Hispanic Heritage Month Lesson Plan

A national holiday celebrating the contributions of Hispanic and Latino artists, scientists, activists and human rights leaders in the United States. 

Multimedia Resources in both English and Spanish for Middle and High School Students

Hispanic Heritage Month Lesson Plan
Credit: Rebecca Amber [Public Domain] via US Air Force

Films in English

Students watch these films in which Hispanic and Latino community activists are featured, and consider the discussion questions.

The Community They Fight For

Producer: Mill Valley Film Group

Latino community activist Mark Lopez pushed government officials to provide comprehensive lead testing and cleanup of contaminated East Los Angeles homes.

Erica Fernandez: The Tool of Protest

Produced by:Center for Advancing Unity / The Working Group

Erica Fernandez, a brave and passionate young activist, defends her community from corporate polluters.

My Family Journey: Pathway to Empowering Hispanic Women

Angelina Pendleton-Mendez
Angelina Pendleton-Mendez interviews Maria Mendez, her paternal grandmother about her family and their journey.

Angelina Pendleton-Mendez interviews Maria Mendez, her paternal grandmother about her family and their journey. Angelina was curious about her family's heritage, discovers the rich history of Mexico's culture and her ancestors who have empowered her even during a time when women were silenced by their abilities.

Interview a grandparent and find out about their life, challenges along the way and how they overcame them. 

MY HERO Suggested Video

"Hidden Figuras: Jovita Idár" (2018) by BESE

An educator, journalist, activist and sometimes nurse, Idár is one of the most historically significant Texans that you've never heard of. And that's no surprise.

Founded by Zoe Saldana, BESE's mission is to broaden and reshape the cultural narrative by shining light on the untold stories that reflect today’s America. We respect all identities and admire the people who have the courage to say, “this is who I am.”

Películas en Español 

Los estudiantes ven estas películas sobre héroes en Español.

Biblioburro: The Donkey Library

Producer: Valentina Canavesio

'Biblioburro' sigue a Luis Soriano Bohorquez, un maestro en un pequeño pueblo de La Gloria, Colombia, mientras viaja hacia las colinas y por los campos, en la espalda de su burro, trayendo con él libros para niños de las comunidades rurales que no tienen acceso a ninguna librería o biblioteca.

Aguas turbias

Producer: Will Parrinello
Agricultores se unen para luchar contra compañías de minería de minerales quienes están amenazando sus fuentes de agua.

Additional films in Spanish

Películas adicionales en español.

Una Declaración de Interdependencia

Producer: Tiffany Shlain y participantes globales
Directora galardonada Tiffany Shlain y su equipo invitaron al mundo a participar en una película de fuentes de multitudes - reescribiendo la Declaración de Independencia como Una Declaración de Interdependencia.

Day of the Dead Photo Essay

Producer: Alicia Salinas

Un artista de la calle trabajando en la Playa Venice explica su pasión.

Stories in English

Students read one or all of the featured stories about Latino and Hispanic heroes and consider the discussion questions and activities.

(Please note that six stories are available in text and audio.)

Leo Limón

By: Deborah Neff
L.A. activist and artist Leo Limon, a leading figure in Chicana/o art scene, gives back to his community.

Elizabeth Acevedo

By: Deborah Neff
Afro-Latina poet Elizabeth Acevedo writes about her own people for young adult readers and adults alike.

Ellen Ochoa

By: Daniel Chavez

Ellen Ochoa was the first Hispanic woman astronaut.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

By: Jien

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a congresswoman from New York.

Dolores Huerta

By: Rachel Parsons

Huerta began to see the need for agricultural workers to organize for labor rights as a teacher. Many of her students were children of migrant workers.

Sonia Smith-Kang: Mixed Up Clothing

By: Shannon Luders-Manuel
Sonia Smith-Kang is the founder of Mixed Up Clothing, a boutique children's clothing line. During the coronavirus, she is using her fabric to make masks for customers and medical workers.

