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October 11, 2011

Teach Your Students About the Day of the Dead

Written By: Brandi Jordan
X Teach Students About the Day of the Dead

Teach Students About the Day of the Dead

Dead of the Day celebrations are held November 1st and 2nd.  While this holiday may not be one that you grew up with, for many of your ESL/ELL students, it is an important family tradition.  In addition to making your ESL/ELL students feel included when you teach it, it is also a great opportunity to expose your students to a holiday that they may not be familiar with while also teaching them about art.

The Day of the Dead

The Day of the Dead is a celebration that is held in many Latin American countries.  It is when the spirits of those who have passed on are believed to return for a visit.  It is a cause for celebration, and although the symbol used to represent the festivities is a skeleton, it is meant to bring laughter and smiles.  The most famous skeleton artwork was done by Jose Guadalupe Posada.  Introduce your students to the famous artist as a chance to integrate art appreciation into your curriculum.

Make the lesson a hands-on activity by having students create their own skeletons and then write about them.  Graphic organizers can help them organize their thoughts and develop critical thinking skills.  If there is enough time, you may want to have the students create paper mache skeletons for a truly intense art integration project.

As with all holidays, the purpose is to teach students about cultural similarities and differences.  The sense of community that occurs when students begin to learn that classmates of different cultures have a lot in common with them leads to less behavior and bullying issues.  Respecting differences, embracing similarities, and having fun learning about new traditions and celebrations – that is what teaching about the Day of the Dead can do for you.

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