La Noche de Las Velitas

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!

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Spanish-Speaking Countries Project and Passport

One of the goals for this first unit is for the students to begin to learn about the Spanish-speaking countries.  Specifically, to know which countries in the world speak Spanish.

At the end of the unit, I assign the students a country and their task is to research the country and prepare a visual presentation of it.  This project has changed tremendously over the years and it has moved more towards the students becoming experts on their country and learning about what they would do if they visited that country.  A big element of this project is that their visual has to represent something from their country of study.  For example, a student studying Costa Rica might choose to make their visual into a turtle, monkey or volcano or a student studying Argentina could make their visual into grapes or a tango dancer.  The students get so creative with this project and every year they surprise me with their choice of visuals!

Here is the assignment packet and rubric I give to the students for this project.  You will see that the project is set up so the students have something specific to research every night, this way they are not overwhelmed with not knowing where to start.  It is a work in progress, I update it every year with new ideas and edits- please let me know if you have any ideas on how I should update it!

Here is the assignment (on TPT)

And here is the passport I made for the students to “travel” to their classmates countries!  It takes a bit of playing with on the copier- but in the end it’s really cool!  I have the students make their own stamps!

7grado_pasaporte

 

Links for Country Project Research- Here are the links I give the students.

www.lonelyplanet.com   site on all countries, places to see, things to do, food, etc…

www.worldatlas.com   maps

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/   Country facts

www.iexplore.com  Country facts

www.fodors.com  Country facts

www.goya.com   Recipes and typical dishes

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/latinmusicusa/   Music from the Spanish-speaking world

http://www.donquijote.org/tourist/profiles/  Profiles of Spanish-speaking countries

http://www.travelocity.com/TravelForGood/voluntourism.html   Voluntourism site

www.earthwatch.org  Voluntourism site

http://www.turismo.gov.ar/eng/menu.htm  Site about Argentina

http://boliviatravelguide.net/site_flash/index.html   Site about Bolivia

http://www.chile.travel/en.html 
 Site about Chile

http://www.colombia.travel/en/   Site all about Colombia

http://www.gocuba.ca/client/home/index.php  Site about Cuba

http://www.visitcostarica.com/ict/paginas/home.asp?ididioma=2   Site all about Costa Rica

www.godominicanrepublic.com Site all about the DR

http://ecuador.travel/
  Site about Ecuador

http://www.elsalvador.travel/?lang=en  Site all about El Salvador

http://www.visitguatemala.com/web/index.php?lang=english   Site all about Guatemala

www.letsgohonduras.com  Site about Honduras

http://www.visitanicaragua.com/ingles/  Site all about Nicaragua

http://www.visitpanama.com/ 
 Site about Panama

www.visitperu.com  Site about Peru

www.senatur.gov.py    Site about Paraguay

http://www.topuertorico.org/tinfo.shtml Site all about Puerto Rico

http://www.spain.info/   Site all about Spain

http://www.welcomeuruguay.com/index_i.html  Site about Uruguay

http://www.venezuelatuya.com/indexeng.htm  Site about Venezuela

Aquí está La Navidad – Pon tus sueños a jugar!

You can’t talk about la Navidad in Spain with out talking about the very important Lotería!  There are a ton of resources out there for discussing this with your students.

Here is a commercial promoting La Lotería!  I made a cloze activity for this and it can be found on TPT.  I like it because the language is super easy to follow and has a lot of great vocabulary.

Here are a few infographics I came across:

http://jhosesin.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/infografia_loteria_de_navidad_2011_web_small.jpg

Here are the questions I made – I made it on a google form- feel free to copy!

Visit the site (copy and paste): http://jhosesin.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/infografia_loteria_de_navidad_2011_web_small.jpg to see the infographic on the Lottery in Spain. You will need to click on the image to make it bigger! Answer the questions below.
* Required
The two cities that have won the lottery the most in Spain are… *
  •  Madrid & Ávila
  •  Barcelona & Zamora
  •  Zamora & Ávila
  •  Madrid & Barcelona
Madrid has won the lottery… *
  •  52 times
  •  79 times
  •  39 times
  •  10 times
The winning numbers have never ended in 10 *
  •  Cierto
  •  Falso
57 have been the numbers that the winning lottery has ended in the most *
  •  Cierto
  •  Falso
What number(s) have appeared the most as the last two numbers of el gordo? *
What number was repeated in both 1965 and 1978? *
Name two places people most get their numbers from. *
Name two important dates in the media that are often used for choosing the lottery numbers. *
Here’s another one!  http://ticsyformacion.com/2013/12/15/la-loteria-de-navidad-en-internet-infografia-infographic-marketeing-ecommerce/
What resources do you use to teach this topic??