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Do you need teaching ideas and activities for Hispanic Heritage Month in your upper elementary classroom? Consider these books, music, art, and research.

Are you looking for ideas for Hispanic Heritage Month in your upper elementary classroom? Here is a list of activities to spark your imagination. We’ll begin with books and movies, then move on to activities, crafts, and ideas for teaching. I use the term Latinx in this blog post. What is Latinx? It’s an inclusive gender-neutral term that can be used in place of Latino (masculine) and Latina (feminine).

When is Hispanic Heritage Month? It begins on September 15th, with the independence days of Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. Mexican Independence Day is celebrated on September 16. Hispanic Heritage Month ends on October 15. 

But that doesn’t mean you have to stop celebrating and learning about these cultures. It’s a wonderful way to begin to introduce your students to Latinx culture and celebrate all of its diversity.

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month on a blue and green background with a pink and green flower in the center.

With over twenty-one Spanish speaking countries in the world, the exploration of Hispanic Heritage has wide variations. Here are some ideas to celebrate and observe this important month in your upper elementary or middle school classroom.

Let’s begin with books and movies.

Upper Elementary Books and Picture Books by Latinx Authors

Have a Film Screening

The Disney movies Encanto and Coco appeal to all ages of students. It’s great for a fun way to explore some of the music and customs in Mexico and Colombia. It could kick off a country research project, (see my ideas for this further down in this blog post.)

Have students write a short summary of the movie when they are done. Include the theme, the main characters, the problem, the moment the problem seems unsolvable, and the final solution. 

As always, you can save this post and come back to it again. Just pin this image to your Pinterest board!

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month on a blue and green background with red and yellow papel picado above.

Games and Crafts for Hispanic Heritage Month

La Lotería 

Print the cards and leave them on the students’ desks. This lotería game is similar to bingo and isn’t exactly like the adult La Lotería (for obvious reasons.) This classroom version of the game makes a fun way to learn and practice words in Spanish.

Spanish Lotería bingo game for learning Spanish vocabulary.

 

Create Some Papel Picado 

In my opinion, there’s nothing more colorful and inviting than having papel picado strung around the classroom. Here is a wonderful Youtube tutorial for students to learn about papel picado and how to create their own. 

When you’ve done this with your class, share the photos with me! I’d love to include them in this blog post.

Listen to Latinx Artists

Explore the works of famous artists such as Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, Picasso. Create artwork centered around these famous artists. A great place to get started with your art exploration is at the Smithsonian American Art Museum of Latinx Art

I could spend hours here getting inspiration for my next art project. 

Hispanic Heritage History and Latinx Leaders Biographies

Learn about Manuel Hidalgo and El Grito de Dolores to introduce Mexican Independence Day on September 15. The website Schools for Chiapas  has a short history appropriate for upper elementary students, including a video and images. It also has links to lessons and activities for you to use with your students. You can download them for free. 

Do this fun color coded activity as a front loading introduction to Mexican Independence Day or as a review and conclusion of your lesson.

A hispanic heritage month reading passage and color by number activity.

Learn about famous Latinx leaders with short biographies and flipbooks. Students love to combine reading comprehension and writing with making a flipbook. In my TeacherWriter Teachers Pay Teachers store you can find many to choose from. Choose from Latinx leaders in all walks of life. A list of current and soon to be finished flipbook projects are listed here. 

This quick video let’s you see inside the product.

Sports

Laurie Hernandez, Olympic Gymnast

Lionel Messi, Soccer Player and Philanthropist

Roberto Clemente, Baseball Player and Humanitarian

Pele, Soccer Star

El Santo, Fighter

Music

Selena, Queen of Tejano Music

Gloria Estefan, Queen of Latin Pop

Celia Cruz

Shakira

Tito Puente

Desi Arnaz

Fine and Performing Arts

Lin-Manuel Miranda, Composer and Director

Cantinflas

Sandra Cisneros

Diego Rivera

Frida Kahlo

Pablo Picasso

Law and Social Justice

Sonia Sotomayor, U.S. Supreme Court Justice

Alex Ocasio Cortez

Soledad O’Brien

Cesar Chavez

Delores Huerta

Irma Rangel

Science

Ellen Ochoa, Astronaut and Inventor

José Hernández, From Farm Worker to NASA Astronaut

 

You can grab a bundle with all of these biographies in one resource. When new biographies are added, you’ll get them at no extra cost. So it’s a money-saving option for you to buy the bundle now and save later as it continues to grow!

Grab the Money Saving Bundle of Latinx Leaders Biography Flipbook Reports

Hispanic heritage Month of Biography Flipbook bundle.

Explore Latinx Music

Head to the internet to find the official sites for the music of Celia Cruz, Selena, Gloria Estefan, or other artists who have music you would like to share with your class. You can combine some of these people with a study of their life story in the biography reports.

Include a brain break each day featuring a different song or artist. Or play one song at the end of each day for students to enjoy while they clean up their desks and the room.

Hispanic Guest Speakers

Invite local guests to come to your class and share something they love or something they do. It could be art, cooking, a craft, storytelling, or anything else they are passionate about or skilled at. 

Spanish and Central and Latin American Countries Research

There are twenty-one Spanish speaking countries around the world. You could explore a map and have students choose one country to research and report on. The report could take several different forms:

This research is fun for students to do in groups. If you choose a poster project, do this near the beginning of the month so you can hang the posters around the room and enjoy them for a few weeks.

Ideas for Teachers to Enjoy Hispanic Heritage Month

This section is for you, my friend. Here are a few things I can honestly recommend. You can find these books and videos at your library.

Videos for Hispanic Heritage Month

Newer Books and Audiobooks from Hispanic Authors

 

Enjoy your time fostering the cultural appreciation and understanding of the Hispanic and Latinx world. You don’t have to limit this to just September 15 to October 15. You can celebrate all year round. Have fun and enjoy it!

Suzanne-TeacherWriter

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