Día de los Muertos Education Guide

Día de los Muertos or also known as Day of the Dead is a beautiful celebration to remember loved ones who have died. The following videos, activities and resources will help your students learn more about this special holiday.

Día de los Muertos or also known as Day of the Dead is a beautiful celebration to remember loved ones who have died. The following videos, activities and resources will help your students learn more this special holiday.



Grades K-7.RL.2 — Summarize the key supporting details and ideas. In Grades 4 –7 students focus on determining the theme and supporting with details.

Grades K-6.RL.9 — Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take.

Grades K-7.RI.1 — Read carefully to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.

Grades K-7.RI.2 — Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development. In Grades K - 4, the focus is on identifying the main idea and supporting details.



Grades K-5.W.3 — Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well‐chosen details and well‐structured event sequences.


Grades 1-7.L.4 — Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases by using context clues, analyzing meaningful word parts and consulting general and specialized reference materials, as appropriate.


Speaking and Listening

Grades K-7.SL.1  Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

Grades K-7.SL.2 — Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively and orally.


Visual Arts

VA.CR.2.K-7a — Explore, Create or develop artwork using a variety of artistic processes, materials and approaches according to grade-level expectations.

  1. What do you know about the Day of the Dead, or Día de los Muertos? What does it make you think of? (Grades K-7.SL.1)
  2. Do you have family or know anyone who celebrates Día de los Muertos? (Grades K-7.SL.1)
  3. Día de los Muertos is a day of happiness because it is about remembering loved ones. Do you have any special traditions in your family to remember loved ones who have passed on? (Grades K-7.SL.1)
  4. After watching the videos, what is something new you learned about Día de los Muertos? What were you surprised to find out? (Grades K-7.SL.1, SL.2)

Some of the Día de los Muertos vocabularies may be unfamiliar to students. Take a look at the following vocabulary page. To help them retain the vocabulary, you can have them create sentences, act out the vocabulary words, or draw visuals to go with them. 


Standards Implemented: Grades 1-7.L.4 Approximate time: 15-20 min

Materials Needed: Vocabulary Pages, optionally paper/pencils/drawing materials



Being able to retell a story or summarize a subject is an important skill. To summarize the important elements of Día de los Muertos by Bob Barner or Mi Familia Calaca by Cynthia Weill, students can participate in a cooperative sentence strip activity. See page Activity 1 for details on this activity.  


Standards Implemented: Grades K-7.RL.2

Approximate time: 30-45 minutes

Materials needed: Activity 1

Now that students have an idea of what might happen on Día de los Muertos, they can write a creative story starring their very own calaca. See Activity Two for details on how students can create their own calacas as well as write a story telling all about what their calacas does at night.


Standards Implemented: Grades K-7.W.3; VA.CR.2.K-7a

Approximate time: 45 minutes + depending on level art creation chosen

Materials needed: Activity 2

A common misconception about Día de los Muertos is that it is the “Mexican version” of Halloween. After learning about Día de los Muertos, students should have more information about what Día de los Muertos is really about. Create a Venn Diagram or Double Bubble Thinking Map with students to compare and contrast Día de los Muertos and Halloween to clarify what these celebrations are about.


Standards Implemented: Grades K-6.RL.9

Approximate time: 20-30 minutes

Materials: Chart paper, markers

After learning about Día de los Muertos and viewing the videos, review as a class the five senses: Sight, Sound, Smell, Taste, and Touch. Students will apply what they know about Día de los Muertos to create a 5 Senses Poem about Día de Los Muertos by writing about what each sense experiences during Día de Los Muertos. Encourage your student to go through the writing process: brainstorm, rough draft, revising, editing, final copy and publishing.

Standards Implemented: Grades K-5.W.3


Approximate time: 20-30 minutes

Materials: 5 Senses Poem Page or your own paper, Pencil