Every year from September 15th to October 15th marks Hispanic Heritage Month. This is a time in which we demonstrate support for the Hispanic community and celebrate the valuable contributions and cultural influences of people whose ancestors derive from Mexico, Spain, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the population of individuals who have roots in the Hispanic and Latino culture in the U.S. has increased from 6.2% in 1980 to 18.7% in 2021, with a projection of 28% by 2060.
We unite in solidarity with this culturally rich community, honoring their rich tapestry of experiences, traditions, and contributions. Together, we also pause to reflect upon their resilience in the face of adversity, striving to counteract unfavorable perceptions, inequality, and oppression. At Microsoft Education, we believe that fostering knowledge about the Hispanic and Latino community within the classroom serves as a crucial means of heightening awareness about their achievements, historical, and cultural significance. Let’s look at some opportunities for educators to enhance Hispanic Heritage Month lesson plans.
Enhance representation and engage in learning with Minecraft Education
Navigate through Minecraft Education’s LatinExplorers world, which gives students an opportunity to see themselves in the game and dig deeper into topics critical to the Hispanic community and culture. In the game, players meet characters based on Latino leaders who are doing extraordinary things in climate science, community services, and the creative arts with the goal of inspiring a new generation of leaders.
We’re excited to announce that coming September 19th, students will have another opportunity to see themselves and their cultures represented in the LatinExplorers 2 world from Minecraft Education. Watch students step into the world of three wonder women who rose to the challenge of making the world a better place. In this partnership with the Hispanic Heritage Foundation, players will explore the journeys of three new mentors—Gloria Estefan, the Cuban-American singer who never gave up, Dr. Ellen Ochoa, the first Hispanic woman to go to space, and Monica Ramirez, a powerful social activist and attorney who works tirelessly in women’s rights. Inspire your students to embrace similar perseverance, kindness, creativity, and leadership as they walk toward the future!
Play Minecraft Education’s LatinExplorers 2 world starting September 19th and explore the journeys of three wonder women who rose to the challenge of making the world a better place.
Use Minecraft Education’s diverse and inclusive array of tools to build your Hispanic Heritage Month lesson plan and reengage students this school year. Plan game-based learning with easy-to-use educator guides, family resources, and additional materials, allowing students to learn and explore through guided practice and independent journeys.
“Minecraft is one of the games that we encourage our kids to play because they can explore, learn, and collaborate with other friends. We saw the opportunity to showcase real-world Hispanic heroes utilizing one of the world’s most popular games—and one in which my children love to play—to reach a new generation of leaders.” – Antonio Tijerino, President and CEO of the Hispanic Heritage Foundation
Ready to learn more about using Minecraft Education to build your Hispanic Heritage Month lessons in your classroom? Explore these resources designed to help you teach with Minecraft Education and gain confidence in enhancing students' learning about Hispanic culture through virtual engagement.
- Take the self-paced Minecraft Teacher Academy learning path available on the Microsoft Learn Educator Center.
- Participate in the Minecraft Teachers Lounge community for the opportunity to connect with dedicated educators, gain access to instructional materials and teaching tools, and discover upcoming events.
- Save time with ready-made starter kits that include lesson plans, downloadable worlds, and tutorials in core school subjects.
Extend the voices of the Hispanic community in your classroom
From food to politics, the influence of the Hispanic community and culture is undeniable. Set aside moments this month (and throughout the year) to shine a spotlight on the history, customs, and journeys of the Hispanic community. Utilize these materials as a foundation to begin your exploration.
- Download “¡Presente! A Latino History of the United States”, a guide from USA TODAY and the Smithsonian that provides readings and activities that allow students to explore the American Latino experience. After downloading, create a Reading Progress assignment in Teams for Education using the PDF so students can hear the text read aloud using Immersive Reader and practice saying challenging words with Reading Coach.
- Watch this excerpt of Somos from the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Latino to learn about the rich diversity of the Latino community. Ask students to reflect on the video and share their thoughts in class or in Teams for Education using Conversations, Channels, or an Assignment.
- Support students as they read articles about the difference between Hispanic and Latinx or Día de Los Muertos on Wonderopolis using Microsoft’s embedded Immersive Reader feature. Immersive Reader allows students to listen to the text read aloud, translate text by word or full document, utilize a picture dictionary for challenging words, and more.
Display of the Wonderopolis article “Do Hispanic and Latinx Have the Same Meaning?” Use the Teams button to share the article to Microsoft Teams, or the Listen button to use the embedded Immersive Reader feature.
- Provide students with opportunities read about the varied cultures and experiences of the Hispanic community. Record yourself with Microsoft Stream reading multiple books from this list by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) or this resource from Colorín Colorado to create a playlist for students to choose from. Use the ADL discussion guides to extend and support learning.
- Engage students in learning through the inspirational stories and portraits of Latinos who have made significant contributions to American life in Our Journeys Our Stories from the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Latino. To extend learning, ask students to choose a person highlighted to learn more about using Search Coach in Microsoft Teams for Education.
Build your Hispanic Heritage Month lesson
Use Classwork in Microsoft Teams for Education to create, organize, and manage your Hispanic Heritage Month class resources more effectively. Whether you are teaching in-person or online, Classwork is a valuable resource that can help you keep your class organized and your students engaged. This means you no longer have to navigate multiple apps and platforms to find what you need. Curate a view of any of the Hispanic Heritage Month content and resources listed in this blog to help your students navigate through the content and see everything in one place. To learn more about Classwork, check out our new training module and video on Microsoft Learn.
Later this year, you will also have the ability to reuse your modules from previous classes or terms, which will help you save time and effort when setting up your Hispanic Heritage Month content. This allows you to improve your teaching and refine your Hispanic Heritage Month lesson plans year after year.
Throughout the year, celebrate and support the Hispanic community and culture with Microsoft and Minecraft Education. We encourage you to embed opportunities to explore the rich culture, linguistic ancestry, and enduring impact of the Hispanic and Latino community with your students, staff, and school community.