Celebrating Cesar Chavez
Commemorate the achievements of the civil rights leader with these learning activities.
- Grades: 3–5
Cesar Chavez was a Mexican American leader who co-founded the National Farm Workers Association. His tireless efforts helped farm workers receive better wages and safety conditions. On March 29, 2013, President Barack Obama declared March 31 National Cesar Chavez Day in honor of Chavez's birthday. As a non-violent civil rights leader, Chavez's beliefs, respect, and honesty make him an important role model for students to learn about. For more information, visit the Cesar Chavez Foundation website.
1. Read Chavez's biography (see resources below) as a class and record notes in an outline format. ELD students and students below grade level can write a bio poem on him, while advanced students should write a paragraph about his life that analyzes the cause and effects of his life's work.
2. Discuss the significance of the United Farm Workers slogan "Si se puede", which means, "Yes it can be done." Have students create "Si se puede" posters, representing what freedom means to them. Ask students to present their freedom posters to the class and discuss the everyday freedoms for which they are grateful.
3. Pin Cesar's poster with students' "Si se puede" posters on the bulletin board. Have students write an "I can do it" poem that embodies all of the character traits represented by Cesar (I am, I will, I can, I strive, I believe....and so on). Try bringing students outside with their clipboards so they can sit in a quiet spot to reflect about their lives. After students are finished writing, have them type their poems and pin them on the bulletin board.
Books on Cesar Chavez
- Cesar Chavez by Lucile Davis
- Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez by Kathleen Krull
- Cesar Chavez: Labor Leader by David Seidman