How do you promote cultural inclusion in the elementary classroom? Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month in the classroom provides an excellent opportunity to acknowledge and respect various cultures at the beginning of the school year. You can do this in just 15 minutes a day; read on to find out how!
What is Hispanic Heritage Month?
National Hispanic Heritage Month is observed yearly from September 15 to October 15. This month is a time to acknowledge and honor Hispanic Americans’ contributions to society today.
Furthermore, honoring Hispanic Heritage Month in the classroom is an opportunity to celebrate the cultures students and families bring to the community and abroad.
Introduce Hispanic Heritage Month in the Classroom
Before digging into teaching about diverse cultural months, it’s wise to do a proper and thorough introduction. If you’re lost on time or need help, try YouTube.
Find a kid-appropriate, culturally-relevant video that can do the introductions for you. However, leave room for discussion afterward rather than just moving along.
Here’s an example of a video that covers the basics and gives students an overview of Hispanic Heritage Month without sugarcoating anything.
Incorporate Art & Music from Notable Hispanic Americans
You can create a rich classroom environment using real-world projects in different modes. Art and music are awesome ways to promote cultural inclusion because they’re immersive.
A helpful place to start is by creating Hispanic-inspired arts and crafts like papel picado (paper cutting). Students can see the culture represented and participate alongside the girls in the video.
And we can’t forget the rich music! Play songs from artists like Celia Cruz, Carlos Santana, and Selena. Discuss the cultural significance. Ask if any students can relate to or have heard the songs before. Open the discussion and keep it flowing!
Teach About Notable Hispanic Americans
We want to expose students to notable Hispanic Americans, not just historical ones. To diversify, you’ll want to include a mix of well-known, lesser-known, and modern figures to teach students about.
Below, I’ve compiled a list of 45 well-known, lesser-known, and modern figures for Hispanic Heritage Month.
Consider how their contributions impact us today. Making room for these considerations creates necessary conversations and allows students to see that there are not just one or two famous Hispanic Americans.
That’s why I created daily slides that introduce each figure, familiarize students with their contributions, and allow discussions. The slides include 225 slides with 45 well-known, lesser-known, and modern figures, so you can stretch it out for as long as you need.
Include Language Activities
Another fantastic opportunity to bring Hispanic culture into the classroom is by doing language activities, particularly in Spanish. You may invite a native Spanish speaker to teach students basic phrases.
You can even have students participate in role-playing activities where they act out the basic words they’ve just learned. Use phrases, sentences, or single words to differentiate it.
This video introduces basic Spanish phrases and words for you, including colors, toys, clothes, furniture, and counting to 10! There’s even built-in practice for you.
Utilize Classroom Décor
One of my favorite (simple) ways to honor Hispanic Heritage Month in the classroom is by hanging posters of notable figures for students to see daily. The Hispanic-American students in the class benefit from seeing success stories & dreaming of what’s possible for people who look like them!
I also print images of flags from each Hispanic / Latin country and hang them around the classroom. This gives a sense of pride and conveys that all cultures are welcome.
I’ve created both portrait and informational posters so each classroom can benefit. There are 45 well-known, lesser-known, and modern figures with color and black-and-white options.
Resources for Hispanic Heritage Month in the Classroom
In summary, you can incorporate engaging and culturally appropriate activities for Hispanic Heritage Month in the classroom. Here are some resources to help you; click each image to see more!