Sunday, October 18, 2015

Dia De los Muertos

It's Dia de los Muertos time! It's SO HARD to choose a theme in October.  Over the years, I've accumulated so many wonderful products featuring baths, spiders, pumpkins, and nocturnal animals.  Last year, my fiance and I decided to actually spend a Halloween together, and we were stumped to find a couple's costume we both wanted. Finally, we picked Dia de los Muertos skeletons, and my October in Kindergarten changed completely! 

We absolutely love Open Wide World's Mini Pack featuring Scrappin Doodles clip art!

 I altered one of the coloring pages provided in the pack and made it into a Color By Number for the kids to do as a Fast Finisher activity. Great decoration for our outward-facing window!

 We worked on using sight words in our sentences with our Dia de los Muertos theme in mind! The kids LOVED learning about sugar skulls.  I really emphasized that the skulls were NOT supposed to be scary.  I have a few little nuggets who don't celebrate Halloween who asked if they could learn this.  It's really important to clarify to both students AND parents that Dia de los Muertos is NOT the Mexican version of Halloween! It is a day that simply remembers the dead, similar to how we remember veterans on Veterans' Day. 
We also tried our best to learn some Spanish words.  I always try to teach my students about having empathy for kids AND PARENTS who are trying to learn English.  One year, I had a student ask a Spanish-speaking mother "Why can't you speak English good?" It really startled her, and witnessing the event made me prioritize teaching this as part of our classroom culture. Part of teaching that empathy is encouraging students to try to say some Spanish words, even if it sounds funny.  Usually the Spanish-speaking kids BEAM during this part, finally having a chance to excel at something language related! I encourage them to use "calavera" when taking about sugar skulls, and "papel picado" for the traditional paper decorations.

 The boys LOVED making their black sombreros.  I pre-traced them in silver sharpie and they simply cut them out.  I printed these black roses from Microsoft word...not the prettiest when cut out, but definitely enough for the boys in my group! They loved making their own fancy hats.

The ladies colored their own marigolds, cut them out, and pasted them to sentence strips for hats. 

 When the time came, we made our masks for the "Walk of the Dead" parade! I had a parent cut the eyes out beforehand, but the kids colored and cut the mask out.  I just stuck a fat popsicle stick to the side. Then we took to the streets! (Well, within the school grounds!) We marched outside in a line and did one lap around our school :)

 After the parade, we came inside for a surprise party! Pan de Muertos for everyone from our local Mexican shop (although, I had to go to three places to find it.  Dia de los Muertos is ONLY celebrated by one tiny part of Mexico, so I actually had to ask my Mexican families to keep an eye out for me at the store!) We were so lucky to have a mom make us homemade tamales and bring some Mexican jello as well.

Food always makes for a memorable cultural experience!

I usually make this a two week unit.  We also use Cara's Creative Playground's Day of the Dead pack.
I think it's kind of geared for older kids, I extracted what I could use and I LOVE the non-fiction printable book that comes with it!
WHICH brings me to my own Dia de los Muertos creation! I'm using this pack for math homework this week! Half this week, and the other half next week.  It's FREE! :) Enjoy. 

Not included in the pack is this no-prep dice roll game.  I absolutely love these as Fast Finisher activities.


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