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Compiled By: shazam

Here are some ideas for teaching students about Mexico.

Posted by: Jan

I have lots of ideas for Mexico. I developed an entire unit last year for a Master's class. It takes up an entire 3 ring binder. First, have your local high school spanish club-class come over once a week for the two week.s Ours does research on their names an every one gets a spanish name. The next week we learn the colors, numbers, months etc. Jump start or reader rabbit has a spanish K version which is great for computer center. Our music teacher sings songs from the culture and makes a Tortuga puppet with them after doing the book. My Mexico book is at school but if you want more and lots more email me directly. Send me your address and I will mail you some pages of great ideas. We end with a Fiesta- we make clothes. The kids love it and really learn about the culture. We do a entire lesson on the flag. It is a very educational activity.

Posted by: katy

We just did a unit on Mexico at the Kindergarten level. As for learning factual information, I read a book from the library (the one published most recently) a few pages per day. After reading, I asked students to recall one piece of information they heard while I was reading. As they did, I dismissed them for snack/recess. They really recalled a lot! We also did a variety of projects:
-learned that the ancient Mayan people discovered zero and created a mathematic system based on lines and dots. We did addition and subtraction problems using their # symbols. (Mayan math)
-We learned Spanish language words and played Simon says "Simon dice"
-We learned about artist Diego Rivera and made a mural similar to his work
-We learned about bark painting and made our own by crumpling squares cut out from grocery store bags until they were really soft, then used special wax crayons to make colorful nature pictures (we found them in books) on them
-We used large colored butcher paper squares, put wall paper paste on them, shaped them around students' heads, tied a string around their head, lifted it up and put crumpled newspaper inside to hold the shape of the head, trimmed and rolled the edges to make a sombrero. Decorate with fabric, pom pom balls,etc. We learned the Mexican Hat dance. We also made rebozos (colored cloth with fabric crayons) which are used to hold a baby or groceries, wrapped around you like a sling and serapes- painted a grocery bag, trimmed the ends to make it look like fringe.
We made maracas by putting beans in egg cups, sticking a popsicle stick in the bottom, taping, dipping newspaper in liquid starch and covering them, drying, then painting to decorate.
Good luck!

Posted by: KIM

our five 3rd grade teachers does a unit on Mexico to wrap up the year. We were featured in the newspaper last year. One of our favorite activites is the culminating activity. We go out on the front lawn and set up a trading market. each child brings something from home to trade, or trades one of their art projects. It is so much fun. Each class makes sombrerros(forgive spelling) out of posterboard, chalk, and plastic bowls(I can explain in an e-mail if you are interested). We also have shawls(I know there is a Spanish word for it - ponchos, mayb3?)out of colored butcher paper. My class makes a doll that was a really big hit last year and it looks so authentic. You take clothes pins that do not have a spring, really colorful yarn and wrap the yarn around the clothespins, I used multi-colored yarn, and mine were adorable. I got that idea out of a mailbox book. Again, i would be happy to share exact directions in an e-mail. Also, each child make an edible cactus, using butterscotch chips and crunchy chinese noodles. Those were a big hit also. We have a large Hispanic population at our school, so we called on those ESL students to share with us. Last year, one mom made some authentic food for us. It was delicious, but so spicy. My third grader was so proud and he told us that mom tried to make it without being hot. My kids were amazed. FUN UNIT!!

Posted by: Jan

Depending on what grade I would have a center party with seveal good to eat treats and craft treats to compliment the party. Taco's are great and easy to do for a large grp- have hamburger in crock pot, some cheese, some salsa, lettuce and you have it. Kids love tacos and parents can donate some things. Have a center to teach the Mexican hat dance with music- kids love this. Then the hot Mexican chocolate center, Have them make a Gods Eye and a Mexican flag making center. AT the end break open the pinata(can buy at Wal-Marts-cheap)parents usually will donate the candy. I have developed a whole theme unit on Mexico which ends with Fiesta. Lots of ideas.

Posted by: Erica

I teach 5th and we do a Unit study on the Mayans of Mexico. One book that I read to my students as a Read Aloud was called "Me Oh Maya" by John Scieska. It is part of the Time Warp Trio Series. My students loved it and it told alot about the culture of the Mayans. It is definately a 3rd grade level book, but it was so approprieate for our content area. This is all I can think of off the top of my head. Good luck and I hope this head!


mexico door decoration
Posted by: donna clark

1. Make your door a Mexican flag
2. Get a colorful serape to cover your door, and attach a Mexican hat to that, with a pair of sandals; or draw a Mexican boy seated at the bottom of the door, wearing the sandals and hat.
3. Write Spanish words on cards and the same words in English on cards. Match Spanish to English words by using colorful yarn.
4. Draw a map of Mexico. Flag important areas of the country.

Día de los Reyes Magos
Posted by: TX Teacher

One traditional holiday that just passed on January 6th is Día de los Reyes Magos (Kings Day). A traditional recipe of bread with candied fruits is made and a baby is hidden inside. Whoever gets the piece of bread w/ the baby has to host a party on Feb. 2. Some people hide a bean inside too and whoever gets that has to bring the drinks. Here's a web site w/ a picture of the bread:

I'm not saying you'd want to make the bread, but you could always make piñatas, maracas or papel picado with your class. Papel picado is the tissue paper rectangles with pictures cut out on them. They're hung on a string and can be used to decorate your classroom or a hallway.

