November is here! What a great month to practice gratitude in a world language class. I know that teaching gratitude is not limited to just November, but it happens to be the month where we think the most about it. In fact, we should make it a habit because practicing being grateful should be an active part in our curriculums. Something great that I have learned from my colleagues is to end our class by thanking our students for learning with us, and the students also thank us for teaching them. We do this everyday in the target language.
Here are a couple of songs I love that involve giving thanks:
A la Madre Tierra damos gracias, por el alimento que nos da. Damos gracias, damos gracias, por nuestra salud y libertad.
Doy gracias por mis amigos porque me gusta jugar. Doy gracias por la música porque me gusta cantar. Doy gracias por mi maestra porque me gusta aprender. Doy gracias por comida porque me gusta comer. Doy gracias por mi familia y también por la amistad. El Día de Acción de Gracias nos trae felicidad.
Here is a hands on activity you can do together. Have your students make a gratitude necklace. You will need to download the template HERE, and print it on cardboard. Brain storm with your students what they are thankful for.
I can’t believe this is my last post for this October. I just wanted to share these cute Halloween stickers in Spanish that I made to give my students. You can use them as rewards for your games or celebrations for Halloween.
They are made to be printed on the Avery Square Labels (22816)***, or any kind of labels that are 2×2 inches. These stickers will be great to practice vocabulary related to Halloween. I plan to have my older students create sentences and short stories with the different characters. Please feel free to share your ideas using these stickers in the comment box.
I have these Day of the Dead books in my classroom and have seen how my students get motivated to look at them to read and look at the art. In the elementary Spanish program at the school where I teach, the Day of the Dead is one of the cultural explorations we do to help our students to understand what this celebration means to many communities in Mexico. We are not celebrating it, but we aim to show appreciation of a tradition that’s important to another culture. The Day of the Dead is not related to Halloween. The Day of the Dead is a two-day celebration to remember loved ones who have passed away. This is a happy and colorful celebration. Here are my five top book picks:
Uncle Monarch and the Day of the Dead has a beautiful story that shows the importance of Monarch butterflies in this celebration. In some places in Mexico, it is believed that these butterflies carry the souls of loved ones who have passed away.
I feel that these next two books need teachers to provide a little bit of background about this celebration before sharing them with the children.
Clatter Bash!: A Day of the Dead Celebration is a vivid book! There is not much text, but it’s great to use to describe the pictures. The illustrations will keep your students engaged. At the end of the book there is plentiful information about the Day of the Dead celebration.
Last, but not least! Here is a banner to decorate your classroom!
This is a fun Halloween game for lower elementary Spanish. In preparation for the game, print the pages more than once, laminate them, and put them in a bag. Use the big flashcards to introduce or review the emotions vocabulary in this game. You can also use the cards to play “charades.” Place all the cards in a bag, including the cards that say “¡Qué horror” and “¡Es Halloween.”
Divide your class into groups, depending on the number of students you have. You can have from 2 to 4 groups. Explain the rules of the game and the meaning of each card to the children. Each group takes turns taking the cards out of the bag. If they take the “Qué horror” card, it means they have to put 1 card back into the bag. If they get the “¡Es Halloween!” card, it means they get another turn. You can decide the amount of time you want to play the game. At the end, the group that has the most wins! Click here or on the pictures to download your game!
If you explore my blog, you will find a few posts related to The Day of the Dead. This celebration takes many forms in Spanish speaking countries, and it also changes names and meanings in the different countries. In some countries, it’s just one more name on the calendar. In others, it is celebrated in some parts of the country, which is the case of Guatemala and Colombia. While in Mexico, it is an important celebration across the country that has been included by UNESCO on its Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
While incorporating this tradition in your curriculum, it’s important to clarify with school administrators and parents that you are not celebrating this as a holiday in your class, you are just sharing about a cultural celebration that others celebrate (i.e. you’re exploring and honoring others’ traditions, not appropriating them as your own). You might like to read the following posts. Just click on the pictures to read them all!