Festival of the Bones/El festival de las calaveras:
The Little-Bitty Book for Day of the Dead
In the classroom/library:
GRADE LEVEL: 1st Grade
SUBJECTS: Social Studies, Language Arts, Fine Arts
OVERVIEW: Students will learn about the Mexican celebration El
día de los muertos (Day of the Dead)
and other traditions through engaging with a picture book, and making
connections to the artifacts. This will allow students to gain an understanding
that different cultures have differing views of life and death.
PURPOSE: This lesson is to provide students with cultural awareness.
Students will be introduced to the Mexican holiday the Day of the Dead
(El día de los muertos). This
lesson will help students understand that the Day of the Dead is not
a Mexican version of Halloween. Students will also become more aware
of their own culture.
At the end of this lesson, students will be able to:
1. Respond to the theme of the story.
2. Design a clay skeleton figure.
3. Identify and describe the use of various artifacts used in this Mexican
4. Recognize that cultures have celebrations/traditions unique to them.
Standards - Taken from the TUSD Core Curriculum Web Site
o Use stories to describe past events, people and places. (SS1-F3)
PO 1. Contributions from past events and cultures as a group
Reading - Vocabulary
o Recognize and apply knowledge of the historical and cultural aspects
of American, British, and world literature. (1-R2-C2)
Listening and Speaking
o Respond to oral and written presentations by formulating relevant
feedback, expressing opinions, discerning the main idea and distinguishing
fact from opinion. (WP1-E4)
o Listen actively to the ideas of others in order to acquire new knowledge.
Students study, appreciate and produce two- and three-dimensional visual
works of art.
o Select and use subjects, themes and symbols** in works of art. (FAV1-F1)
o Identify and describe how history, culture and visual arts can and
do influence one another. (FAV2-F3)
PO 1. restate the purpose an art image/object served based on the cultural
history of the maker (e.g., sugar skulls and Mexico)
The Festival of Bones by Luis San Vicente
A Gift for Abuelita by Nancy Luenn, illustrated by Robert Chapman
Rattle Your Bones by David Clemesha and Andrea Griffing Zimmerman
o Sugar skull
o Children's skeleton toy
o Pop-up altar
o Papel picado
o Picture cards
o Stamp and stamp pad
o Pancho the Skeleton taken from http://www.inside-mexico.com/titere.htm
o Sample of skeleton project
Pan de muerto (Bread of the Dead)
oWhite Crayola® Model Magic
o Permanent markers
o Wax paper
o Popsicle sticks
o Sandwich bags
1. Introductory Set
Does anyone know what El día de los
muertos is? When is it celebrated? Do we know who celebrates
El día de los muertos? Where?
What do we know about El día de los
muertos? Let's look at some of the things I've brought to share
with you today.
2. Objectives/purpose -
o Students will learn about the traditions as practiced by the Mexican
culture through reading two books about The Day of the Dead
o Students will design/create a skeleton artifact.
a. Build vocabulary: El día de los
muertos (Day of the Dead), ofrenda (offering made to honor
the dead), calavera (skeleton), papel picado (paper
b. Read story: The Festival of Bones by Luis San Vicente
c. Come up with the cultural features of the story.
Creating and designing a skeleton sculpture.
Model steps: Use white Crayola® Model Magic form one large cylinder
and one small cylinder, shape head, use Popsicle stick to cut legs from
cylinder, attach second cylinder for arms, look at designs on the artifacts,
design, mark colors on design and color with permanent marker.
5. Check for Understanding
Review process and reason for skeletons celebrating.
6. Guided Practice
Teachers will support students as they create and design their skeleton
7. Independent Practice - or Homework
Children will be sent home with a letter about what they learned to
day. They will be encourage to ask their parents what they know about
El día de los muertos.
Social studies is the study of people and it is important that we understand
that people are different and have different customs/ way of doing things.
I will lead the class through an art project. By creating and decorating
a skeleton figurine. Students will also be evaluated with a multiple-choice
quiz about our lesson.
This lesson may lead to learning about other Mexican holidays, such
as Cinco de mayo. Students will then be able to
do a project in learning how to create papel picado, which
is used in all Mexican celebrations. This lesson can also extend to
science and human anatomy.