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 Culture & Traditions

Day of the Dead Teacher Suggested Activities

I’m a parent volunteer at my daughters’ school. This year I am teaching Spanish (my native tongue) to our Kindergarten class. For “El Dia de los Muertos” we learned about the traditions of the holiday and then we made “skeleton necklaces” out of pasta. Since I only have 30 minutes to work with this was a quick and easy project (I provided the yarn and pasta & the kids strung the necklaces). They loved this activity and everyone wore their necklaces home.

Pasta Skeleton by Becoming Homegrown


We are doing a multidisciplinary project at my high school. We will transform the school library into a Mexican home and cemetery. Some Spanish classes will build an ofrenda and cemetery scene while others classes will do posters and dioramas. The advanced classes will do a PowerPoint presentation and do a news program on site from a Mexican city. The Art classes will be learning the skeletal body and create skeletons for our celebration. A pottery class will make clay objects for the ofrenda and another art class will make “nichos’. The Music department will teach Mariachi music to their students to play in the Library. Finally our Baking students will learn how to make the Pan de Muerto and the Calaveras.
Students will honor their deceased love ones on our Ofrenda.

Paul Grillo
Durfee High School
Fall River, Mass.

My students read a short story, entitled “Ghost Wings” and an informational text about the holiday. After reading, we discuss the different information and perspectives present in both texts. Next, I have the students create ofrendas; they can use items that honor a relative or represent themselves through objects and images. Finally, students mold calaveras out of Sculpi clay. I bake the skeletons, and then let the kids decorate them the next day. Make sure to buy safety pins and/or self-adhesive magnetic strips so that the kids can make their calaveras into pins or magnets.

Emily McCarter
In the past I’ve taught my Spanish classes about Day of the Dead. Then I invite them to think about a person they’d like to celebrate for Day of the Dead. We have honored Diego Rivera (my idea, the first time!), a teacher from our high school that died the previous year, a deceased brother of a boy in class (always with family’s permission), the people who were killed on 9/11. In each case (where applicable) the kids found out the person’s favorite foods, hobbies, got photos, etc. and that was incorporated into our ofrenda. The kids really get the idea of how warm, loving and refreshing Day of the Dead is. This year one class will remember one of my student’s grandfather who passed on earlier this fall.
Jennie Lewis

Hola! In my classes I have the students do word searches and they really enjoy using the color PURPLE. I also have them make shadow boxes and sugar skulls. It goes over SO well! Enjoy!
Jose Berlyoung

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