Schools Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

Schools Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month
Posted on 10/27/2020
Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on September 15 and ending on October 15. It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988, on the approval of Public Law 100-402.

In addition to teaching about present-day and historical figures, Hispanic Heritage Month also serves as an opportunity for educators to introduce their students to new cultural practices, or to honor those that students may already practice. Viewed through the lens of equity, it is vital to teach our students about the contributions of Hispanic Americans not only from an educational perspective, but from an economic one as well.

The following highlights are just a sampling of some of the many ways the Montclair Public Schools virtually celebrated National Hispanic Heritage Month.

First grade students listened to Alma and How She Got Her Name and will celebrated their own names. Second graders learned about the importance of family in Hispanic culture, and celebrated their own families, answering questions in Spanish about their family members.In grade three, students learned about the Spanish-speaking countries and celebrated their own heritage, answering questions in Spanish about where they, their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents are from. Students in fourth grade learned about the history of Hispanic Heritage Month, and some famous Hispanics. Grade five students researched a famous Hispanic-American and answered questions in Spanish as if they were that person. Students also learned about Día de los Muertos, which is celebrated in many Spanish-speaking countries such as Mexico, Columbia, Ecuador, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Peru, and Venezuela.

Across the grades, students were introduced Latin America. They learned about Latin American languages, diverse cultures, food, locations, and other important facts; located countries on a map; discussed important Hispanic figures including their legacy, influence, and inspirational messages; and tried the basic steps to dance Salsa.

Students learned the scope of Hispanic language and culture in our world. Learning and using new vocabulary and questions, maps and internet research, and each assigned one Spanish speaking country, students strove toward saying where their country is in the world, describing the flag of their country, naming other Spanish speaking countries and knowing where they are and responding to questions. Students identified: Hispanic heritage in their own families (sometimes a revelation to themselves!); Hispanic people they know in their communities (friends, caregivers, bus drivers, neighbors, merchants, etc.); Hispanic persons in our own Northeast School staff (also a revelation to them) and meeting them virtually, asking them questions about their family’s country of origin, whether they speak Spanish and when, and a favorite cultural characteristic, celebration or memory.

Buzz Aldrin
Students experienced the sense of Latin cultural pride through the song of Spanish speaking countries entitled, “La Gozadera,” created by Cuban singing team, Gente de Zona and Marc Anthony by watching the official video, listening to the lyrics and identifying names of Spanish-speaking countries in the song. Through games and speaking tasks, students learned the capitals and nationality names in Spanish. Learners have researched and discovered there are other languages, dialects and indigenous languages spoken in many countries whose official language is Spanish, such as Quechua, Aymara, Guaraní and Mayan Amerindian languages, to name just a few. Students identified several life-changing events that have significantly affected the lives of people throughout the Spanish-speaking diaspora. They learned of the strong bond that exists among a people who share the resilience to overcome obstacles, along with a joy of living that shines through in the rhythm of “La Gozadera.” The culminating project was the creation of “Poemas Diamantes” which gave students the opportunity to express their thoughts about what they learned via history, current events and Hispanic culture.

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latina slide  latina slide

The theme of Glenfield’s First Virtual Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration was “Empowered Latinas.” Students created Google Slide presentations to celebrate and recognize empowered Latinas who are not afraid to break barriers and push boundaries of what a woman is capable of doing. (See some of the work above.) The goal/objective of the project was to embrace and celebrate the diversity and willpower of each Empowered Latina.

High school students saw a PowerPoint presentation with information about the most famous Spanish people, recognizing their achievements and contributions to the United States. Students obtained information about César Chávez, The Pope, Dolores Huerta and Isabel Allende. AP classes created infographics, posters and Google slides about famous Hispanic people.
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