Saturday, November 5, 2011

Learning about Dia de Los Muertos

Last week was an exciting week in kindergarten. After all of the Halloween festivities at school on Monday, we picked right up with another celebration the next day. On Tuesday my students and I learned all about Dia de Los Muertos-The Day of the Dead. This is a holiday celebrated in Mexico, and it was a great opportunity to expose my students to another culture.

I have to thank Mrs. Parker for this idea-she shared some great resources on her blog. I began by sharing with my students a little bit about what the Day of the Dead is, and how people celebrate it. We discussed how this is not a scary holiday, but instead how it is a time where families can remember loved one that have passed away. Many of my students shared memories about relatives they missed, like grandmas and grandpas, that were no longer with them.

Even the skeletons associated with this holiday look festive to me! I didn't have any Day of the Dead books, so instead we read a past version of Scholastic News about Day of the Dead that Mrs. Parker recommended. You can find it here (the English version starts on page 5). It had pictures of the celebration and explained many of the traditions.

I set up a little Day of the Dead display for my students with some items I had collected. I happened to be visiting family in Chicago last weekend and had the chance to visit the wonderful National Museum of Mexican Art which was running an exhibit on the Day of the Dead. I snapped a few photos to share with my kids. The museum also had a woman making the little sugar skulls for Day of the Dead, so I picked up a set to bring to my class. I also visited a Mexican bakery where I found some of the special "pan de muertos" or bread of the dead. My students were very curious about this!

I downloaded the free skull mask here for my students to decorate. After they decorated their masks we attached them to popsicle sticks and had a bit of an impromptu parade around the classroom. We also enjoyed learning some Spanish words throughout the day. I then encouraged my students to take their masks home and teach their families about the Day of the Dead.


  1. Awesome Mer! Mom would love this.

  2. I am so happy you choose to do this lesson. It is truly one of my favorites.

  3. We did the masks too! I will have to take pictures next week and post them. I was going to find sugar skulls and pan de muerto, but time got away from me. One of my student's families owns a Mexican store... I wonder if they'd have the stuff still a week later?? And I'll have to go to the Mexican art museum! I already want to go to the Chinese American Museum of Chicago so I'll just add the art museum on to the trip!!

    Thank you so much for your kind words about Words Their Way!! I'm borrowing the book from the library for now so I'll try it and see what happens!

    Marvelous Multiagers!