Kelly College Prep

Kelly College Prep

Angela Marino's World Language-Spanish I/II Class

How can we leverage community cultural wealth & traditions to support one another and facilitate a process of healing from hardships and challenges faced by the COVID-19 pandemic?

Project Description

Though a cultural unit about the Day of the Dead celebrations, students learned about the latino views. However, current events stirred students’ interests and discussions about Covid-19, death, loss, and how it has affected the school community and families within the students’ neighborhood of Brighton Park. This sparked research on how a cultural celebration of life and death could facilitate healing within their community in the aftermath of so many lost in their community due to Covid-19.

Stage 1: Understand the Question & Ground the Inquiry

In stage 1, student learning was constructed by providing a historical context, acquiring project-specific vocabulary, and viewing a film (for a visual context) prior to the start of the project to keep students motivated. Activities included: comparing and contrasting the Day of the Dead vs. Halloween, labeling a virtual altar, reading about Day of the Dead celebrations around the world, and learning essential elements of creating an altar.

Stage 2: Research, Analyze, and Assess

Students researched infection rates among Latinx communities within the city of Chicago such as Little Village, Gage Park, Chicago Lawn, Belmont Cragin and their own community of Brighton Park. Learning activities included analysis and discussion of data gathered, viewing an exhibition of altars (virtually) from our community partner, and researching a deceased family member or celebrity to base their altar project on.

Image from Andrea's Day of Dead 7 Level Virtual Altar Slideshow

Stage 3: Communicate Conclusions and Take Action

Students showcased their altar projects in the auditorium for all classes to conduct a gallery walk. Tables were set up and decorated to commemorate the Day of the Dead celebration and listen to students discuss how and why they created their altar. Students also wrote an essay on what they learned about the Day of the Dead views and practices, and about the individual they selected.

Students then completed a reflection of their civic engagement about how sharing these practices can help someone affected by Covid manage or grieve the loss of a loved one, the impact they had on the community, and the impact that completing the project had on them specifically.