Inside: Resources and Ideas for The Day of the Dead or Día de los Muertos in Spanish Class
Each year many people in Mexico and beyond celebrate Día de los Muertos at the end of October and the beginning of November. We know that this time of year is hard for teachers and we are in that never-ending stretch between Labor Day and Thanksgiving. (Especially for those like me that do not have any kind of fall break in that stretch). As Spanish teachers, this is an excellent opportunity to mix up your normal curriculum and spend some time on a cultural celebration that students will find enlightening and interesting.
Each one of these posts has many resources, links, and ideas all about The Day of the Dead
Activities for Day of the Dead
As mentioned, this time of year is HARD and sometimes we all need a chance to catch our breath as to not burn out completely. A cultural film study may be just what the doctor ordered. In my classes, using a film is a chance for input in Spanish, as any film I show uses Spanish audio. Depending on the goals and level of class, there is an addition of subtitles (English for lower levels and Spanish subtitles for upper levels). This means students are getting practice with listening comprehension, plus the addition of the culture portrayed in a film.
These are my favorite films for Día de los Muertos. (I have personally used both Coco & The Book of Life with all grades 7-12 over multiple days). These can also make a good sub plan with a guide if you are gone for the Fall state language conference. (Sra. Shaw has a movie guide for any movie).
- The Book of Life – El libro de vida – novice guide
- Day of the Dead Video – 25 min. documentary style in mostly English here
Art is another cross-curricular way to gain students’ interest. You could create your own ofrenda for the class, or students could make them individually. Or this is a time to maybe break out a craftivity (since we all know all students are very focused on and the day after Halloween). Sometimes it is best to just embrace the crazy and have a hands-on art or craft activity that relates to the culture you are studying ready on those days.
I personally love to use comprehensible cultural readings or novels in Spanish. In my own classroom, I mostly use novels and texts written for Spanish learners, but if you teach upper levels or heritage learners, this is the perfect time to pull out poetry, short stories, and authentic children’s books related to the topic. Below are more ideas including an authentic infographic, novel, and comprehensible cultural reading.
So I realize that all of the above categories are elements of culture, but the resources below include many aspects above combined together and do not fit in a single group! These activities, projects, and resources would be a great way to culminate the study of day of the Dead. Check out How to Incorporate Culture from Sherry for more ideas.
If you need more ideas to reach beyond your classroom, check out the posts below:
- Dance Videos for Day of the Dead & Halloween – Mis Clases Locas – have a dance-off during homeroom or lunch
- Cook with Your Students – SSS – cross-curricular with family Consumer Sciences or for an event