Friday, August 28, 2009

Get Ready to Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month runs from September 15 through October 15. The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was enacted into law in 1988. The day of Sept. 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on Sept. 16 and Sept.18, respectively. Also, Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, which is Oct. 12, falls within this 30 day period. Incidentally, the word Hispanic does not refer to race, but is an ethnic term for diverse peoples of many races and origins who hold in common the Spanish language.

Explore the following online resources and bring Latino heritage to your home and classroom:

The library's subscriptions to World Book Online, Britannica Online and Biography Resource Center, which includes a category browse for Hispanic Americans, provide a multitude of background documents, timelines and biographical sketches to assist students with school reports. Just log in with your 10-digit Fauquier County Public Library card number.'s Celebrate Latino Heritage site includes lesson plans for grades K-2, 3-5, 6-8 and high school students. Storytelling, writing and art are emphasized. Additional activities (Pinata Concentration Game) and background information (famous Latinos, Latinos in history, etc.) for all ages are part of the Celebrate Hispanic Heritage! section.

Gale Cengage Learning offers a number of free resources, including biographies of noteworthy Hispanics, quizzes and a timeline. celebrates Hispanic Heritage with featured biographies, study guides, online videos and a Latino trivia game.

Thinkfinity offers a rich collection of free lesson plans, activities and educational resources to educators.

The National Register of Historic Places web site highlights various properties listed in the National Register, travel itineraries, education lesson plans and National Parks that deal directly with the cultural and political experiences of Hispanic Americans.

Smithsonian Education features online educational activities and events at the various Smithsonian museums in Washington, DC. For example, Smithsonian Global Sound offers free music and videos from Latin American and from Hispanic communities in the U.S. A student activity is included.

The Library of Congress' National Hispanic Heritage Month online exhibit includes images and audio/visual presentations that bring history alive for young and old alike.

The National Education Association has compiled a list of Web sites to help teachers and students learn more about the history and culture of Hispanic people.

Finally, the library also has plenty of materials on Hispanic Americans you can check out and take home to enjoy.

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