dia de los muertos

Day of the Dead

My class learned about dia de los muertos, a traditional Mexican holiday. Yesterday, we read Day of the Dead by Tony Johnston. During the reading, the class had many stories to tell about how they or their families members have been affected by death.  This beautifully illustrated book tells about the events leading up to the dia de los muertos and what happens during this holiday. 

Last night, I went to the local market and purchased pan de muerto, sugar skulls, and marigolds.
Calaveras de Azucar - Sugar Candy Skulls Dia de Muertos - Large

These are all items used to create the ofrenda, an alter, honoring the loved ones who have passed away.  Some of my Vietnamese students talked about how they have an alter in their homes honoring those who passed away. 

These pictures are pictures of another first grade classroom's ofrenda.  In the center is pan de muerto, sugar skulls, and food for the departed to enjoy when their spirits return for this special night.

This afternoon, students made skull masks using four different colored markers.  We talked about symmetry as they colored in the mask.  They, then, cut out the masks and posed behind them. 

Scholastic News also has an Interactive Whiteboard version about dia de los muertos for those who order the Spanish version of this magazine.  Although, I do not order this for my class, I was able to access it using the code.  Please check with Scholastic about this if you are interested.

I hope this lesson will provoke you to explore other traditions and cultures from around the world.  What I liked about these lessons is that it showed death as something that is not scary but also it celebrated the traditions of others. 

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