Hispanic Heritage Month deserves more than a sweeping overview of diverse cultures and contributions. Try these tips for a thoughtful celebration of Hispanic heritage. When you’ve built lessons that cover topics like identity and diversity into your year-round learning plans, themed months presentSep 19, 2019
Hispanic Heritage Month deserves more than a sweeping overview of diverse cultures and contributions. Try these tips for a thoughtful celebration of Hispanic heritage.
When you’ve built lessons that cover topics like identity and diversity into your year-round learning plans, themed months present an opportunity to delve a little more deeply into the study of culture. Here are five ways to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 – October 15).
1. Start with your own classroom.
In many parts of Arizona, people of Hispanic or Latinx heritage make up a significant part of our population, and your students’ experiences are likely as diverse as what it means to be Latino.
In the spirit of honoring cultural heritage, invite all of your students to write a short narrative about their families’ cultural backgrounds, histories, or heritage. Ask them to interview family members about where their favorite traditions or sayings come from and then share their findings with the class. Students will see that even within cohesive demographic groups, there’s much more variety than we’re often aware of.
2. Research significant historical figures.
This is perhaps the most common way to honor any given heritage, but it doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea. Have students research and report on someone of Hispanic descent who has had an impact on history. Allow students to choose their topic of study — this usually leads to higher quality deliverables.
3. Invite guest speakers.
What better way to learn about what being of Hispanic descent means than by speaking to a member of your community? Consider inviting an organizational leader, businessperson, or other local figure to speak to your classroom about what it means to be in a cultural community.
4. Tune into pop culture.
If you’re looking for buy-in from your students, search no further than what’s on the radio or in the newspaper. People of Latin and Hispanic descent make significant contributions to literature, entertainment, politics, music, sports, food, and other areas. Build in some experiential learning while you’re at it — break down a popular recipe, or learn the words to a bilingual song.
5. Look inward.
After learning about the history of Latinx and Hispanic leaders, challenge students to think more deeply about their own cultural identities. What have they gleaned from these lessons? What place do their cultural identities occupy in the larger sense of who they are? How can they use cultural knowledge to build relationships with people who are similar or different?
Having a nuanced understanding of diversity and identity is important for each and every student, especially in a multicultural society like our own. Make no mistake — every time you show your students that the traditions they’ve grown up with should be recognized, understood, and respected, your entire classroom will reap the benefit.