Dia de los Muertos

In 3rd grade…

Day 1: We had this handout that we put in our interactive notebooks: dia-de-los-muertos-colores-and-essential-vocab

Day 2: We read this article: day-of-the-dead-colored-spanish

Day 3: We practiced what we wanted our sugar skulls to look like on paper

Day 4-8: Students collaborated with art to create beautiful sugar skulls on cardboard.

November 2nd is the day that Dia de los muertos is celebrated in Mexico. It begins on October 31st and ends on November 2nd. I collaborated with the very talented art teacher in 3rd grade and the students each created awesome sugar skulls made out of cardboard, tempera paint, and oil pastels. They then wrote a short letter on the back in Spanish to someone they were remembering.

The most powerful part of this lesson was helping reframe the way we talk about loss, and how we remember our loved ones who have passed. Most students were able to grasp how, in Mexican culture, we shift the focus on sadness, and rather celebrate our love for those who have passed.

When an 8th grade student read her sister’s letter, she didn’t quite understand why it said, “estoy feliz” (I am happy) “estoy bien” (I am well). I believe that starting to reframe the conversations we have about our loss, can help the healing process for children and adults, and they learn an invaluable lesson about culture.

In 4th grade…

Day 1: We had this handout that we put in our interactive notebooks: dia-de-los-muertos-colores-and-essential-vocab

Day 2: We read the same article from 3rd grade.

Day 3: We wrote letters on legal paper that folded into a sugar skull, and folded out to form a letter. The example is from a student who had never had prior Spanish instruction. Example: asha-dia-de-los-muertos-1-1

Day 4-8: We created paper collages, with sugar skulls representing Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo.

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