Posted in culture, holidays, noticias

Post winter break plans

Post Winter Break Plans

Although most teachers don’t want to admit it, the end of winter break is approaching fast!  I have put together some plans that I have thought about to help you get started for your first day back to school:

  • My favorite activity is having students read their horoscopes!  I wrote an easy version of horoscopes from Walter Mercado.  They are best for around Spanish 1B and up.  Horoscopos_ 2018 (1) I also wrote up four quick questions that students can answer.  I like to ask comprehension questions in English, but you could change them to Spanish if you prefer.
  • As I wrote in my Ditch Summit reflections, I plan on having students brainstorm a little from their previous units.  I will have them divide a paper into four quadrants, and I will call out a topic.  For level 1, they can write down any vocabulary that they remember from that unit.  For levels 2 and 5, they can also add other facts that they remember.  Then students share what they remember.  I will repeat this activity four times and give students about a minute to have them write as much as they can remember.  This helps all students recall ideas, and I have found that many students participate who typically don’t raise their hand.  Another quick version of this is using an acronym that you can turn into a game.
  • I also put together some tweets that I found with the hashtag #proposito2018 from Twitter.  This can be done with level 1.  Students can decide if they have the same goal.  Then, they have the opportunity to write their own resolution.
  • I like to hear what happened in students’ lives, but I also try to be cognizant of the differing lifestyles of my students.  I try to come up with questions that all students can answer.  You can also put this with Socrative or PearDeck to make sure all students have a voice.  Some of my favorites are:
    • What was your favorite food that you ate?
    • What did you watch on Netflix or TV?
    • What was your favorite video game that you played?
    • Did you play any sports?  Did you watch any sports?
    • What was your favorite movie that you watched?
    • With whom did you spend time?
    • What was the longest time that you slept?  Or what was the latest time you woke up?
    • What did you wear?  (Our students wear uniforms.)
  • I studied El Gordo with my Spanish V students, so we will look at these pictures from this year’s results.  Here is also a video of some of the children singing the numbers of the lottery.  Also, this little girl singing mil euros was a big hit of El Gordo this year.
  • I have also thought about doing the 12 grapes in class to get started or having a little sparkling cider to start the year!  (Make sure if you get cider that you have a bottle opener, or you can run around the school asking everyone for a bottle opener like me!)

What is your favorite activity for after break?  Share below or on Facebook or Twitter, and I can add it to this list!

Edited to add:  Thanks to everyone who has shared this post and added ideas!

  • Sarah Wisenhunt mentioned that she will do “snacks and stickers” to reinforce proficiency levels.  She will give students an authentic snack such as Gansitos or stickers and then students have to describe the snack or sticker based on their proficiency level in English.  I love this idea to reinforce the proficiency levels and making it much more interactive than my normal presentation!
  • Kristel Rabideau mentioned using mini marshmallows instead of grapes to recreate doce uvas.  Depending on your number of students, this may be much more cost effective.
  • Simone Skierritt also added that she has students write letters to the Three Kings, and they all bring small items in to exchange such as gum or sweets.  This would be perfect, and it takes the pressure off the teacher to provide something.
  • Also, check out Allison’s post on what she is planning on her first few days back.
Posted in culture, holidays

December Idea: Play La Lotería in your class!

Adobe Spark (56)ecemb

I am going to do a Lotería unit from Kara Jacobs this year.  It is amazing (and currently on sale!) and the cultural connections alone that this video bring up are incredible.  I wanted to bring the spirit of La Lotería to my classes.  I bought these lottery tickets (although they sell them at the dollar store sometimes too) from Amazon.  Throughout December, I want to give my students ways to earn tickets as a class.  I decided that I wanted to have the class win instead of one student to convey the “décimo” idea.  Students have to work together to earn their tickets.  They can win a class ticket if they predict the winner of the Navidad Commercial Madness.  They can earn another ticket if the whole class can stay in the target language for a given amount of time.  Also, I will have students participate in the #muyamables campaign.  Then, a few days before the last day of school, I will pull the “winning” lottery ticket!  I am thinking about doing it “live” at home for fun (but am still working on those details…)  The winning class will get a little party with a couple snacks and Jarritos on the last day.  I hope that you can participate, too!  This idea is still a little sketchy for me as I continue to develop it.  Let me know if you have further ideas for how I can develop this!  I wanted to crowdsource some new ideas and share it before I did it, so you too can participate!

Posted in culture, noticias

Plans for Post #ACTFL17

Plans for Post #ACTFL17

It is a big Sunday as many of you are winding down from ACTFL and coming back to a two or three day week.  Maybe you are pumped to start implementing something new, but you need a day or two to put it together.  Plus, students are antsy due to the short week.  Here are a few activities that I put together to infuse more culture into these two days.

My plans for Friday were to discuss the Latin Grammy song of the year.  Then, whomp whomp, it was Despacito.  You can open up a discussion on this on Facebook groups or Twitter, and watch Spanish teachers get all in a tizzy about whether or not they would use it in class.  (For the record, I don’t want to use it!)  I focused on the new nominees instead.  I made a Google Slides of everyone nominated for best new artist.  I shared this with my class and allowed they to choose an artist, research them and embed a school appropriate song into the slides.  Then at the end, we listened to all of the music and their slides.  It was low pressure, and at least to me, the class seemed to fly by!  I also chose this for my class because they really love music.  Also, if you would also like to extend this, you could do a fashion police activity!  Have students rate each outfit and explain why they gave each rating.

