Grades PreK–1

This lesson can be taught in 1–2 class periods.

Lesson Introduction:
The focus for younger students in Celebrate Hispanic Heritage is on culture and learning about one of the largest cultural groups in the United States, Hispanic Americans. Students will get a brief overview of the contributions they have made to this country and to the world.

Piñata Concentration Activity

1. Discuss the word heritage with students. Have a volunteer write student responses on the chalkboard. Explain that the concept of heritage is shaped by one's country of origin; different languages; rituals; foods; traditions; and forms of culture, such as dance and theater.

2. If you have a piñata, you can introduce the Piñata Concentration activity by bringing a piñata into class and allow students to share their own piñata experiences or any other background knowledge they may have. Then discuss how a piñata is made and what cultures and countries in Latin America incorporate piñatas in their festivities. If you do not have a piñata, you can skip this step.

3. Depending on the availability of computers, have all students play the Pinata Concentration Game in stations, individually, or in pairs, in a computer lab. Students can practice their Spanish vocabulary if they are bilingual and learn new words if they are not, as there are pictures that accompany each Spanish word.

4. In the My Heritage activity, seven Latino and Latina citizens discuss the importance of their Hispanic American heritage. Their observations help students to deepen their understanding of ideas related to heritage. For example, what heritage means, the similarities and differences in language and culture among Hispanic Americans, the diversity of backgrounds that shape the Hispanic American community, and the multicultural nature of the United States' population. Take the class through a tour of this activity, reading the text aloud for them, and then conduct a class discussion about the contributions of each.

Extend the Lesson:
Music, games, writing activities, crafts, and recipes offer excellent opportunities to appreciate and explore Hispanic Heritage.

Give your students the chance to sample foods from Latin countries with these easy recipes.
Corn Cakes

Source: This activity is from the book Culture Kit Mexico.

Dance Capes
Make a dance cape similar to those worn at Peruvian dance festivals.
Source: This activity is from the book Crafts of Many Cultures.

Hit the Penny
This game is popular with Chilean children. Try it in your classroom!
Source: This activity is from The Multicultural Game Book.

Getting to Know You
Have students try conversing in Spanish with these simple words and phrases.
Source: This activity is from the book Culture Kit Mexico.

Toma Todo From Mexico
Students can make a special top and play a popular Mexican game.
Source: This activity is from the book Multicultural Math.

Los Milagros
Help your students make icons to represent special wishes they want fulfilled. The fulfilled wishes are called milagros, which means "miracles."

Scavenger Hunt
Send students on a scavenger hunt to find things of Spanish origin in their communities.

Palabras = Words
Students match the Spanish words to their English counterparts by looking for similarities.

Ways to Celebrate
Here are some great ways you and your students can celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month!

Discussion starters:

• What do you do with a piñata?
• On what occasions do you hit a piñata?
• Do piñatas come in one or many shapes? Describe some of those shapes. What's inside a piñata?
• Do you know what country piñatas come from?
• What are some of the words you knew already in the Piñata concentration game? How did you learn these words?
• How do we learn about one another's culture without even trying?
• What is heritage?
• What does heritage mean to the (dancer, scientist, etc.)?
• What is your heritage?
• What does heritage mean to you?

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