Fort Dodge Community School District

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Students Celebrate Hispanic Heritage at Duncombe Elementary

October 21, 2020

Duncombe Elementary third graders in Shannon Grossnickle’s class have been celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month by highlighting the achievements and contributions Hispanics have made to our society as well as participating in projects that align with their heritage. One of their projects was making Ofrendas.

An Ofrenda is a home alter with a collection of objects placed on a ritual display created for an individual person. The objects on the alter represent the person they are honoring.

“I choose the Ofrenda because it was a great hands-on project for every student to experience National Hispanic Heritage Month and was an opportunity for our English Language Learner students to instill pride in and share their heritage and culture,” Grossnickle said. “The project helped students make connections with one another and realize we are more alike than we are different.”

While working on their Ofrendas, students could be heard making comments like, “your grandma likes Pepsi, too” or “oh my dad liked that team, too” and “my mom was in the army like your grandpa.” 

The students not only connected with each other, but it gave them an opportunity to connect with their families to learn more about the person they chose to honor.

“It was heartwarming for me to watch students get to know more about the person they were honoring,” Grossnickle shared, “especially for the students who had lost someone early in their life or for students who had not met the person before.”

It was important to Grossnickle that the students present the projects to their families.  This was accomplished via a Zoom meeting where each student stood in front of their classmates and a computer camera and microphone so that family could watch the presentations. 

“I wanted the parents to see their child’s finished Ofrenda because it was truly a family based project,” said Grossnickle. “The students collected information about the person they were honoring by having that first conversation at home. It was an excellent opportunity to engage families in their child’s learning.”

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