This year, Middle School students' study of El Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead) incorporated the history, rituals, & traditions of Mexico and Central America, the arts, and, of course, the Spanish language, while expanding on our 8th grade's past projects for this learning unit.
The most essential tradition of this popular celebration honoring the dearly departed is the ofrenda, or altar, which students created in the 2nd floor Atrium of the Lincoln Place campus. 5th graders created paper flowers for it, including marigolds whose pungent smell is believed to guide spirits towards their own offerings. After reading the Spanish language novel "Tumba" which takes place during Día de Muertos, 6th graders visited El Museo del Barrio where they attended a bilingual workshop and viewed altars created by professional artists. They also created a Calavera Mask to honor someone they admire who passed and are making short videos explaining their process.
7th graders created Calaveras Literarias for the altar. Especially popular in Mexico, these traditional short ironic poems speak about the impermanent quality of life. Several students will read theirs in morning assembly later this month.
In the ever-growing development of STEAM education at BC, 8th graders attended a workshop taught by Visual Arts Chair Mauricio Cortes (en español) where they learned to use the laser cutter in the Beta Lab and created traditional designs in the art of papel picado, a traditional Mexican decorative craft made by cutting elaborate designs into sheets of tissue paper. These are displayed on the windows by the ofrenda.
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