Holiday Fun And Activities for Spanish Class!

    Holiday Fun and Activities for Spanish Class!

I wanted to share some quick activities that I have used in my class for teaching students about celebrations throughout Latin America and Spain. Since Spanish is spoken in over 20 countries, it can be really difficult to nail down what celebrations to cover. So, I took the student-centered route; I had students research the celebrations on their own. It was super simple, and actually, it took me all of 5 minutes to plan:

1. Holiday Celebrations in December 

1. Grab a stack of 30 index cards
2. Write two countries per card (15 countries total, if you want them to work in groups)
3. Distribute cards to students and have them research holiday celebrations.

I have them write the following in their notebooks:

For Spanish 1, they could write the description in English/Spanish. For Spanish 2+, they had to write in Español.

Google: Holiday Celebrations+ Country

Características especiales______________________

Speaking Activity
Students got into groups of 4 to share; then we got into a circle and each person shared about their celebration.

2. Follow-Up Video on Celebrations

This video is from Sergi Martin. It is a whopping 14 minutes long, but I only used the first 2-3 minutes. I made the activities available on TPT for free (easier to distribute), please modify as you wish. Originally, this was for my Spanish 3+, but I used it with Spanish 1 this year. I had them focus on the text displayed on the screen. One of the BIG takeaways was that some of the people from Spanish-speaking countries were asking about the other person's traditions. My students picked up on this right away, and we talked about the differences. This difference is also highlighted in the short text they read introducing the video.

Celebrations in Spanish-Speaking Countries Video 

PDF and Word Activity (freebie)

Grab your suitcase and go! Well, sort of! I have done the Maleta activity for the last few years, and the kids absolutely love it! In many countries in Latin America, the New Year is all about new beginnings and making plans for the new year. One custom is packing a "maleta", and running around the block in hopes of traveling the next year. This activity allows students to do just that.

La Maleta Activity 
1. Students write three places where they'd like to go using the structure "ir+ infinitive verb."
2. They write the places on their maleta.
3. Take the maleta in hand, and run around the school (this is all included).

Extension activity: Choose one of the places and write three places you can visit there!

3. Goal-Setting Reading and Activity for the New Year 

Reading: Borrón y Cuenta Nueva- Simple reading on the origin of the expression. This is a student-friendly text and includes examples from their lives (school, working out).
Language practice: Two-construction verbs- Quiero+infinitive/ making plans

Borrón y Cuenta Nueva 

Borrón y cuenta nueva, is a common expression around this time of year. As I started to sift through different posts on social media, I became very intrigued as to the origin of this frequently used expression. It made me think of the word "Palimpsest" that I had learned in graduate school while studying the Chronicles of Columbus. Since Spanish was not Columbus’ first language, Bartolomé de las Casas, transcribed and rewrote 75% Columbus’ journals. The process was compared to a Roman Palimpsest as Columbus' observations were superimposed by those of the Spanish Priests. 
          For the first day back to school after Holiday break,  all my classes will be engaging in some form of  "Borrón y cuenta nueva" goal setting activity. 
This past year, our staff engaged in a considerable amount of PD on resilience, so why not allow it to take root in the language class. The goal setting activities have the aim of making students mindful of their goals, setting objectives that will, Ojalá, guide them through the year. It also serves as an authentic real-world activity in where they will use language in a dynamic and goal-oriented way. 

New Year Mindfulness Activity: Spanish 1+

Borrón y Cuenta Nueva for Spanish 1+ 

Themes included in the reading:

  • Setting New Years’ Goals 
  • Short history of the origin of the expression (very comprehensible)  
  • Smart Goals and how to create them (scaffolded and scaled down)
  • Goal setting worksheet (samples and structures included)

  • Comprehension questions for text (in Spanish and English)
  • Age-appropriate text highlighting the following: 

Language structures: Tenían (this structured is used to convey most of the information regarding scribes), tener que, -ar, -er and -er verbs. querer+ infinitive, Tener+ infinitive   

Vocabulary: Nochevieja, Tradición, Metas, etc.  

What a "novel" idea! Check out the new novels for Spanish class!

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