Now underway, National Hispanic Heritage Month seeks to highlight the contributions that Hispanic and Latinx communities make to our country and have made over the centuries to the formation of this nation. From mid-September to mid-October, many activities occur nationwide to commemorate the event. Check out our recommendations for ways of celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month with your students.
Take a trip. If you’re fortunate to have a local restaurant (e.g. Mexican, Peruvian, El Salvadorian) that serves authentic food, incorporate a trip there (per approval, of course) and allow students to practice ordering from the menu, budgeting prices, and experiencing familiar or new flavors in their food. If dining out isn’t an option, order in and provide a similar experience for students. You can also visit a heritage cultural center if there’s one in your community, or you can do a virtual trip to countries reflecting the Hispanic and Latinx cultures. During this time, there are also local parades, films, and cultural events that students can enjoy, connecting their personal experiences with those from their own or another culture. For tips, check your local events listings for your city or county. Online searches also can help in finding memorable opportunities for students.
Get crafty and cooking. Try making maracas, corn husk dolls, or imitate Hispanic/Latinx artists. Ever had sopapillas, empanadas, or tres leche cake? These are some great food to begin trying, but you can ask your families for suggestions as well. You can still make favorites such as tacos, quesadillas, and guacamole, but introducing students may not have previously experienced. Bringing in cultural aspects such as these help to connect learners with visual aspects of the culture, share similar interests and experiences, and create a memorable artifact they can then take home and share with their families.
Listen to their voices. One of the best ways to learn about a new culture is through exploring literature written about or by people representing that culture. Know a parent willing to come and share their culture with the class? Invite them in and have them share. Listen to kid-friendly recordings read by Hispanic and Latinx authors. Read a variety of books, ranging from fiction to biographies. You can check out this article for some recommendations, visit the national website for suggestions, or head over to your school or local public library for suggestions. Some libraries have displays with popular and new titles written about the Hispanic and Latinx communities, so access to this information is literally a car ride or a few clicks away if you’re searching online.