We asked Lower and Middle School teachers how they have recognized the culture, history, and contributions of Hispanic Americans during Latinx/Hispanic Heritage Month in their classrooms. Classes from arts to technology have linked curriculum to the observance of the month (September 15-October 15) and to the celebration of Día de los Muertos, which takes place November 1-2.

Here are a few examples of how Westridge teachers are celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month in their classrooms.

Lower School
  • In Anna Bondoc’s 6th grade English class students are reading Merci Suarez Changes Gears by Meg Medina–a book that tells the story of a Cuban-American 6th grader who attends a private school in Florida. The class is discussing the main character’s Cuban-American culture and the untranslated Spanish words that appear throughout the book.
  • 5th grade homeroom classes have reviewed the origins and uses of the terms “Hispanic” vs “Latino” and the use of the newer gender-neutral term of “Latinx.” “I think it is necessary that students understand that some people in this community prefer to self-identify as ‘Latinx’ while others prefer to use the term Latino(a) or Hispanic,” said Mrs. Houser. “The message we will impart to the students is that they should always try to find out another person’s preferred label instead of making assumptions that are usually incorrect.” 
  • In 4th grade computer science, students are creating a document with photos to commemorate a deceased loved one using OneDrive shared folders to find Microsoft Word templates that illustrate décor typically used for Día de los Muertos. Students can choose to create a shoebox altar dedicated to a loved one that includes the document they create to display in the Main Hall later this month.
  • In 4th grade social studies class students spend a great deal of time studying the contributions of the Latinx community and underrepresented communities to the development of California throughout the year. Later this year they will read Bandit’s Moon, which tells the story of Joaquin Murietta, a Mexican American who had his lands stolen by the European settlers in the mid-1800s.
  • In Wind Ensemble club students are playing “Remember Me” from Coco, arranged by strings teacher Maddie Eaton.
Middle School
  • In 7th grade advisory students did a Kahoot (a game-based quiz platform) learning about the history of the terms “Hispanic” and “Latinx.”
  • 7th Grade Spanish classes are learning about “The Alphabet of Latin@s in the US.”
  • In 8th grade Spanish class, students are working on a project for Día de los Muertos, creating papel picado in the STEAMWork Design Studio which will be exhibited in the Main Hall the first week of November.
  • In Coding & Game Design class, students are discussing contributions of women of Hispanic heritage to computer science. They read this article about Laura Gomez and discussed her journey and the challenges she faced.