Austin ISD Hispanic Heritage Month


Hispanic Heritage Month is a time to recognize, honor and celebrate Hispanic Americans’ contributions to our history and culture. At Austin ISD, we’re taking time to embrace the vibrant and rich Hispanic culture. 

Weekly themes:

  • Friday, Sept. 15 - Kickoff: Prosperidad, Poder, Progresso - Prosperity, Power, Progress
  • Week of Sept. 18: Lenguaje sin Limite Limitless Language - Untold Stories of Language   
  • Week of Sept. 25: Heroes de tu Comunidad - Austin ISD Hometown Heroes
  • Week of Oct. 2: Unidad y Diversidad - Unity and Diversity
  • Week of Oct. 9: Comida, Familia, y Fiesta! - Food, Family, and Fiesta! 
  • Saturday, Oct. 14: Join the Fiesta Talent Show Award Ceremony & Community Event, 11 a.m., Austin ISD Performing Arts Center, 1500 Barbara Jordan Blvd. 

Another way to join the fun is to submit an entry into the 2023 “Join the Fiesta!” Spanish Heritage Talent Show. This districtwide contest is open to all students, parents, and staff, and includes art, dancing, singing and music. Deadline for submissions is Sat., Oct. 5, at 5 pm.

Kick Off September 15

Prosperidad, Poder, Progreso - Prosperity, Power, Progress

Activity: Historias de Prosperidad, Poder, y Progreso

Choose a book you'd like to read aloud, such as "Maybe Something Beautiful."

The Power of Murals in Storytelling and Preserving our Heritage

Just as illustrations in a picture book captivate us, murals serve as an important medium for telling our stories. The mural tradition has long been strong in Hispanic communities in the United States, perhaps most notably as a part of the Chicano art movement of the 1960s and 1970s. These murals are mostly concentrated in the Southwest, but span the United States.

Share some pictures of murals that resonate with you. You can explore murals on the Austin Mural Map or discover more at the Library of Congress's " Celebrating Hispanic Heritage in Murals" collection. Alternatively, make it personal by sharing murals that hold significance to you.

Art or Writing Prompt: Your Story Through Murals

Members of the Hispanic community, like many others, have used murals to convey and share their stories. You, too, can utilize pictures and murals to tell your unique narrative.

Place a sheet of butcher paper in a designated spot within the classroom, such as the Art Center for primary grades or a designated wall for intermediate grades. Encourage students to contribute pictures that represent their own stories to our "mural" created on the butcher paper.

Additional Activity: Explore "Art Talk" with your Favorite Mural

As an additional activity, consider using the "Art Talk" CLI Strategy with a photo of your favorite mural.

More: Try CLI Strategy “Art Talk” with a photo of your favorite Mural

Week of September 18th

Lenguaje sin Límite - Limitless Language “Untold Stories of Language”

Read Aloud "Soñadores/Dreamers" or "Lucero Bright Star"

Choose one of the books, "Soñadores/Dreamers" or "Lucero Bright Star," for a captivating read-aloud session. Both books have potential for drawing connections and exploring untold stories, or the concept of telling vs holding back on stories. .

Reflection on Yuyi Morales's Experience

When Yuyi Morales moved to the United States, everything about the language and culture was new and unfamiliar to her. This quote from her book "Soñadores/Dreamers" beautifully captures her experience:

“Había tantas cosas que desconocíamos, sin poder entender y con miedo a hablar, cometimos muchos errores”

“There were so many things we didn’t know. Unable to understand and afraid to speak, we made lot’s of mistakes.”

Inviting Student Stories

Now, it's your turn! We invite students to share their own stories about navigating languages and growing up/being bilingual and bi-literate, or growing up/living in a multilingual community. Your unique experiences are a valuable part of our classroom community.

Enhancing the Lesson with CLI Strategies

To make this lesson even more meaningful and engaging, we can incorporate Creative Learning Initiative (CLI) strategies. You can discover a variety of effective strategies in the resource called "Creative Learning Teaching Strategy Cards."

Exploring the Power of a Common Language

After the read-aloud, let's engage in a thoughtful discussion or writing activity. Share your thoughts and experiences about how a common language, like Spanish, helps you communicate with family members, both new and old. Through language, we connect and strengthen our bonds with one another.

Building a Cognates Word Wall

To further enrich our understanding, we'll create or expand upon a cognates word wall. Cognates are words that share similar meanings and spellings in different languages. For instance, "familia" translates to "family," "fruta" translates to "fruit," "princesa" translates to "princess," and "danza" translates to "dance." This activity not only broadens our vocabulary but also highlights the connections between languages.

For Older Students

For older students, we can delve deeper into language by exploring word origins in the dictionary. Understanding where words come from can be a fascinating journey that connects us to our collective linguistic heritage. Remember, language has the power to enrich us rather than divide us. It allows us to communicate our shared histories, bringing us closer together for a brighter future.

(Idea submitted by Amanda Moore, Travis Heights Elementary)

Week of September 25th

Heroes de tu Comunidad - Austin ISD Hometown Heroes

Activity: Hometown Heroes

Read a book of choice, such as "Up and Adam".

"Up and Adam" by Debbie Zapata is a heartwarming story follows a remarkable boy with Down Syndrome. When Madam Mayor declares, "Now it's time to get to work up and at 'em" after a storm, Adam interprets it as "up and Adam" and takes it as a call to help. Adam becomes a local hero, offering assistance to his neighbors and embodying the spirit of community.

More about this book and the the real life Adam who inspired the author.

