Earn your M.Ed. online with Concordia University. Scholarships now available.
 
|
 

Mexico's Day of the Dead

Grade Levels: 3 - 8

Overview

By studying the Day of the Dead, a Mexican holiday, students gain an understanding that various cultures have differing views of life and death.

Objectives

  • Students will discuss how death is associated in our culture.
  • Students will compare and contrast U.S. attitudes toward death with those of Mexico.
  • Students will find the main idea of a paragraph.

Materials

Procedure

  1. Review the following vocabulary words: festivity, mourning, cultural differences.

  2. Ask students to take a few minutes to write down what comes to their minds when they think of "death." Ask them to consider various rituals surrounding death and dying, such as funerals. Call on volunteers to share their ideas and write responses on the board. The ethnic diversity of your class may affect the range of answers you receive.

  3. Ask if anyone has heard of the Day of the Dead, a holiday celebrated in Mexico. Briefly tell the students that Mexicans have a different approach to death than do many Americans. Give students a copy of our Day of the Dead fact sheet.

  4. Have a student read the title and the first paragraph of this page aloud. Call on someone else to explain what the main idea is in that paragraph. Remind students that the main idea of a paragraph is usually introduced in the first sentence. Have students read the next three paragraphs independently and identify the main idea for each.

  5. After students have finished reading the article and viewing the photo, invite them to share some newfound information about the Mexican celebration of the Day of the Dead. Place these ideas and thoughts on the board.

  6. Direct students to write an essay comparing and contrasting their own view of death with that portrayed in the article. If they write more than one paragraph, remind them to use main ideas for each paragraph.

Assessment

Extensions

  • Have students read books about the Day of the Dead and give book talks. Here are some titles to consider: Pablo Remembers: The Fiesta of the Day of the Dead, by George Ancona; Barrilete: A Kite for the Day of the Dead, by Elisa Amado and Joya Hairs; and Day of the Dead: A Mexican-American Celebration, by Diane Hoyt-Goldsmith and Lawrence Migdale.
  • Have students research All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day.

Highlights

Back to School Headquarters
August is Back to School Month and many of you will be returning to the classroom very soon. Feeling unprepared? We have you covered! Check out our very best resources and advice for New Teachers (applicable for the new and experienced), as well as Bulletin Board ideas, Icebreakers, Open House materials, and general Classroom Management tips for a successful new school year.

Special Offers for Teachers Newsletter
Do you receive our Special Offers for Teachers newsletter? Each month, we send out FREE resources to all of our subscribers. Our next issue (August 12) features a collection of our best Back-to-School materials—that's right, sign up now and get them for free!

Discounts for Teachers
Start the new school year with cash in your pocket! We have some great ways to save money on the supplies that keep your classroom running: Money-Saving Tips for Teachers and Free & Cheap Rewards for Students. Plus, check out our Discounts for Teachers so you can save on office supplies, clothing, books, crafts and fabric, travel, and more!

August Calendar of Events
August is full events that you can incorporate into your standard curriculum. Our Educators' Calendar outlines activities for each event, including: Friendship Day (8/2), President Obama's Birthday (8/4/1961), Astronaut Neil Armstrong's Birthday (8/5/1930), International Art Appreciation Day (8/9), International Youth Day (8/12), Aviation Day (8/19), Tooth Fairy Day (8/22), International Day for Remembrance of Slave Trade & Its Abolition (8/23), and Women's Equality Day (8/26). Plus, celebrate Back to School Month and Get Ready for Kindergarten Month all August long!

Poptropica Teaching Guides
Poptropica is one of the Internet's most popular sites for kids—and now it's available as an app for the iPad! It's not just a place to play games; each of the islands featured on the site provides a learning opportunity. Check out our teaching guides to four of Poptropica's islands: 24 Carrot Island, Time Tangled Island, Mystery Train Island, and Mythology Island.

Free 7-Day Trial for TeacherVision®

Sign up for a free trial and get access
to our huge library of teaching materials!

Start Trial