Recommended for ESL Students

The following stories are available in text and audio so students can read and listen. 

Tania Ruiz

By: Star Lawrence<br> <h5>Originally published on the <b>Minority Scientists Net...

Tania Ruiz is an astrophysicist committed to science education and helping women reach their goals.

Sonia Sotomayor

By: Daniel Chavez

Sonia Sotomayor is the first Hispanic US Supreme Court Justice.

Dolores Huerta

By: Amy from Hillsborough, North Carolina
Dolores Huerta is a civil rights activist who worked with Cesar Chavez to found the United Farm Workers (United Farm Workers).

Fabiola Cabeza de Baca Gilbert

By: Emma Navajas
Fabiola Cabeza de Baca Gilbert made tremendous advancements in food safety in the American Southwest.

Cesar Chavez

By: Annie from San Diego
Cesar Chavez was a tireless advocate for migrant farm workers.

Jaime Escalante

By: Anika from Roseville
Jaime Escalante proved to the nation that inner-city students could master difficult subjects.

The story about Dr. France Cordova is available in English and Spanish.

Dr. France Cordova

By: Barbara Field

Dr. France Cordova is a renowned astrophysicist who has broken gender and cultural barriers. She is currently the director of the US National Science Foundation.

Dra. France Córdova (español)

By: Bárbara Field

“Sólo aquellos que se arriesgan a llegar lejos, pueden tener una idea de lo lejos que se puede llegar." - T.S. Eliot

Historias en español  

Erica Fernández (español)

By: Daniel Chávez

Dolores Huerta (español)

By: Amy de Hillsborough, Carolina del Norte

Luis Soriano Bohorquez (español)

By: Ryan from San Diego

Historias leídas en español

Explorer Hero: Ellen Ochoa (español)

By: Daniel Chavez
Ellen Ochoa fue contra las adversidades y sobresalió, dando un excelente ejemplo de que todo es posible en la vida, y por esa razón, Ellen Ochoa es mi héroe!

Sports Hero: Julio Vásquez (español)

By: Sarah
El Maestro Vásquez es mi héroe por las valiosas lecciones que le enseño a todos sus estudiantes. Le enseño a todos sus estudiantes los valores de la humanidad. El señor enseñaba respeto, control, felicidad, paz, compasión, cortesía, y defensa propia.


“Necesitamos construir colaboraciones entre el gobierno, fundadores, y CBOs para crea trabajos para los latinos en las comunidades arruinadas.” – Secretaria de labor Hilda Solís en la Conferencia HIP GameChangers

Artist Hero: Pablo Picasso (español)

Él fue el artista más influyente del siglo 20. Su movimiento cubista inspiró a muchos otros. Hubo futurismo en Italia, suprematismo y el constructivismo en Rusia, de Stijl Países Bajos, vorticismo en Ingalterra, y expresionismo alemán. ¿Quien hubiera pensado que su vida de pobreza y depresión pudiera impactar e influenciar a tantos?

Discussion Questions

1. How are the women featured in the essays similar? How are they different?

2. How has each woman's heritage affected her life? What obstacles did they have to overcome? Where did they find their strength?

3. Mark Lopez and Erica Fernandez, heroes featured in the film section, are activists in their community. Identify activists working in your community. What are they doing? Share their story with MY HERO. Reach out to see if you can help their cause. 

4. Angelina Pendleton-Mendez interviewed her grandmother about her heritage. What did she learn that inspires her? 

5. What is your heritage? Consider interviewing a member of your family to learn more. Submit a story or short film about what you learned to MY HERO. 

6. Whom from your ethnicity or heritage are you inspired by? Share his or her story and why this person is your hero.  

Students analyze the artwork by Hispanic American artists who are inspired by their heritage, and consider the discussion questions and activity.


Descriptions of Art in English

Agave Americana

By: Noel Marquez
Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month

Dolores Huerta

By: Marilyn Huerta, Portrait artist

Dolores Huerta is an American labor leader and civil rights activist of Hispanic descent who, with Cesar Chavez, co-founded of the National Farmworkers Association.

