We have a celebration in the gym. Our 1st and 2nd grade classes make ofrendas with their families as a At Home Family Project. We decorate the gym with artwork. A fellow teacher and I make a huge ofrenda on the gym stage with pictures and artifacts from our family. We invite families and serve juice and cookies. Some mothers have joined us and make a big ofrenda on a table. We have done this three years in a row and each year gets better.
In our Spanish 2 class we have all decided to celebrate El Dia de los Muertos we set up an altar in the back of our classroom and have done many little projects to decorate the Ofrenda.
Each one of my classes choose a teacher or administrator that they want to “honor”. We pretend that person is dead and give them a questionnaire to fill out about the things they liked while they were “alive”. Then we build an “ofrenda” in each class to honor the chosen person. We incorporate their answers on the questionnaire to help us decide what to put on the “ofrenda”.
In my Spanish 2 Honors classes we discuss Dia de los Muertos and what the components are of an ofrenda. The students then make a poster depicting what would be on their own ofrenda. They are also required to write a summary of why they chose the items on the poster. They must include the basic elements of an ofrenda as well. It is a good activity for this age group and it makes them reflect about the things that are important in their own life.
Students create a skeleton which resembles the traditional Day of the Dead skeleton. The skeleton is comprised of seperate pieces made from construction paper (arms, legs skull etc) each piece will contain an adjective pertaining to Dia de Los Muertos. Once the skeleton is put together you have your descriptive skeleton and students can create a narrative based on those words
For my Spanish II, I have them write a about a loved one (person or pet) and tell me about things they only did once. This helps me teach them the Preterite and Day of the Dead. I have my Spanish III students do the same. I also have a little competition with my Spanish III. They have to make an alter honoring someone or they can have a theme. It is always enjoyable to see a friendly competition between them and them actually research things that have to do with Dia de los Muertos without them knowing that they are learning about it.