I came across this funny song about Acción de Gracias while searching for authentic ways to introduce this topic. It covers a lot of vocabulary the students will be practicing in the coming days in our unit on celebrations.
A word of caution – it does mention “digestivos” which is an after dinner drink – I decided to use it anyways as 1. My students don’t know what that is even in English and 2. It can also mean something that can help you use the bathroom so in the event they did ask that is what I would tell them and 3. My activities are really focused on food so they don’t even have time to think about what that word is. I made an activity for it and if you’re interested it can be found here.
Do you do a unit on Thanksgiving? Do you use any authentic resources to supplement your lessons?
To give or not give vocabulary lists… this seems to be a pretty hot topic and I’ll share with you all what works for our program and maybe you can share some ideas in the comments below!
We are totally on board with 90%+ Spanish, we do the circle, we’ve tossed the book but we decided as a team to keep our cultural units along with reference sheets for the students. Why? 1. Because they appreciated having something to reference while working on assignments at home and the dictionary sites aren’t always easy for them to use and 2. their parents, caregivers and liaisons wanted something to reference if they were helping their student practice or do an assignment.
What do you do?
It has been a long time since I’ve posted here! A lot has changed since I posted regularly and I can’t wait to share with you all of the things that have changed in my teaching practice since then.
Let’s talk about staying relevant and student buy in. I don’t use a text book – why? well when I used the text book I always felt like my curriculum was a boring, rigid with little wiggle room for creativity and authenticity. For me, culture should be the means by which we teach the language because those two can’t and shouldn’t be disconnected. I also have strong feelings about English being used more than the Target Language in classroom. So, about 5 years ago tired of trying to find balance with the book I said GOODBYE and began my own journey in creating a culturally relevant thematic curriculum. It has been challenging, but I am so lucky that I have the support of my department and my PLC and no one telling me I shouldn’t! And… the results have been pretty amazing!
I am excited to teach.
No more front loading of boring topics and grammar terms – culture and authentic resources first!
The students are HAPPY and EAGER to learn.
I will share more on how I started this journey in future posts – but now let’s talk Acción de Gracias or Thanksgiving. It is coming up quick! Do you talk about this in your classes? Why or why not?
In my 1A classes, we will be soon starting a unit on Celebrations – this includes Thanksgiving, Christmas, Posadas, New Year and many, many more as we have a very diverse population and are always cognizant of including everyone so they can have something to talk about too! We started this unit a few years ago and felt it was a perfect fit for us because it is the time of year where many holidays are celebrated and there is holiday decor, signs and commercials everywhere so it is hard not to talk about celebrations. Students enjoy talking about things that are current and apply to them AND we connect it with how holiday time is celebrated in Spanish-speaking countries. There are SO many resources out there that talk about Thanksgiving in Spanish, how Thanksgiving is celebrated in places like Puerto Rico and how Latinos in the US celebrate Thanksgiving here with their own toque latino!
If you’re looking into incorporating Acción de Gracias here are some authentic resources to get you started. Here is a vocabulary reference sheet (yes, I still give these – more on why later) if you’re interested. Stay tuned on how I use these!
El Pavochón, una variante puertorriqueña para Acción de Gracias | Noticiero | Telemundo
Hispano ayuda por años a su comunidad en “Acción de Gracias” | Noticiero | Noticias Telemundo
I’m always looking for fun games to play in the classroom. Students love it and when done right it is a fantastic way to get the kids up and out of their seats and learning the language in a fun way. I have struggled though with finding enough games so I can play with them frequently enough without them getting bored of the same old thing. I recently started watching Ellen! Did you know she plays a game with her guests and/or audience pretty much every episode?! So many great games to choose from that can be adapted for the language class!
Hear are a few that I found to be great for the classroom
1. Heads Up! (this is an app but you can always make your own cards and have students play in groups – there is a Spanish version and one with just pictures too!)
2. 5 second rule – have students name 3 things in different categories in under 5 seconds. I already started my list and have 8grado_Endofyear_5secondrule already!
3. 60 seconds – Students answer as many questions as possible in 60 seconds. Student with most questions answered at the end wins.
You can find more examples of her games http://www.ellentv.com/tags/Games/
What games do you play in class!?
I really enjoy finding new ways for my students to learn vocabulary! Long gone are the days of boring powerpoint presentations and vocabulary lists. Students truly enjoy exploring authentic media and there’s no better way to learn vocabulary than to experience it hands on.
Yesterday we started a new unit on food with my Novice Level 1 students. I’ve presented this vocabulary in a variety of ways but last year thought that it would be interesting to see what students came up with if I asked them to create their own vocabulary lists (with guidance and structure por supuesto). I provided them with a list of supermarket websites and told them to find 6 items (or more) for each food group. The students had so much fun looking through the sites and online catalogs and seeing how currencies work in different countries. They also discovered some food items they’ve never seen here before so that is always a great conversation starter.
Here is the list I gave them – do you have any favorite supermarket sites? Share them in the comments!
