CommonLit Secondary Classrooms Honoring Hispanic Heroes this Hispanic Heritage Month

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with your class by teaching them about influential Hispanic activists, artists, and athletes.

Hispanic Heritage Month, spanning from September 15th to October 15th, provides a great opportunity to teach your students about influential Hispanic figures. The CommonLit Library has many engaging and informative texts to celebrate Hispanic Heritage month in your classroom including biographies of powerful Hispanic figures. Pair these biographies with additional videos and historical resources to create a vibrant and joyful celebration this month, all while reinforcing students’ reading comprehension and writing skills.

Dolores Huerta, Leader and Activist” by Diane L. Brooks (5th Grade)

This biographical text summarizes the influential career of Dolores Huerta, a teacher and community organizer who founded the National Farm Workers Association. Huerta worked with Cesar Chavez to help migrant workers stand up for their rights and ensure they were treated fairly by their employers. Huerta is considered one of the “100 Most Important Women of the 20th Century” due to her amazing organizing work.

Use this text and the discussion questions to prompt a class conversation about what makes someone a hero. Is Dolores Huerta a hero? Ask the class to gather evidence from Huerta’s biography to back up their claims.

A screenshot from the discussion section of the "Dolores Huerta, Leader and Activist" text.

The Chicano Movement” by Jessica McBirney (7th Grade)

The Chicano Movement of the 1960s was a social movement in the United States. Activists worked to end the discrimination towards and mistreatment of Mexican American citizens, otherwise known as Chicanos.

Pair this text with an interview with Poet Laureate, Juan Felipe Herrera, in the “Paired Media” tab. Herera describes how he found his voice while coming of age in the Southwest during the Chicano Movement. Ask students, how did the Chicano movement shape Herrera as a person? Then, ask students to think about how humans are shaped by the social circumstances in which they grow up and reflect on how they are personally being shaped by and responding to the world.

Lin Manuel Miranda” by Jessica McBirney (8th Grade)

This informational text summarizes Lin-Manuel Miranda’s life and career as an artist. Miranda is an award winning musical writer and star, best known for writing Hamilton and In the Heights. Miranda uses his experiences and passions to create notable Broadway musicals.

This is a great text for Hispanic Heritage Month, because Miranda draws so much inspiration from his identity. This biography can be used for teaching how to determine the central idea of a text, and in turn, how it is conveyed through key details. As students read, ask them to take notes on the development of Miranda’s career in the entertainment industry. Then, as a class watch the closing number from the 2016 Tonys, which you can find on the Related Media tab. Ask students to discuss Miranda’s interpretation of history. How does Hamilton depict historical events through theatrics, how does his lived experience and passion add to his art form?

This text is also available as a Target Lesson. Teach students how to connect ideas with an in depth lesson on Lin Manuel Miranda that includes, graphics, videos, quizzes and more!

A screenshot of the Related Media tab associated with the "Lin Manuel Miranda" text.

“​​Latin American Trailblazers in Major League Baseball” by T.J. Resler (8th Grade)

In this article T.J. Resler explores how Latin American and Caribbean baseball players have transformed baseball in the United States over the last century.

Pair this text with “The Negro Leagues and Latin American Beisbol” for a deeper dive into the history of intergration in baseball and ask the class what changes have occurred in the last hundred years of baseball history.

Cesar Chavez: The Life Behind a Legacy of Farm Labor Rights”  by Maureen Pao for NPR (9th Grade)

This biographical text depicts Chavez's personal experience as a labor leader and civil rights activist fighting for farm workers’ rights. Chavez based his methods of nonviolent civil disobedience on practices used by Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. Chavez dedicated his life to fighting for workers’ rights by utilizing nonviolent organizing principles and founding the United Farm Workers union, which is still active today.

For further background on the life and impact of Chavez, read this speech Chavez gave in the 1980s. The primary source document will expand students’ understandings of Chavez and the power of his rhetoric.

If you’re interested in teaching about Chavez’s movement to a younger class, we also have a biography of him for 3rd graders and 6th graders!

Looking for more great resources for Hispanic Heritage Month for your ELA curriculum?

Explore our Hispanic Authors and History text set found on the CommonLit Library website.

Sign up for one of our free Hispanic Heritage Month webinars, where we will give more relevant text recommendations and teach you how to assign lessons on CommonLit.