Monday, April 26, 2010

Cinco de Mayo: Happy Independence Day!

Aside from being a great day to go out for a little Mexican food, May 5 offers teachers the opportunity to celebrate the ethnic traditions of our neighbor to the south.  May 5 is the anniversary of Mexico's declaration of independence from Spain.  Your local library is probably rich with print resources about the country, crafts and foods.  But the Web can offer interesting resources as well.

The CIA provides their World Fact Book online.  Every country you can think of is represented with background information, travel advisories, and other interesting facts.  Cross-curricular activities can be created around the maps, photos, and an abundance of ready reference materials.  The CIA could be your starting point for any number of fun programs about Mexico or any country.  Perhaps your class are spies in training?  Travel journalists?  Rich and famous travelers exploring the world?  Have them make passports as they travel around the world and stamp the passport with Mexican cities or world countries.  But if you're working on a Cinco de Mayo lesson, be sure to start with the CIA's background information at

Looking for something visual?  Maybe a look into Mexico's past?  Several museums offer virtual exhibits of Mexican art.  For example, Harvard University's Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology has a remarkable collection related to Central America (  The most remarkable resource on the page is at the bottom, under "Related Links," "Altar Q and Copan."  If you click the link, you are taken to a page of further resources; selecting "Altar Q QTVR" links you to a virtual view of the Altar which can be viewed from all angles simply by dragging the image with a mouse.  Yale University also includes a collection of Art of the Ancient Americas.  Their images, found here:, can be viewed up close or as a thumbnail with details about each piece.

The Cleveland Museum of Art also has a remarkable online exhibit of their Art of the Americas collection, which includes images and descriptions.  There are 877 works of art available to view online at

Last but not least, Time for Kids (,20344,591663,00.html) and National Geographic Kids ( have online magazine articles with games, images and other information resources.  

Buenos dias!

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