraged to also conduct their own research online and in the library. Suggest that they use pictures, personal stories, vital statistics, and anything else they find interesting about this person. Students will then write a magazine article about this famous Latino/Latina. The article can be written in several ways, here are two suggestions: First person narrative, where student writes as if they are the famous person, or third person narrative, where student writes in an interview format and they are the interviewer.
When students complete their articles, you can publish your students' work posting them onto your Class Homepage.
Use the writing rubric as a way to assess your students' writing skills. This rubric can also serve as a model for a modified version that might include your state's writing standards.