A young student works on an activity celebrating Day of the Dead

I will be brave: A fun Day of the Dead class activity celebrating Hispanic Heritage

As Hispanic Heritage Month comes to a close, let’s celebrate and educate with planned activities and assignments for the classroom spotlighting Hispanic Heritage. Living in a border town, this is especially essential in my Arizona community!

One of the activities I recommend comes from the book, “Gustavo, the Shy Ghost,” written by Flavia Z. Drago.

“Gustavo, the Shy Ghost” is a fun read aloud depicting Gustavo as a ghost who is good at many ghostly things, with one thing getting in the way: he is shy. With Day of the Dead approaching, he must find a way to share his love of music and get noticed by his peers. Epic has a read aloud video available to play if you don’t have the book.

The story introduces the concept of Day of the Dead, which some but not all of my students were familiar with. It is a good time for teachers to discuss the holiday with students, and it is an opportunity to branch off into a lesson on Day of the Dead.

In addition, the book brings up the topic of bravery, overcoming fear and grit. Novel Effect is a great resource for writing activities and other projects covering these topics, in addition to providing sound and effects that go along with the read aloud.

For my third grade class, I chose to talk about a fear they had overcome or wish to overcome. This fear would be written down on a template I created with a ghost outline they were able to design and decorate as they wish.

Using vibrant colors seen throughout Hispanic culture, the final products ended up being great school decor.

Any of the topics talked about in the story though can be adapted to the age group you work with.

In what ways do you implement fun activities into your classroom? Let us know at @ArizonaEducator on X (formerly Twitter) or Arizona PBS KIDS on Facebook.


About the author

Marissa Will is the mother of two, Olivia (6) and Logan (4). Writing was her first passion: she’s a freelance writer and a Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication alumna. Will is currently educating the future leaders of tomorrow: She has spent the past nine years educating third grade with a master’s degree in elementary education from Northern Arizona University-Yuma.

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