11 Activities for Celebrating Cesar Chavez Day in Your Spanish Class
Cesar Chavez was a Mexican American human rights activist and leader.
We celebrate Cesar Chavez Day to honor his legacy within Latino and Hispanic communities. His contributions to civil rights and his fight for better working conditions for farmers in Yuma, Arizona was groundbreaking.
Get your students in on this meaningful celebration and honor his life with this list of 11 Activities for Celebrating Cesar Chavez Day in Your Spanish Class.
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Cesar Chavez Biography
Cesar Estrada Chavez was born on March 31st, 1927 in Yuma, Arizona. He was the son of Mexican immigrants who worked as farmers. His family lost their home during the Great Depression.
He spent his childhood between California and Arizona and began working at a very young age in the fields. Cesar Chavez attended school for a very short period and worked to help support his family. He also served in the United States Navy for two years.
After completing his service, he returned to Arizona and returned to work in the fields. He became a grassroots organizer for a Community Services Organization. His great leadership led him to eventually run the organization for four years.
Since he was a kid, Chavez witnessed the harsh conditions immigrants faced working in farms. Workers often endured severe exploitation from employers in exchange for little or no payment. These degrading terms also included no access to healthcare, poor housing infrastructure, and no access to basic services.
Farmers endured these precarious conditions and struggled to support their families’ livelihoods.
The Legacy of Cesar Chavez
Cesar Chavez set his mind on changing these conditions and on dignifying the work and life of farmers. In 1958 he decided to start an agricultural union to fight for the labor rights of Chicano and Latin American farmworkers.
The union was first named the National Farm Workers Association. In 1971 it adopted its official name: United Farm Workers (UFW).
Cesar Chavez became the president of the organization and encouraged a peaceful movement of protest. His work gained recognition in 1968 when he organized a national boycott against grape producers from California.
He took this movement to the large cities and gained nationwide attention and support through peaceful tactics and hunger strikes. Ultimately, the boycott led to negotiations between the UFW and grape producers.
His moral cause grew in following and notoriety. Finally, Cesar Chavez made employers pay adequate wages and provide benefits to workers. He is the person responsible for the first bill of rights for agricultural workers.
His commitment to social justice is undeniable. He spent his whole life dedicated to the well-being and dignity of others. Cesar Chavez died of natural causes in 1983.
President Bill Clinton awarded him in 1994 with the Presidential Medal of Honor.
Cesar Chavez Day
President Barack Obama declared Cesar Chavez Day a national holiday in 2014.
Even though it wasn’t declared a federal holiday, it’s a state holiday in California and is widely celebrated as a commemorative holiday in Arizona, Colorado, Michigan, New Mexico, Illinois, Utah, Wisconsin, Texas, and Rhode Island.
Learn about other important Hispanic figures in this fascinating blog post about 10 Spanish Inventors Who Have Changed Your Life.
11 Activities for Celebrating Cesar Chavez Day in Your Spanish Class
Are you a Spanish educator in search of ideas for celebrating this honorable holiday?
Celebrate Cesar Chavez and his multiple contributions to civil rights in the classroom with this list of unique, educational, and hands-on activities for an insightful lesson.
1. Plant a Vegetable Garden
Commemorate Cesar Chavez and farmers around the nation by planting a classroom vegetable garden with your students.
Source soil, wooden crates, seedlings, and print out our list of garden labels for your students to reinforce Spanish vocabulary.
You can watch this entertaining video with instructions from experts for this wonderful activity.
2. Invite a Farmer to Class
Welcome a farmer inside the classroom as a guest for Cesar Chavez Day.
Give space to a farmworker of your choice so he or she can share their story and narrative with your students. Allow your students to pay their respects and honor your guest with welcome cards, poems, and by sharing enriching one-on-one time.
Hearing from those who make it possible to have fresh food every day at home is a fantastic way of celebrating this holiday. It also teaches your student the value of the work farmworkers do for their communities.
3. Cesar Chavez Memorial
Use our Cesar Chavez Memorial template as a way for your students to pay their respects and highlight all the wonderful qualities and accomplishments he had.
Our template has an illustration of Cesar Chavez for the students to color and has six blank spaces for them to write qualities that describe this heroic character. Ask your students why they chose these qualities and allow them to share why they believe these traits are worth admiring.
4. Collect Fresh Produce for Donations
Organize a food drive of fresh produce inside the classroom and prepare care packs for families in need. You can donate these to local food banks and non-profit organizations supporting homeless families and immigrants in need.
5. Cesar Chavez Biopic
Organize a movie forum with your students and watch the film focused on Cesar Chavez and his legacy. The feature film is directed by Mexican actor Diego Luna and has a star-studded cast featuring John Malkovich, Michael Peña, Rosario Dawson, and America Ferrera.
The movie is available to rent on Amazon and has insightful details and memorable milestones of the life of Cesar Chavez. Leave space for discussion and reflection once you wrap up the show.
6. Paint a Mural
Cesar Chavez murals are possible to admire in the streets of San Diego, California; San Antonio, Texas; and other major cities.
Bring white canvas, brushes, and a wide variety of acrylic paint colors to the classroom. This activity is perfect for letting your student’s creative spirit soar and show how Cesar Chavez inspires them.
Take all of your students’ murals and hang them in a classroom wall as an homage to Cesar Chavez.
7. Cesar Chavez Books
Encourage the healthy habit of reading in the classroom with the multiple options available that focus on Cesar Chavez and his lifework.
Here’s a list of books you can use.
8. Cesar Chavez Quotes
Use our printable flashcards with Cesar Chavez quotes and make a wall in your classroom where your students can honor his lifework and legacy.
Allow each student to choose a quote and share their interpretation with the rest of the class and start a discussion.
9. Quiz and Word Scramble
Print our Cesar Chavez quiz template and allow your students to solve it with a good old-fashioned word scramble in Spanish.
This activity is excellent for testing your students’ Spanish reading and spelling skills.
10. Word Search
Use our sopa de letras (word search) template as a vocabulary reinforcement activity.
Your students need to find 10 words in Spanish that pertain to the life and work of Cesar Chavez. Word search is excellent for enhancing cognitive skills and reading in Spanish.
11. Cesar Chavez Sing Along
The song De colores (In colors) became the anthem of the United Farmworkers of America.
Use our template with the lyrics in Spanish and missing words your students need to complete as they hear the song. Test your student’s Spanish reading comprehension and listening with this challenging and amusing activity.
Learn more about Hispanic heritage and traditions with this list of 12 Hispanic Culture Books You Need to Read.
Take Your Student’s Spanish to Next Level
Teaching your students about leaders like Cesar Chavez is a fantastic way of teaching your students resilience, courage, and the value of community. Knowing Spanish expands global awareness and the understanding of diversity. It’s an excellent way to create a space for conversations about culture and respect for others.
Take your student’s Spanish to the next level and allow our certified instructors from Guatemala to help you differentiate fluency levels in your classroom. Join a free class and get help where you need it most with our certified team of professionals.
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