Teach the real history of Cinco de Mayo to your students! This lesson focuses on the historical and cultural aspects of the holiday as it is celebrated in the United States. There is a strong focus on recognizing and avoiding cultural stereotypes.
The 9-page lesson is packed with activities to keep students engaged in the language and the culture. It includes pre-reading, vocabulary, an article about the history of Cinco de Mayo, many photographs, comprehension questions, short answer questions, a photo comparison of several Mexican stereotypes and counter-examples that show the real truth, an activity in which students research an authentic food and compare it to Americanized Tex-Mex food, and a culminating activity in which students plan a party to celebrate Cinco de Mayo and avoid stereotyping. The students also locate Puebla on a map of Mexico, learn about mole poblano, and make an invitation to their Cinco de Mayo party.
The lesson is in full color but I have included a black and white version for you to use at the copy machine. There is also an answer key and the teacher’s notes include standards and extension activity suggestions. I also did some research for you by finding four video shorts for you to share with your classes about Cinco de Mayo, Mexican history and even mole poblano.
Spanish I Teachers Please Read: The directions are written in English so that students can work with confidence, but all the cultural readings are in Spanish with problematic words glossed to make the reading easier. The lesson is ideal for Spanish II students but can be done with Spanish I students with teacher help along the way. (The preterite tense is used in the article about the history of the Battle of Puebla but other than that the article is fairly easy to understand.)