Grade: Middle
Subject: Language

#758. Activities for Day of the Dead

Language, level: Middle
Posted Tue Dec 22 20:43:51 PST 1998 by Paige Gilbert (
Cartersville Middle School, Cartersville, GA USA
Materials Required: Listed in each Activity
Activity Time: 2 class periods
Concepts Taught: Cultural and Historical Knowledge

Activities for Day of the Dead:
1. Make a tombstone from paper mache in which the students will bury a bad habit or experience that they would like to delete from their lives. The tombstone lists all the details and we set them up in the classroom on the appointed day. On Day of the Dead, the students will sit in front of the tombstones with a lighted votive candle and will celebrate. The students will make artificial flowers and will make or draw a skeleton. The student will write names of people or events that had left their lives that they want to remeber.

2. The students will work in pairs to research a famous Mexican writer, artist, musician, etc. They will write a report on this person. They will then make an ofrenda in honor of this person with objects that represent something about this person. They will set these up in a large room. On the day of presentation, one student will report on the person, the other will describe the significance of each object in the ofrenda. Invite the principal and local paper and television station.

3. Make a mask using plaster and guaze called Rigid Wrap. The student will coat his face with vaseline. The wrap is cut into 2" strips and dipped into warm water then applied to the face in a criss-cross fashion to make several layers. It hardens in 5-10 minutes. Leave overnight to completely dry. The next day it will be painted with acrylic craft paints. They may also add feather, sequins etc.