Cesar Chavez

By: Marilyn Huerta, portrait artist

Remembering the legacy of Cesar Chavez, Hispanic heritage hero and labor organizer (UFW), who tirelessly fought for farm workers in California

Frida Kahlo by Marilyn Huerta

By: Marilyn Huerta
Visionary and iconic female Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo created magic realist works that admired today

Dolores Olmedo Patino by Diego Rivera

By: Diego Rivera

Latino Mural

By: Champions for Change

Descripciones de arte en español 

Agave Americana (español)

By: Noel Márquez
Celebrando el mes de la herencia hispana

Argentina - Bariloche 011 (español)

By: Fotógrafo McKay Savage

Orgullo Hispano (español)

By: Jose Acosta

Mural Carlos Gardel por Pelado (obra en curso)
en Palermo en la Avenida Libertador y Avenida Dorrego (español)

By: Alfredo Segatori

Frida Azul (español)

By: Dania Sierra

Discussion Questions

1. The mural by Noel Marquez is painted on a wall in a park that used to be covered in graffiti. Are there any areas in your community that would benefit from a mural? How could you get the community involved? Create an action plan, get others involved and share your efforts with MY HERO.                                                               

2. Research other portraits by Marilyn Huerta. Notice how she uses bright color and broad brushstrokes in her artwork. Create a portrait of your hero using the same technique to submit to the MY HERO Gallery.

3. Jose Acosta uses bright colors and swirling figures in his artwork. Research other artwork created by Jose Acosta. Create artwork inspired by his technique that celebrates the best of humanity to submit to the MY HERO Gallery.

4. Who are other Hispanic artists? What is his or her inspiration? Do some research and share their story with MY HERO.  


"Recuerdos de Lieja (Live at Lukowski Festival)" by Leo Brouwer A Classical Guitar recording

Juan Leovigildo Brouwer Mezquida was born March 1, 1939 in Havana is a Cuban composer, conductor, and guitarist. 


After analyzing the portraits and reading the poems, students are encouraged to submit an original illustrated poem about their hero to MY HERO through the Create Program

The Hispanics featured in this collection come from different backgrounds and from many different countries. Celebrate their accomplishments and their contributions to a collective history and a community that continues to evolve and thrive today! (Artwork displayed with permission from the artist.) 

Cesar Chavez

By: Rafael Lopez

Julia de Burgos

By: Rafael Lopez

Jose Marti

By: Rafael Lopez

Juana Briones

By: Rafeal Lopez

Learning Outcomes

Students will identify heroes from their culture who inspire them. Students will develop higher-level learning skills as they compare the written word, films and art.  

Additional stories in Spanish / Historias adicionales en español 

Stories in Spanish

Additional stories with Spanish text.

Credit: MY HERO


Laura Nietzer

The Hispanic Heritage Month lesson plan was created by MY HERO Education Outreach Director Laura Nietzer.

MY HERO Calendars for use in the Classroom

MY HERO's Teachers Calendar Features Lesson Plans and Multimedia Resources

Teachers Calendar
Credit: MY HERO

Learn about a New Hero Every Day of the Year: Use the MY HERO Calendar in the Classroom

Students can share their Hero Essays, Films and Art through our Create Program

Create Program
Credit: MY HERO

Outstanding essays submitted to MY HERO will be considered for a certificate/t-shirt prize or be featured on the Story Homepage.

Submit your artwork to be entered in the MY HERO art contest or to be exhibited on our Gallery Homepage.

Students can submit their films for free with a waiver to the MY HERO International Film Festival.

Enter one of MY HERO Multimedia Contests - Click here to view our current contests.

MY HERO Contests
Credit: MH

Organizer created on 8/1/2019 1:46:46 PM by Laura Nietzer

Last edited 9/18/2023 10:17:55 AM by Laura Nietzer