Resources for Teaching Languages to Children


Making Paper Marigolds Step by Step in your classroom

Making paper marigolds is a wonderful way to bring a hands on activity to your classroom during El Día de los Muertos, something your students will surely remember! Over the years, I have found being prepared ahead of time, and going step by step, using kid friendly instructions, makes all the difference, especially when class only lasts a short time (in my case, I have kiddos for 30 minute classes). Here is what it looks like in my room:

Step by step instructions for making paper marigolds for Days of the Dead

The Prep:
I usually do this project with my Second Graders and since my classes are short, I like to have some steps done ahead of time to be sure we can get the flowers done in one shot. First, I cut green pipe cleaners in half. I also create name tags, put their names on them, punch a hole in each one, and attach a pipe cleaner to each one. Next, I take four sheets of tissue paper (I buy it already cut into squares) and make the first fold- folding the square in half. 

In class:
Since I have three colors of tissue paper, I call each kiddo up and have them choose which they would like (using manners vocab of course!) I also give them their stem at this time.

Once every kiddo has their tissue paper and stem, we begin the construction process. Here are two scripts, one in English (for those who aren't teaching Spanish) and one in Spanish, great for those  shooting for 90%. Projects like this one really lend themselves to using the target language, as long as you go step by step. Note the Spanish is much simpler and more direct than the English, making it perfect for novice learners. Don't forget to demonstrate each step as you give the instructions. And see my video step by step in Spanish on Youtube (please forgive any errors!):

-"Holding the rectangle like a taco, open part up, fold the rectangle in half. Now we have a square."
-"Okis, tenemos un taco. Vamos a doblarlo por la mitad, así'

-"Now we are going to make a pizza slice. Put your scissors in the hand you cut with, and hold the square at the bottom, folded point." (I usually go around to every kiddo to be sure they are holding the right point. Otherwise, there is always at least one flower that ends up being cut in the wrong place and when unfolded, is no longer able to become a flower.)
-"Vamos a hacer una porción (trozo, rebanada) de pizza."

-"Now we are going to cut from one corner to the other in a curve. This will make our pizza slice shape." (I demonstrate before they cut so they can see how it should go. I then walk around and monitor the cutting to be sure they are cutting between the right corners.)
-"Corta el papel de una esquina a la otra así."

-"Now we are going to cut the fringe to make the petals. We are going to cut straight down, not the whole way, along the crust of the pizza slice." (Again, I demonstrate)
-"Ahorita, vamos a hacer los pétalos, cortando así."

-"Now we are going to put the scissors down because we won't need them anymore. Gently unfold the pizza back into the taco shape." (The key word here is gently! I demonstrate this)
-"Guardar las tijeras. Con cuidado, desdoblar las hojas de papel (las capas) así."

-"Now we will unfold the taco into a tortilla. Let's do this gently." (Some kiddos have difficulty with this step, so I go around and help)
-"Desdoblarlas una vez más."

-'Now we will need to insert the stem. Take one sheet at a time and poke the stem through the middle. If we do all four sheets at once, we will increase the chance of ripping the paper, so let's go with just one sheet at a time." (Again, I help with this as necessary)
-"Vamos a pasar el tallo por el centro de cada una de las hojas de papel (las capas), una a la vez, así."

-'Now that all four sheets are on the stem, we need to fold over the top of the stem so the paper stays on the stem." (I demonstrate and help as necessary)
-"Hacerle un doblez al tallo en la punta, así."

-"Right now we have a parasol, but we need a fluffy flower. We are going to scrunch each sheet of paper toward the middle to make it a poofy flower. Be gentle and don't pull the sheets off the stem :) (Again, I go around and help. There is always at least one that comes off the stem lol. Usually it is an easy fix to put it back on the stem. If it is completely ruined, I always have a few in reserve.)
-"Vamos a arrugar las hojas de papel (las capas) para realizar la maravilla, una hoja a la vez, así."

-"Now look at your flower and smile :)"
-"¡Y ya!"
I like to use the flowers to decorate my door and give them back after El Día de los Muertos is over. They make quite an impression! Have fun and enjoy making your own! (And let me know if you use different vocabulary- I love learning new things!)

And check out our printable Spanish minibook and theme pack perfect for integrating El Día de los Muertos in your classroom. You can purchase it in our shop here.

Days of the Dead Theme Pack for Spanish Class

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