Research projects are an amazing way to engage students with the language and give them an opportunity to explore the culture, history, geography, and important figures. These projects allow for creativity, critical thinking, research skills, and (if you want) collaboration. Unfortunately, they can ALSO be a total headache to organize, so I wanted to share tips for a successful Hispanic Heritage Month research project in your classes!
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Options for a Hispanic Heritage Month Research Project
You don’t have to do the same research project year after year with your students. Here are a few options for you to consider as you’re planning a project to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month:
- Biography poster project
- Wax museum project
- Spanish holidays project
- Spanish-speaking country project
- Create a virtual field trip! (Explore one country or report on several)
- Animals of the world
- Spanish-speaking authors
- Spanish-speaking artists
Tips for a successful Hispanic Heritage Month Research Project
- Have clear expectations
- Allow choice
- Check in with students along the way
- Bring in a media specialist or expert to help your students research
- Show off their stuff
Tip #1 Have Clear Expectations
Make sure your students understand what you want the final projects to look like and the language you expect from them. A great start is discussing proficiency levels, like I mention in my post on How to Keep Students from Using Google Translate here. Another is just showing them an example of a completed project, or using readings as a mentor text to help model what they are capable of. These expectations will of course vary depending on the level doing the project!
Tip #2 Allow Choice
Within reason, it’s a great idea to include student choice! It’s one of the reasons choice boards can be so effective – students like being able to pick! I love to give students a choice as to where or what they are researching to help with student buy in. I always include a blank poster template for students to add another option, in case there’s a topic they’d like to research that I didn’t think of ahead of time.
Of course, this is within reason. Sometimes they want to research someone who just isn’t appropriate for the setting. If you let your students choose, make sure they know that you will approve their choices before they continue with the project!
Tip #3 Check in with students
If you want your students to be successful with their Hispanic Heritage Month research project, you want to check in with them along the way. Don’t just hand them the expectations and set them off to researching! Make sure you set points to visit with them to make sure they understand what they are supposed to do, and no one is surprised when it’s time to present.
Tip #4 Bring in an expert for your Hispanic Heritage Month Research Project
If you can, it’s a great time to lean on any resources your school has to offer. If you have a librarian or school media specialist, talk to them! They might be able to come to your room to help with research. If not, they likely have a list of student-friendly resources your district has access to to support your students.
If there’s no librarian or media specialist, connect with your co-workers and admin. Other subject areas do research projects, too! Does the social studies teacher have a list of sites you could snag? Is one of your admin a former English teacher who might help with a lesson on evaluating sources? You don’t have to do everything alone!
Tip #5 Show off their stuff
Whether your students host a “field trip” to their museums, hang their posters in the hallway, or send classrooms on a virtual trip they created, it’s important to give them a chance to show off their hard work. An added bonus is that showing off their projects is a great way to turn your classroom celebration into a school-wide Hispanic Heritage Month celebration!
Showing off their work can be as simple or complex as you like. Two of my favorite simple options are to just hang their work on a display in the hallway or to do a rotating presentation. Put students in pairs, have them present to each other, and then swap partners. It’s much lower stress than presenting in front of the whole class, and doesn’t take as much time!
More for Hispanic Heritage Month
Looking for more lesson plans and tips to help your Hispanic Heritage Month in your Spanish classes instead of just your club? This post has tips, lessons, activities – everything you need to host a celebration!
If you’re looking for more ideas, check out these 7 simple ideas for how you can celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with your Spanish club!
Want to host a school wide celebration? Check out 10 ways to include your student body in Hispanic Heritage Month plans!