Another tradition in Mexico around Christmas time is Las Posadas. You could have your class make construction paper lanterns and read about it. Tommie DePaola has a book out about Las Posadas.

Hopefully this has helped. If you need more ideas just write back.

Cinco de Mayo
Posted by: Colleen

We study Mexico prior to our Cinco de Mayo fiesta.
We learn Spanish color words, numbers and a few simple phrases. I found a work book put out by Frank Schaefer(?) and the Mailbox magazine with activities. On or near May 5 we have a fiesta. I sent up stations and we do Mexican crafts: pottery, tissue paper flowers, corn husk dolls, weaving baskets, we make sarapes out of large paper bags and make a fringe with yarn. I play a CD with Marachae?? music. For food we have soft taco's with all the fixings, Sprite and vanilla ice cream with a garnish of cinnamon graham crackers. If you can get a hold of an of Mailbox magazine with Mexico in it there are lots of the crafts I described. I also decorate the room the night before with streamers of red, green and white. We also make tissue paper banners (cut out like a doily or snow flake)to hang around the room in a string. I hang a pinata. We aren't allowed to break one at school.I had lots of parent volunteers for this. It was a great time!

Christmas in Mexico
Posted by: Joell

Get the book "The Legend of the Poinsettia" by Tomie DePaola. Read it to your students and make paper poinsettias.

Get a pinata and have the students break it open.

Read the story "Too Many Tamales" (I can't remember the author and I'm not sure it's a Mexican story specifically.) Bring in some tamales for your students to taste.


Lesson on Mexican Independence
Posted by: Ms. Hartland

I posted earlier about earlier about asking for suggestions on my unit about the Mexican Independence. I am in the process of writing a play with the help of the book La Independencia de Mexico by Sara Gerson and Shulamit Goldsmit and other Internet cites. This is for a third grade class and I have tried to tone down the vocabulary of the play. I could send you my play when I am done writing it, which will be in a while. The play will be written in Spanish.

Some ideas I had for my unit was.

I would start off with a lesson that teaches about monarchies by reading a book about a king. Maybe something like Cinderella and discuss this type of government.

Then I would like to find a book about democracy and discuss this type of government.

Making a timeline after reading the play based on the dates I referred to.

I will bring a bunch of supplies and the students will make their own costumes and props for the play.

Making a trading game that helped students see how difficult it was for the business people living in New Spain to make a profit when the king of Spain had so many restrictions on economic activity.

I would like them to try to estimate how much supplies the solders will need and make a graph of the weights of the food.

I wanted them to study part of the poem Cancion del Pirata by Jose de Espronceda and have a discussion about the pirates that stole from the ships on their way from New Spain to Spain. Also, the poem talks about liberty, which will help students, get a better idea of what this is.

Posted by: Sue

When you take a look at Mexico, remember they have two independence days! In the community I live in in Illlinois, the Mexican Community celebrate Sept. 16, the independence from Spain, more than they do cinco de mayo. Being early in the school year makes for a fun project and sets up things the kids have to look forward to thoughout the year. In the past I have filled a pinata with candy and taken it out to the play ground to break. The kids are warned that not every one will get a turn to hit the pinata, and not everyone will get the same amount of candy. They are usually pretty good with this. I have been able to buy them Mexican candies, but since they are not very sweet, the kids in my class dont like them very well. If you want to do the food, fry up some hamburger, then keep it warm in a crock pot until lunch and fix tacos. Most stores sell flour tortillas and that is what my family likes better than the corn ones. (my husband is of Mexican decent)
I let the kids look at the art of Diego Rivera, and one year we made construction paper cala lilys. The lilys are used in many of his painting. Also, if you know how to make tissue flowers, those would work well also. Remember, Mexicans love bright colors, and they are very happy people too.

One quicker thought on Africa, I tend to study this in February for Black History Month. Stories like Ashanti to Zulu and A Story A Story are good ones to share for this time of the year.

edible craft!
Posted by: Laura


I LOVE how teaching becomes more fun in October. I enjoy exposing my kids to other cultures, so we do Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) from Mexico and other Latin American countries. The kids love making this edible "tombstone" craft, and it would be appropriate for Halloween too!

box of graham crackers
package of fudge covered square graham crackers
mellocreme pumpkins
bag of caramels (cubes)
shredded coconut (died green)
can of chocolate frosting

Use a graham cracker sheet as a base. "Glue" one fudge covered cracker (standing up perpendicular) on the plain graham cracker using chocolate frosting. Prop the "tombstone" up from the back using a caramel cube. "Glue" down a mellowcreme pumpkin at the base of the front of the tombstone using more icing. Smear a little extra icing in the front of the tombstone and sprinkle the green coconut on top. They are really cute once they're assembled, and it's funny to see how some students can't wait to devour their creation, while others preserve theirs like it's a true work of art!

Esperanza Rising
Posted by: JA

This is a great book that helps with the teaching of immigration from Mexico. However, I read it last year with my fifth grade class. It uses more difficult vocab. words. I would probably not read it aloud to 3rd graders. Another really good one that I would read aloud is Frindle.