This week could have been a teaching nightmare… the end of a trimester, spirit week for the homecoming game/dance, AND Halloween!

The students’ minds were pulled in a million directions. If we really want to help our students learn we have to be creative to compete with life outside of our classes. Día de Muertos seemed like a great way to end the week, still be involved in school dress up days, and connect the language with culture.

Here’s a snapshot of how we celebrated at my school!

1.) I challenged them to wear a Hispanic-themed costume for “Halloween” day. Not every student did it, but a lot did. This opened up conversations about “Catrina” and “La Llorona.”

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2.) I posted a QR code of this video (in Spanish) of how to make papel picado. All my classes got to test their hand at this and most gained a lot of respect for those who chisel out such intricate designs. I was really surprised at how this engaged some of my hard-to-reach students.


3.) I bought a few little pumpkins, sprayed them white, and left them in the class to be decorated. They were the perfect way to grab students’ attention. I love how they turned out! IMG_9509

I didn’t bring “pan de muerto”, make ofrendas, or decorate sugar skulls (which are all great experiences). This wasn’t a huge in-depth unit on Mexico. However, these experiences gave students a taste of culture, helped the language come to life, and motivated students to keep learning!

Never waste a day – but don’t be afraid to adjust your learning target to meet students where they are… that’s where learning happens!