In addition, I am continuing my news articles, so you can read these with your class on Monday.  They are a little shorter this weekend, but they include information on who is running for the election in Chile.  The election is actually occurring today, so you could discuss the results with your class.  Black Friday is also covered in a variety of different countries.  You could pull up a variety of promotions to look at and compare/contrast.  You could also have students compare the prices of sales in the US to sales in a variety of Latin American countries.  On the Spanish Teachers Facebook group, someone shared this site of El Buen Fin which is also similar.  Finally, the University San Francisco of Quito tried to beat a Guinness World Record to see how many people they could dress up as Star Wars characters!  Here is the newsletter:

Noticias 20 de octubre

Posted in culture

Holiday traditions in Costa Rica

Las fiestas en Costa Rica powerpoint

I rounded out my cultural background with a slideshow of holiday traditions in Costa Rica.  I previously had a unit with birthday and wedding traditions.  I made sure to include the fact that there are Jewish people in Costa Rica as well.  I believe it is important to focus on different groups in countries or students believe that everyone in Costa Rica is Catholic. After using this powerpoint, I used some of Courtney’s great Navidad bonanza activities.  I like that my students after this unit had more of a grasp of Costa Rican traditions in particular.  What are your students currently loving?  Share your thoughts with me!

Posted in Authentic resources, culture

Incorporating more culture throughout my celebration unit

Incorporating Culture Celebrations

With a recent #langchat, I am also inspired to be more purposeful about my incorporation of culture into my lessons.  BOY!  Is it a lot of work!!  Seriously, I encourage people to do this one unit at a time.  Even so, I am excited at the cohesion to my unit.  I decided to talk about Costa Rica because I could find a fair amount of information.  My final goal for the unit is that students can describe a party or festival that they attended in Costa Rica.  They will have to include cultural pieces as well as be able to describe the party.

First, we started with weddings.  I included an introduction about wedding traditions.  I am lucky to teach in a rather progressive school.  I did want to include the facts on gay marriage without taking a stand one way or another.  I do think that this is important when talking about weddings for all students and families.

Next, I wanted students to plan a birthday party.  I used different online resources for students to explore to buy a cake, gift, food and piñata.  I thought about not including a piñata because it seems more stereotypical; however, I found it frequently when I was exploring birthday party celebrations.

However, I have to confess that not all of my activities are cultural.  In this unit, we cover different relationships.  I had to include Taylor Swift’s song: Nunca volveré contigo!  I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t made a quick activity for it.  Here it is:

nunca volvere contigo

Posted in culture, Reading

Año Nuevo- Tweets y Tradiciones

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Some teachers debate about whether or not to discuss Christmas since not all students celebrate Christmas.  I prefer to discuss New Year since almost all of your students will celebrate New Years!  A few people have already started tweeting their New Year’s Resolutions, and they are easy to read for beginners.  I also put together a list of a few Latin American and Spanish traditions for the New Year.  I am going to give students a free homework pass if they bring in a picture of themselves completing one of these activities.  I know students will find it interesting to learn about all of the different traditions.  What do you share about el Año Nuevo with your students?

año nuevo tweets y tradiciones

Posted in culture

Veteran’s Day

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Today, I was blessed to go to Arlington National Cemetery for Veteran’s Day.  It was a wonderful ceremony, and it reminds us of the importance of saying Thank You to our veterans.  If you would like to continue to find out more information about Latinos in the military, here are some links:

Recognizing generations of Latino vets

Information about some of the first Latino veterans in the military

Latinos in the army

Posted in culture, Music

Liga Venezolana de Beisbol

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I have used this song about baseball for a few years; however, today, I decided to find out more information about the Venezuelan leagues they are singing about.  They have a website for the whole league, and each team also has their own website.  They are currently in season.  Most of these questions are related to current events, so you may have to revise them if you use this later.  I am excited to round out my listening activity with more questions about the league.  I am including my revised worksheet below with the new questions and the song activities.


Posted in culture, Reading

Halloween plans

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I finally finished my Halloween plans!  I think they are a good mix of culture and fun.

  1. First, we are going to start with the candy warm-up, and everyone will earn a lollipop.
  2. Then, I have written a story for El Sombrerón.  It is a Guatemalan legend about a little man who seduces women until they cannot eat or sleep, and they die.  I think it is a scary enough story for middle schoolers without being too graphic.  I included my version at the end of this post.  They have to draw the story once they are done.  We are also going to watch this video, which is an animated version of the story.  It is very easy to understand.
  3. Finally, I am going to let them take pictures of themselves and play with the PicMonkey program to change their pictures to a Day of the Dead theme.

I can’t wait to celebrate!

el sombrerón

Posted in culture, Reading

Candy for Halloween

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After seeing this post about Chupa Chups, I bought a set for my class at Target!  However, I am not the type of teacher to just give away candy because it is Halloween.  You must EARN your lollipop!  I found this infographic in Spanish about Chupa Chups.  It is understandable for my Spanish 1B and II students.  I am going to have my Spanish 1A students just research these questions in English.  Here are my questions for my students:

  1. Who founded Chupa Chups?
  2. Where did Chupa Chups start?
  3. How many flavors are there?
  4. In 1969, who redesigned the logo?
  5. What is one of his famous paintings in the National Gallery of Art?*
  6. When the company expanded internationally, what were the first two countries where they expanded?
  7. Which celebrities have promoted the company (at least 2)?
  8. What does “chupar” mean in Spanish?*
  9. Once you finish these questions, you must show them to your teacher and ask in Spanish for the flavor that you want.

*These two questions are not on the website.  We visit the NGA which is why I included that question.  You can omit it or use a museum by your students.

Hope your students earn their candy even on Halloween!