Blending Culture and Technology

Today’s Contributor: Karen Guerrero

Karen teaches at AP US History and inclusion US History for English Learners at Crockett High School.  She has two sons who both attended Crockett. When not at Crockett, she can be found out in nature or on the water, listening to music, playing golf or just relaxing with a book or movie.


Ah! October! There is a chill in the air, pumpkin spice comes back and football season is in full swing.  Holidays are around the corner, decorations for Holloween are going up and in some cultures, Ofrendas are being created to honor ancestors who have died.  Ofrendas are a collection of objects placed in a ritual display and are traditionally a part of the Dia De Los Muertos celebration in Hispanic Cultures.

Incorporating Blended Learning, Social Emotional Intelligence and Culturally Responsive Teaching in classroom lesson plans can be a big order for any class.  I teach two sections of U.S. History that are stacked with English Language Learners. This makes differentiation difficult, however, this fall I did find one way to use all three in my U.S. History classes.  

Crockett holds a school-wide Dia De Los Muertos celebration every year.  I decided to incorporate Ofrendas into lesson plans for U.S. History to address Social Emotional Learning and Culturally Responsive Teaching.  Students were given a reformer from the Progressive-Era and tasked with creating an Ofrenda to the reformer. Students from cultural backgrounds that celebrate Dia De Los Muertos became instant experts on the project for other students unfamiliar with Ofrendas – a welcome change for students unfamiliar with the dominant culture of the United States.  Having the Ofrendas presented at the school-wide celebration gave all students a real-world application to the project.



Blended learning was incorporated by using Chromebooks to research reformers and prepare parts of the Ofrenda. Students also used looping videos as a part of their presentations.  Ofrendas were presented in the classroom in a museum presentation. Students moved freely about the room reading the contributions of each reformer and watching videos. Students were given a choice as to how they recorded the information they were learning – to type notes on GoogleDocs or handwritten notes.




  1. “I decided to incorporate Ofrendas into lesson plans for U.S. History to address Social Emotional Learning and Culturally Responsive Teaching” Now if that isn’t some cross-discipline, all inclusive, power C’s work right there I don’t know what is! How amazing! ✨ Love the way students were able to work with multiple modes of communication with this project and with note taking. I know as an adult learner that I need options and our children do too, great work!

  2. Great job! I just tweeted this blog out. We had an Ofrenda here this year, but the classroom Blended learning component really increases the impact.

  3. Just tweeted this out! What a cool activity. We had an Ofrenda this year in our library, but the integration of Blended learning piece really adds to the cultural impact. Good job!

  4. I think this is a terrific idea! What a fun and authentic way for students to learn about historical reformers AND the cultural meaning of ofrendas! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Karen, I absolutely love this! I am always so impressed but what you bring to the classroom and your innovative ideas- what a fabulous way to build on something familiar to students in culture and use it as a unique learning experience. Looping videos is also such a powerful tool to enhance learning and I have never thought to use it in this way. Sharing this with all of our history teachers at Lanier- you are amazing!

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