Celebrate Hispanic Heritage for Grades PreK-1
Online learning activities that offer students an introduction to the Spanish language and the contributions Hispanic Americans have made to the world
- Grades: PreK–K, 1–2
- Unit Plan:
The focus for younger students in Celebrate Hispanic Heritage is on culture and learning about one of the largest cultural groups in the United States, Hispanic Americans. Students will get a brief overview of the contributions they have made to this country and to the world.
- Interpret and understand written and spoken Spanish on a variety of topics. (Piñata Concentration Game)
- 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
- 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: Discuss the word "heritage" with students. Have a volunteer write student responses on the chalkboard. Explain that the concept of heritage is shaped by one's country of origin; different languages; rituals; foods; traditions; and forms of culture, such as dance and theater.
Step 2: If you have a piñata, you can introduce the Piñata Concentration activity by bringing a piñata into class and allow students to share their own piñata experiences or any other background knowledge they may have. Then discuss how a piñata is made and what cultures and countries in Latin America incorporate piñatas in their festivities. If you do not have a piñata, you can skip this step.
Step 3: Depending on the availability of computers, have all students play the Pinata Concentration Game in stations, individually, or in pairs, in a computer lab. Students can practice their Spanish vocabulary if they are bilingual and learn new words if they are not, as there are pictures that accompany each Spanish word.
Step 4: 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. For example, 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, reading the text aloud for them, and then conduct a class discussion about the contributions of each.
- What do you do with a piñata?
- On what occasions do you hit a piñata?
- Do piñatas come in one or many shapes? Describe some of those shapes.
- What's inside a piñata?
- Do you know what country piñatas come from?
- What are some of the words you knew already in the Piñata concentration game? How did you learn these words?
- How do we learn about one another's culture without even trying?
- What is heritage?
- What does heritage mean to the (dancer, scientist, etc.)?
- What is your heritage?
- What does heritage mean to you?
Make a dance cape similar to those worn at Peruvian dance festivals.
Source: This activity is from the book Crafts of Many Cultures.
Hit the Penny
This game is popular with Chilean children. Try it in your classroom!
Source: This activity is from The Multicultural Game Book.
Getting to Know You
Have students try conversing in Spanish with these simple words and phrases.
Source: This activity is from the book Culture Kit Mexico.
Toma Todo From Mexico
Students can make a special top and play a popular Mexican game.
Source: This activity is from the book Multicultural Math.
Help your students make icons to represent special wishes they want fulfilled. The fulfilled wishes are called milagros, which means "miracles."
Send students on a scavenger hunt to find things of Spanish origin in their communities.
Palabra = Words
Students match the Spanish words to their English counterparts by looking for similarities.
Ways to Celebrate
Here are some great ways you and your students can celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month!
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
Music, games, writing activities, crafts, and recipes offer excellent opportunities to appreciate and explore Hispanic Heritage.
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.