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World Language Classes Mark National Hispanic American Heritage Month

A slide featuring a photo and text in Spanish about Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor

Slides such as this, from Upper School Spanish teacher Viviana Hillman, engage students in learning about notable Hispanic Americans such as Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

Ravenscroft’s celebration of National Hispanic American Heritage Month, an annual observance that takes place Sept. 15-Oct. 15, offered students, faculty and staff the opportunity to learn about and share the histories, cultures and contributions of Americans whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. 

Enjoy these short summaries of activities and learning outcomes from Lower School, Middle School and Upper School World Languages faculty.

Lower School

Lower School Spanish teacher Carmen Hernandez said, “Learning Spanish is learning about Hispanic culture, and Lower School students celebrate Hispanic culture all year! During National Hispanic Heritage Month, we focus on celebrating a specific country.

“PreK and kindergarten students discover Mexico. They sing the well-known song “Cielito Lindo” and enjoy dancing La Raspa. First-graders discover Peru — my beloved country — and enjoy an imaginary trip to Machu Picchu, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Second-graders learn about Argentina and have a blast dancing the Tango. Students in third, fourth and fifth grades also discover other countries of the Hispanic World: Spain, Puerto Rico and Chile.

“We believe this part of our curriculum, Cultural Connections, helps our students in the journey to become global citizens,” she concluded.

Enjoy videos of Hernandez teaching kindergarteners from Megan Britton’s class how to dance La Raspa and sing “Cielito Lindo.”

Middle School

Middle School World Languages teacher Alexis Pearce, who teaches Spanish I-A and I-B, had her students research and deliver a presentation in Spanish about a significant Latinx figure that lives in the United States. Figures ranged from labor organizer César Chávez to singer Selena Quintanilla Pérez, astronaut Ellen Ochoa, Marvel comic book artist and writer Joe Quesada and Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. They also researched and designed mini-flags that students decorated and presented in Spanish, played a version of “Jeopardy!” based on Hispanic Heritage Month, and read about the diversity of languages within the Spanish-speaking world and the history of the terms “Hispanic,” “Latino” and “Latinx” to understand, as Pearce explained, “more about how recently these terms appeared in our vocabulary and how complicated they are in terms of history, usage and connotation.” 

In addition, on Sept. 16, in recognition of Mexican Independence Day — the anniversary of Mexico’s independence from Spain — Head of Middle School Bernardo Guzmán shared a video in which he and his father sing “México Lindo y Querido” (“Mexico Beautiful and Loved”).

Upper School

Viviana Hillman, who teaches Spanish I-A and I-B in the Upper School, has used bell work (the first minutes of class following the bell) to guide students in learning about Hispanic Americans who have made an impact on our society. Students also engaged in interactive games of “Jeopardy!,” Kahoot and Blooket. “We worked on a collaborative poster, and Spanish I-B did research and presented their findings,” she concluded. “Coming up: Day of the Dead.”

Katie Barnwell shared that her Honors Spanish III and AP Spanish students have done several listening activities and played a Kahoot about Hispanic Heritage Month. “In Honors Spanish III, we also watched a documentary about what it’s like to be Afro-Latino in Mexico and Peru and learned about the huge African influence present in many aspects of Latin American cultures,” she added.

Enjoy this video of Ernesto Lecuona performing “Malagueña,” from Hillman’s work with her students.

Learn more about National Hispanic American Heritage Month at this link!

A colorful poster depicts notable figures of Hispanic heritage.

This colorful poster, created by Upper School students in Viviana Hillmans Spanish classes, depicts notable figures of Hispanic heritage.