Have you jumped on the Navidad commercial wagon yet? As a way to incorporate more authentic listening to our students we began showing them commercials from Spanish-speaking countries as a way to introduce and practice new vocabulary and look at different aspects of culture. With our transition to more culturally themed units and our discussion of holiday traditions in Latin America and Spain commercials are a perfect fit and the students LOVE them!
I teach Spanish 1 and you might be wondering how one might use an authentic commercial at this level if they are often very fast paced. The answer is to change the TASK not the resource! I now only use authentic audio (commercials, songs, shorts) in my lessons and the students vocabulary and listening comprehension has soared to new heights. The trick is to pick just one or two things to focus on during the listening and to keep it SIMPLE!
Some examples of tasks Spanish 1/novice students can do…
- circling or checking off vocabulary words they hear
- circling or checking off images of things they see
- a cloze (fill in) activity
- writing the words they recognize
- circling or checking off the aspects of culture present in the video
- answering comprehension questions in English
- answering comprehension question using true/false statements
Need some inspiration for your holiday unit? Here is a listing of commercials from all over the Spanish-speaking world!
La Noche de Las Velitas is the official start of the holiday season in Colombia. It is a very special night in which families gather to light candles and lanterns in honor the Immaculate Conception. The festivities begins at sunset on 7th December and ends at sunrise on 8th December. People place paper lanterns and candles on their windowsills porches, balconies, streets, sidewalks, squares and parks.
Here is a video with more info!
In my 8th grade classes we do a unit on December holidays and focus on holidays in Colombia and Spain. We begin the unit by talking about holidays they celebrate and the first holiday we learn about is this one. One special video we watch is this Home Center video – it is a great video to build vocabulary and if you have higher level students talk about indigenous tribes, environment and giving back to the community.
Here are two activities I do with La Noche de Las Velitas – one reading and one listening. Do you teach December holidays? Which ones?! Share below!
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