Extend the theme of heroism beyond the book. Encourage students and families to share stories of Hispanic Hometown Heroes, whether they are well-known figures or everyday heroes within your community or the broader Austin community.

To make this experience more meaningful, consider using strategies from the Austin ISD Instructional Playbook. These strategies are designed to actively engage students while fostering a deeper connection to the stories.

Alternatively, explore strategies from the Creative Learning Teaching Strategy Cards, offering innovative approaches to engage with stories and the community.

Week of October 2nd

Unidad y Diversidad - Unity and Diversity

This week offers a valuable opportunity to pause and reflect on the incredible assets and cultural wealth that our students bring to our community. Take time this week to reflect on ways that you affirm students culture, language, history, and identity.

As you reflect and think of unity and diversity, think about the daily practices that create or strengthen a sense of belonging such as morning and check out circles. Learn more by visiting the SEL and CP&I Website

Week of October 9th

¡Comida, Familia, y Fiesta! - Food, Family, and Fiesta

Read Aloud: Plátanos are Love

"Plátanos are Love." explores the idea of love through the lens of family and food, particularly the dishes that represent love in the Hispanic culture.

Primary Grades:

Collaborate with your family to discover what love means to you. Are there special dishes that have been passed down through generations? Or perhaps new traditions you're creating together? Students can create visual representations of these dishes and craft their own stories inspired by this book. It's an opportunity to express what love looks and tastes like in your family.

Intermediate Grades:

Embark on an independent exploration of love in your family through the lens of food traditions. Reflect on the dishes that hold a special place in your hearts. Students can create representations of these dishes, write their own stories using "Plátanos are Love" as a mentor text, and even consider bringing these dishes to share with the class. Additionally, you can work together to create recipes to add to a class recipe book, preserving your family's culinary traditions for generations to come.

This project encourages students to celebrate the cultural richness of their families and reinforces the idea that love is not only a feeling but a shared experience expressed through food and tradition.

Week 1: Prosperity, Power, Progress



The mural tradition has long been strong in Hispanic communities in the United States, perhaps most notably as a part of the Chicano art movement of the 1960s and 1970s. These murals are mostly concentrated in the Southwest, but span the United States.


Option 1:

Review the Austin Mural Map and the Library of Congress: Celebrating Hispanic Heritage in Murals or in this resource from Library of Congress. Pick your favorite mural, describe it and explain why it is your favorite. Then make a drawing of a mural you would like to see in your community. Share your mural design.

Option 2:

Watch this video of Betsy Casañas discuss her process of the creation of her mural in western New York. How do murals represent a community and why is this important? Have you seen this kind of community collaboration before on a mural or in other areas?

Influential Texan:

The Chicano Movement in Texas


Watch the video and choose a person of influence from Texas to research. Then prepare a presentation on that person to share.

Exploring the terms Hispanic, Latino, Latinx, Chicano and why we use them

History channel resource

Short definitions

Review the history of these terms. Pick which one you identify with and explain why you choose that one to a partner. Identify the one you hear most often and explain with a partner why you think this is used most often with the people you know. 

Why is Hispanic Heritage celebrated starting in the middle of September?

Week 2: Untold stories of language

Gloria Anzaldúa (September 26, 1942 – May 15, 2004) was an American scholar of Chicana feminismcultural theory, and queer theory

TexLibris- celebrating the life of Gloria Anzaldúa 

Activity Option 1:

“So, if you really want to hurt me, talk badly about my language.”- Gloria Anzaldúa

What does this quote mean? Why is language important to identity? How are they connected?

Spanish in the US (PBS)


Use a KWL chart or maybe some other graphic organizer to talk about it. What did you learn about language diversity in the US?

Some facts about Spanish language in the US and world- Did you know?

Spanish is spoken by more than 559 million people globally. Of those, 460 million are native speakers, making Spanish the language with the second largest population of native speakers in the world (Mandarin holds the top title).

In the U.S., 13 percent of the population speaks Spanish at home, earning it the title of the most common non-English language spoken. The U.S. also has the 2nd largest population of Spanish speakers in the world (Mexico has the largest).

And the way the data is trending, by 2050, one in three people in the U.S. will speak Spanish (this data includes bilingual people who also speak English).

Week 3: Hometown Heroes

Resource for local heroes in the Hispanic community

Resource for historical and cultural influence of Hispanic community in Austin

Austin Vida

Activity option 1:

After reading about the influence of Hispanic/Latino communities and influence in Austin, write about what this means for you and how you might like it to continue or change in the future.

Activity option 2:

After reading and learning about the influence of Hispanic/Latino communities and influence in Austin, hold a socratic seminar or philosophical chairs discussion about what you learned.

Week 4: Unity and Diversity

Resources with various activities

“Preservation of one’s own culture does not require contempt or disrespect for other cultures.”
— Cesar Chavez

“While our culture, traditions and religion may differ, we pride ourselves on working hard, educating ourselves as much as possible, striving for better lives for our children, loving our often large and blended families, and sharing as much of our history and customs as we can with anyone who chooses to really see us. We are not so different after all. People simply need to see us for who we are and not who they expect us to be.”
— Natalie Morales

Week 5: Food, Family, Fiesta

National Dishes of Latin America


Read and watch the video on National dishes of Latin America and write about which dish is your favorite, record yourself on _______ reading your paragraph and send the link to your teacher.

Latino Holidays and celebrations

Hispanic Heritage Month- Fiesta Time


Choose a celebration from the resources or think of one you celebrate with your family or community. Research it. Create an infographic about it.

Other resources: