Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos)
The Day of the Dead or Día de los Muertos observed November 1st and 2nd is a vibrant and profoundly meaningful tradition that originated in central and southern Mexico during the Aztec Empire. People believe that on these days, the spirits of the deceased return to their earthly families for a happy, fun, celebratory ritual. The deceased loved ones are honored in a variety of colorful, festive and pensive traditions that happen over these 2 days. This celebration is in contrast to how death is remembered in some cultures as sad, solemn and serious.
“The word death is not pronounced in New York, Paris or in London, because it burns the lips. The Mexican, in contrast, is familiar with death, jokes about it, caresses it, sleeps with it, celebrates it; it is one of his favorite toys and his most steadfast love.” -Octavio Paz, The Labyrinth of Solitude, 1961.
Streets, homes, churches and cemeteries come alive with folkloric art and are adorned with brilliant marigold flowers, favorite foods and drinks of those passed, sugar skulls, alters, and offerings. Día de los Muertos combines ancient indigenous Aztec rituals with Catholic traditions introduced by the Spanish conquistadors and the result is a brilliant, colorful, festive celebration of life!
Our team of Spanish teachers has created various days of lesson plans for Spanish Teachers to implement into their classroom leading up to Día de los Muertos. These lessons focus on teaching about Día de los Muertos through various literacy, music, and art-based activities. In the process of participating in these literacy and hand’s on activities, students will acquire how other cultures view death and better understand the cultural significance and purpose of Día de los Muertos celebrations.
¡Cultural Activities That Save You Time!
Solution # 1- Guided Student Investigation | Intro to DDLM
If you have the desire to teach your students about Día de los Muertos this year, but don’t currently have:
- The instructional time to sneak it into your lessons
- The time to look for high quality resources (or the energy)
- Or the time to figure out where to start (lot of information out there)
Download this FREE Introduction to Día de los Muertos Activity for your students
This takes ZERO prep time on your part and hardly any instructional time if any, and I have done all the vetting work for you. All you need to do is:
- Grab the download to this guided student activity
- Assign it to your students for homework
Solution # 2 — Guided Student Reading & Vocabulary
This DDLM activity is focused on the unique vocabulary centered around this holiday. It includes:
- a texto corto en español
- a comprehensive DDLM vocabulary list with Spanish definitions
- a Spanish word search of the DDLM vocabulary
This student guided activity for you today does not take up a ton of instructional time. Simply:
- Download this reading and vocabulary activity
- Assign it for homework
Of course, if you would like to bring it into the classroom, go for it.
My goal is to share relevant, authentic and easy to implement activities for your Spanish classes… thank you for joining me and sharing your ideas also!
Purchase this unit of Día de los Muertos activities and lesson plans TODAY!
IN THIS CULTURAL LESSON YOU WILL GET …
Diverse and easy to implement activities! Pick or choose which lessons and activities you would like to use or use all of them. You can use them in sequential order or not! The 3 lessons are:
- Introducción a Día de los Muertos ¿Qué es el Día de los Muertos?
- Delve deeper into the history and traditions. DDLM authentic text, vocabulary & comprehension questions
- Student led presentations, creation and re-enactment of the following 3 traditions: (all investigative materials, step-by-step instructions and recipes are included, just need to hand out to students) calaveritas de azúcar, ofrendas y pan de muerto
The following templates, lesson plans, materials, activities are included in this lesson:
- Article: Día de los Muertos text is written primarily in the present and past tenses and is great for advanced beginning levels and beyond. Vocabulary and comprehension questions are included.
- Pan de Muerto Recipe in Spanish and English (tie in command form lesson into baking)
- Step by Step Instructions to build your own Ofrenda in Spanish and English
- Template to implement a Día de los Muertos cultural experience in your classroom. Follow this to have a student directed cultural celebration in your classroom. You students will present, create and re-enact 3 traditions. All materials included
- Fun, creative calaveras coloring pages
- Resources to videos, songs, and more activities all about Día de los Muertos
- Easy to follow lesson plans included
GET THIS CULTURAL UNIT and all lesson materiales, templates and activities!
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