Threads of culture: Weave Hispanic Heritage into your classroom
It’s great to have you back, Superheroes!
This time of year is filled with celebrations and excitement, and it’s not just because of cooler weather. National Hispanic Heritage Month, celebrated from September 15 to October 15, is a wonderful opportunity to embrace and honor the rich cultures, histories, and contributions of Hispanic and Latino communities. Here are three ways to make this Hispanic Heritage Month a memorable, educational, and fun-filled experience for all.
Celebrate Hispanic Heritage in your classroom
As educators, we understand the importance of fostering inclusivity and cultural awareness in our classrooms. The National Education Association (NEA) is a treasure trove of materials, lesson plans, and activities designed to bring Hispanic Heritage and culture into your classroom. Explore the history and origin of traditional Latin dance, create your own loteria cards, and more.
The National Honor Society and Spanish Club at Bioscience High School have some exciting plans for Hispanic Heritage Month this year. The month-long celebration begins with a piñata event to welcome in the festivities, followed by a Hispanic-themed Karaoke session, a campus favorite. Behind the scenes, their dedicated students have been busy crafting vibrant flores de papel (paper flowers) garlands that will soon transform their campus into a colorful homage to Hispanic culture. What a beautiful way to celebrate Hispanic Heritage!
Inspire future Hispanic and Latinx STEM leaders
Arizona hosts numerous organizations and associations committed to inspiring Hispanic and Latinx students and professionals in the STEM field. The Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) helps students unlock their full potential by providing support, mentorship, and inclusive opportunities in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
Great Minds in STEM (GMiS) is a nationally recognized organization dedicated to increasing Hispanic and Latinx representation and excellence in STEM. From scholarship programs easing the financial burden of education to hosting leadership and professional development events, this multifaceted organization strives to create opportunities, provide mentorship, and promote diversity and inclusion in STEM industries.
Empower Hispanic and Latinx communities
Local organizations like The Phoenix Hispanic Network (PHN) help empower our students beyond the walls of our classrooms. In addition to uplifting Hispanic youth through scholarship programs and educational resources, PHN advocates for social justice causes, promotes civil engagement, and opens doors to professional success through the Padrinos/Madrinas Mentorship Program.
The Hispanic Heritage Foundation (HHF) empowers Latino individuals to impact hundreds more. Their sustainable programs, including the Hispanic Heritage Youth Awards, Latinos On Fast Track (LOFT), Hispanic Heritage Awards, and public awareness campaigns, celebrate cultural pride and accomplishments. HHF connects tens of thousands of students and young professionals, offering mentorship and resources in diverse and in-demand industries like innovation and technology, science and health care, engineering, finance, and entrepreneurship. Their efforts aim to foster leadership, create opportunities, and promote a stronger and more inclusive America for all.
Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month fuels our year-round mission of fostering unity, understanding, and appreciation of our shared human heritage. Together, we can make every month a celebration of diversity, a tribute to history, and a step towards a brighter, more inclusive tomorrow.
¡Adelante, Superhéroes! (Forward, Superheroes!)
In what ways have you or your students incorporated Hispanic Heritage into classrooms? Share your ideas on our social media channels at @ArizonaEducator on X (formerly Twitter) or Arizona PBS KIDS on Facebook.
About the author
Ashley Burkart, Biology faculty at Estrella Mountain Community College, holds a Masters in Biomedical Science from Midwestern University, where STEM research became her first passion. When she isn’t teaching tomorrow’s leaders, she is either hanging out with her dogs, Raven and Bailey, or hiking the beautiful mountains of Arizona.