Dear Future Teachers,
We are entering the last week of Latinx Heritage Month, and I hope I've been able to provide useful resources for you thus far! I wanted to emphasize that teaching and celebrating Latinx identities and cultures shouldn't end on October 15. Your Latinx students are Latinx year-round, so they should feel welcome and visible within the classroom space year-round. Latinx Heritage Month is a dedicated month nationwide to honor and celebrate the Latinx cultures, histories, and contributions to the world, but that love and respect should continue throughout the rest of the year, too. Here are long-term things you can do to recognize Latinx identities throughout the whole school-year!
Keep those posters up!
If you have pictures of important Latinx figures hanging up on the walls, leave them there year-round! You can even add to the collection throughout the year and incorporate these Latinx identities throughout your lessons. The representation in your classroom doesn't have to end with Latinx Heritage Month. If you're looking for ideas of people you can highlight in your classroom space, I have a list of Latinxs and their accomplishments in my previous post 5 Latinxs To Talk About In Your Classroom.
Continue reading Latinx authors/stories.
There are thousands of books published that are written by and/or feature Latinx individuals, so don't feel like you have to fit a bunch of literature in just the 30 days of Latinx Heritage Month. Your classroom library can always have books in this category available, and you can choose to teach a lesson surrounding a Latinx character at any point in the year. Let's normalize incorporating Latinx authors into our regular curriculum! If you're searching for new books to introduce to the classroom, I have recommendations for all K-12 levels in my post Celebrating Latinx Heritage Month.
Play classroom games, like Kahoot, with facts about Latin America/Latinxs
When I was in school, classroom games like Jeopardy or Kahoot were fun ways to learn classroom content. Sometimes learning can feel like a chore, so to help your students stay engaged in lessons about Latin America or Latinxs, you can create and play games for them to participate in. Another idea you can use is playing a traditional game found in some Latinx cultures. One example is the game La Lotería; which is a Mexican game similar to bingo, which can also help introduce Spanish words into your students' vocabularies! Below I have provided links to a Latinx-oriented Kahoot that my friend and I created for a recent event and a link to instructions for La Lotería.
Incorporate Spanish in the classroom
In addition to playing lotería, you can incorporate Spanish into your everyday classroom instruction. In the K-5 grade levels, this can look like having a calendar in your classroom with the days of the week listed in English and Spanish. When teaching new vocabulary words, you can offer Spanish translations. Not only do your student's get to learn, but if you're not a native Spanish speaker, you can learn something new, too! Get creative when using Spanish in the classroom, the possibilities are endless!
Keep expanding your own knowledge!
One of the best ways to benefit your students is to actively seek new knowledge yourself! It is never too late to educate yourself on new cultures and histories. Keep exposing yourself to Latinx literature, movies, and music, stay updated on news regarding Latin America or Latinxs in the U.S., attend or organize events in your community celebrating Latinx cultures, learn Spanish or Portuguese, try traditional Latinx foods, and become familiar with the history of Latinx people in the U.S.. Not only will this help expand your own perspective, but it allows you to understand and connect with your students in new ways.
I hope this year's Latinx Heritage Month was informative and that my series of posts have helped create ideas to add to your own classrooms! Even though LHM is coming to an end, the relationship you build with your students will last the rest of the school year. Students might not remember the academic lessons you teach them 10 years down the road, but they will remember how you make them feel. Try to make every student feel seen and loved in your space, and you will make a difference!