Celebrating People, Places, and Culture in the Classroom

Celebrating People, Places, and Culture in the Classroom

By Kelli Drummer-Avendano

As the school year begins, it’s time to celebrate! Celebrate the diverse people, places, and cultures that can be found in our communities and classrooms.

People

Hispanic Heritage Month runs from September 15 to October 15. Take the opportunity to learn about influential Hispanic personalities of the past. For example, the series Personajes del mundo hispánico from Dos Tomatillos offers students in grades 3-5 the chance to get to know important people from the Hispanic world who have made history in different arenas. For example, Conoce a Mario Moreno “Cantinflas,” is about a famous Mexican comedian who devoted his life to making people laugh and who is still beloved throughout the Spanish-speaking world. Choose several historic figures to learn about as a class, then have students select their favorite person and write a “fan” letter to him or her. In the letter, they should explain why they’re a fan and ask questions they still have for the person after reading about his or her life.

Places

Thanks to Dos Tomatillos you can also explore Spanish-speaking countries with the Puertas al Sol series. Vuelo del quetzal is a featured title that will transport your students to the beautiful landscapes of Latin America. Award-winning author Alma Flor Ada describes this part of the world in the only language capable of capturing its wonders: poetry. After reading the book, show students photos of different Latin American landscapes. Then ask students to write a simple poem about the photo that inspires them the most.

Culture

Celebrating different cultures and their contributions to humankind is an important part of creating a diverse classroom. The 2021 Caldecott Medal winner, Somos guardianes del agua, is a moving portrayal of the connection North American indigenous groups have with Mother Earth and their fight to protect water as a sacred source of life. Students will delight in this celebrated book with its lovely illustrations and descriptive text. As a class, brainstorm ideas about how each of us can be protectors of water. Students can create posters encouraging others to conserve water and protect this natural resource that all life depends upon. If possible, hang up the posters around your school or begin an environmental club to help students inform others about issues related to caring for our Earth.

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