Confession: I haven’t really celebrated Día de los muertos with my classes before. I know this is probably the ultimate Spanish-teacher sacrilege. I never saw it celebrated very much in Peru, and have had to self-educate myself here. To be honest, I kind of hate Halloween (death, witches, spiders, having to think of a costume) and just sort of lumped the two holidays together.
This year I am including Day of the Dead in each class, and wanted to share my research with you. I used to be unsure of how to treat holidays. I wanted to include culture, but teaching low-frequency words like “Christmas tree,” “candle,” or “skeleton” seemed a poor use of time. Now I’m discovering part of the reason comprehensible input is magic: I can use any theme or topic to give my students whole, living language. I tag right on to what they know and keep giving them input. We quickly write down unfamiliar words, and then get on with a fascinating MovieTalk, story, video using what we know so far. I’ll narrate a video Spanish 1 students using very simple language, and show the same video to Spanish 3 with more complicated language. How the students describe ofrendas or altars will depend on proficiency, and we can all write about loved one who has died, according to our different levels.
Thankfully, there is no need to reinvent the wheel. There are TONS of resources out there, and these are my favorites!
My Top Picks
I was already planning on using this sweet short film when I came across some amazing resources from Williamson CI & TPRS for doing a MovieTalk. Click here to access a PPT with text and screenshots, activities, and online games. There are also great embedded readings on customs in various countries as well. This is my favorite resource I’ve come across so far, and it’s free!
I will also be pulling resouces from Kara Jacobs and Elena Lopez. They collaborated to create a huge packet of readings and activities. I love how you get rich, interesting language, not just a list of holiday vocabulary.
This is a really beautiful look into Mexican culture as well:
Websites and Information in Spanish:
Great information and summary of what happens in different Latin American countries for Día de los muertos. (I found this through Mis Cositas.)
Authentic resource for an interview with Cecilia Sandover in Ecuador.
Vocabulary for ofrendas in this great infographic from Xoximilco blog:
The Book of Life
I can’t work in the movie this year, but here are some resources anyway.
Short films for MovieTalk:
Informational videos in Spanish:
Again, resources from Kara Jacobs and Elena Lopez are great for La Santa Cecilia.
Flor de Cempasuchil:
Como hacer una Catrina:
Day of the Dead Makeup:
Making an ofrenda with Sra. Cruz and 4 other ideas.
Free color-by-number Calavera from Spanish Playground.
List of links from SpanglishBaby for younger students.
Like it? Pin it!