I’ve known about google forms for quite some time now but never really used it in my classroom. This year my students were all given chrome books so doing any online/tech activity is really easy now! In years past I always had a warm up on the board and the students either wrote down their answers on a calentamiento handout and this year I had them do it on a shared google doc – what a nightmare… It was such a tedious task. Last week I said to myself – why am I doing this? What is the point!? So I decided it was time for change.
Change is good! I had the students delete their warm-up document completely and explained to them why I was doing this. I told them that we will be using google form from now on because it is SO MUCH BETTER!!!!!!! Why is it so much better!? Well let me tell you! You can add videos, pictures, audio – anything! It’s awesome because there are so many great authentic texts, videos, songs, etc out there and almost no time to have them do stuff with them! And now I can! And what is even better…. google form creates a spreadsheet with all of their answers – and if you use flubaroo (will post about this soon) it will grade it for you! Whaaaat…. so amazing!
Here are some examples of some google forms I’ve done this past week! Feel free to use- BUT MAKE SURE YOU MAKE A COPY – OTHERWISE I WILL GET YOUR STUDENT’S RESPONSES!
Have you used google form before? How? Would love to hear how you’ve used it 🙂 🙂 🙂
Here is a list of videos I came across for la Navidad y el Día de los Reyes. I don’t have any cloze activities for these yet but I thought I’d share anyways. Enjoy!
The girl in this video is just PRECIOUS 🙂
This one is about los Reyes
Coca- Cola – Families apart on Christmas
El año viejo en Colombia
Navidad En San Cipriano
What videos do you use for this unit????
Wow! It’s been a while since I’ve posted – but the babies, the holidays and everything else have totally taken over!!!
In the next few days I’m going to post some resources for Navidad as – IT’S ONLY 3 WEEKS AWAY!!! AHHHHHH!!!!
As part of my family unit I like to discuss family traditions and celebrations- and how perfect that this unit always falls in December! I start my celebrations unit off by having the students fill out a KWL chart about what they think they know and want to know about holidays in the Spanish-speaking world.
I came across this great video from http://www.bablingua.com- it’s called ¡Feliz Navidad! and covers the basics on holiday time in Spain. It’s not free 😦 but it does come with a pretty great packet, audio files and a video for $8.00. I highly recommend it, so it’s totally worth the $$$. The video covers Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, “El Día de los Inocentes” (the Spanish version of April Fool’s Day), New Year’s, Christmas songs and typical foods. I usually do the video in chunks and then do the follow up activities from the packet and I also have the students make connections with their own celebrations.
The video also talks about the big Christmas lottery they do in Spain. Every year they come out with these great commercials promoting the lottery. Here are some of the videos I found on YouTube from this year and previous years.
Do you do a unit on holidays? What resources do you use?
For those of you getting ready for El día de los muertos, here’s a project I do with my 1B’s. If you search el día de los muertos on my blog, you’ll find even more resources. Hope you find it useful!
When I teach cultural topics I like for the students to create something from the target culture or from their experience in lessons, that way it wasn’t just a “cultural Friday” type of activity. For el día de los muertos, I have the students create altars or ofrendas in honor of a deceased Hispanic celebrity. It’s great because not only do the students learn about a famous Hispanic they get to experience hands on (to some extent) the process that goes into making an ofrenda for someone who has passed away.
The first thing I have them do is research a deceased Hispanic celebrity. Students get a person from a list I have created at random. They then research where the person was from, about their life and why they were famous. After learning about el día de los muertos, I then present the project to them. I show them images of the shoebox ofrendas previous classes have made and explain to them that they will create an ofrenda for the person they studied. Their task is to not only create an ofrenda, but create it in honor of that person- thinking about what items they can place on the altars that really represent their person of study. Here are some examples!
What do they need to make the ofrendas? They need a shoebox and some creativity! Some students buy little scrapbooking stickers, use clay, toys, and images to use on their altar. The flowers they use are usually from a craft store and they some how find battery powered candles to put there too (since I won’t allow the real thing). The final product is what you see in the slideshow, plus they do a small write up of who their person was and why they put what they put on their altar.
Here is my TPT for this project.
Do you do something special to celebrate el día de los muertos?
El día de los muertos is in just a few short weeks! I do this mini-unit with my 1B’s and they love it because they get to do so many neat activities.
To get things started I created a webquest for the students to do online. The site I use for the quest is great since it gives a great overview of the holiday, has some videos and great images.
Here is the webquest I use- on TPT
I then plan on reviewing the quest with them and showing them a few videos to prompt discussion about what this day is really like and how it is NOT like Halloween. Here are some of the videos I use. These are in English, but I teach level one and finding cultural videos in Spanish they can comprehend at their level is hard to do.
I found a great song on http://www.colby.edu/~bknelson/SLC/ofrendas/teachers.php
I looked for it on youtube and found it! It’s called Ofrendas, by Pedro Guerra. The video is amazing as it has so many visuals you can discuss with your students in the Target Language.
Here is the song – on TPT
Another activity I do is an A/B cultural information gap activity. Similar to what you might use to practice vocabulary, but with culture. Here it is.
I also do this ofrenda project each year! The students love it!
What resources do you use to teach the Day of the Dead? Do you have any good videos in Spanish?