El Año Viejo: A Latino American End of Year Tradition


El Año Viejo is a common year-end tradition in Colombia and other countries in Latin America. On December 31st, everyone gets excited about the New Year and its obligatory resolutions for change. Años Viejos are used in many places to symbolically leave behind bad things from the previous year. Traditionally, this involved burning effigies full of firecrackers or pockets of gunpowder, but for safety reasons, the practice has evolved into something less spectacular but no less important. Below you can find a video of how intense and exciting this celebration can be.



The Año Viejo is now crafted as a small doll in a tin. People take small pieces of paper and write all the bad things that have happened during the year. They then burn them and the doll in the tin as a symbol of renewal.


Some towns in Colombia and Ecuador host daylight parades on December 31st to show the effort and artistic talent that has been put into making the doll before it gets burned in the middle of the night.

There is a song about not forgetting the “Año Viejo” and being grateful for the great things in life. This song was composed by Cresencio Salcedo, a Colombian songwriter and made famous by Mexican singer Tony Camargo. The song is played all over Latin America during the December celebrations and and has been danced to for over 60 years! Below is a video of the original singer who never got to meet the writer of the song.

Yo no olvido al año viejo
Porque me ha dejado cosas muy buenas:
Me dejó una chiva,
Una burra negra,
Una yegua blanca
Y una buena suegra.


This is one of those traditions you can easily share with your students. Have them decorate their Año Viejo and have them think about what they would like to do in the future. I have a simple and fun activity where students put together their own paper “Año Viejo” and write about their goals for the new year. This resource is available on Teachers Pay Teachers. Please note that this activity doesn’t include an “Año viejo” doll.


¡Feliz Año!
Carolina

The Speekee Spanish Giveaway

I am so lucky to host this new giveaway! This time  Speekee® is offering my readers the chance to win a 1-year subscription to their ever popular, ever evolving Spanish Scheme of Work for early and elementary teachers around the world. The Speekee Spanish Scheme of Work is video-based, with 350 lesson plans and supporting resources!

What do Spanish teachers say about Speekee? 
Lisa says: 
“Learners love it – the little ones love the fluffy characters and songs whilst the older ones like to see ‘real’ Spanish children and compare the places with where we live. They readily join in and ask for the songs to be repeated over and over! Non-specialists love it thanks to the oodles of support it offers them” 



Lorena says: 
“The planning is very good. It has got all that the Curriculum is asking for. It’s easy learning – and fun! With this program you can feel that everyone can speak Spanish, and everyone can teach as well. The children even teach each other!” 

 To find out more about Speekee, visit their site. You can also follow them on Facebook and Twitter. 

The Giveaway!
To enter the giveaway just sign up for a free 2-week Speekee Spanish Scheme of Work trial using the entry form below. The lucky winner will be chosen at random once the competition has closed on December 7th, 2015. 

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¡Buena suerte!

Take Your Students on A Trip With This Awesome Puzzle!

As a Spanish teacher, I feel that teaching geography is a responsibility of mine. Due to the ages that I teach, I find it hard because many of the maps that show Latin America are either in English or are not simple enough for the eyes of my second and third grade students. 
I felt a relief when I received this puzzle. The picture is a piece of art and is simple enough for my students to put together. I have used this puzzle as a center for early finishers and they absolutely love it. I often use a corner in my classroom for students from different classes to work on the puzzle collectively, adding pieces when they have time.

This puzzle has become a collaborative project in my room, serving as a thread to connect all of my students throughout the week. And the best is when I hear them reading the names of the countries in Spanish or making comments such as “I didn’t know Colombia is next to Ecuador.” Children always come to my classroom asking for el rompecabezas. It’s an activity that engages them easily and allows them to work in groups. They have made it a challenge and can’t wait to finish and see the final result. This will take your students on virtual trips to different places in Latin America. 
This puzzle has worked great for my students and I am sure it will work for your students too. This puzzle was created by a Spanish teacher who knows the importance of including geography in foreign language curriculum. To learn more about this great teaching tool please visit their Amazon store or like the their page on Facebook. I would love one of our readers to have one these awesome puzzles! 
And, with students who know where the Equator is, here’s to hoping I never get asked if it’s “winter” in Colombia with students who know not to assume that all of South America is south of the Equator! 

Giveaway Time!

One lucky teacher will get to win this puzzle for her/his class! Just enter below to participate. Winner will be announced on November 1st, 2014. United States only!

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¡Buena suerte!
Carolina

RockAlingua Has A DVD Now! {Review & Giveaway}


I have been a fan of Rockalingua since it started. This small company is run by Cesar Chinchilla, a talented elementary Spanish teacher based in California.

I have firsthand experience using the songs in my classes, and they truly engage my students. I was pleased to learn that Rockalingua released a DVD that includes 13 fun songs. This DVD has colorful and live animations that students love. The songs are well paced and allow space for repetition in class. Some of the tracks even include a karaoke version!

I have used this DVD as a warm up in my classes or as a way to support my units. This DVD has become my students’ favorite, and many of them ask for it every class. 

Rockalingua has a great collection of songs and videos in their online store. You can purchase the songs and videos as you develop your lessons or get everything with a yearly membership. 

Giveaway Time!

I am lucky enough to own my very own Rockalingua DVD. I would love one of my readers to own a copy too! To participate, enter below. Winners will be announced on Monday, September 29th, 2014. World wide participants are welcome! ¡Buena suerte!


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¡Buena suerte!
Carolina

RockAlingua: 1 Year Membership {Giveaway}

I wrote a review about RockAlingua a couple of weeks ago. Three lucky readers got RockAlingua’s awesome music CD. This time two lucky winners will get a one year membership access to the website. Through this winners, will get to have every single song, access to all the videos, worksheets, lyrics, games and pictures dictionaries. A song for every unit with tons of vocabulary and a lot of fun for your classes!

The Giveaway

I would love two lucky readers to have a chance to win a membership for RockAlingua. Just enter below to participate! Winners will be announced on Saturday, February 22nd, 2014. Open worldwide!

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¡Buena suerte!
Carolina

El Mercado {Giveaway}

If you are an elementary Spanish teacher like me, you know that we are always in search of props to spice up our lessons. During my recent trip to Colombia I found this cute “Mercado” set with labels in Spanish. The set has 32 items that your students will love. I brought one to the United States for me, and decided to bring one more to raffle to between my lovely readers!

The Giveaway!
 If you would like to have this fun “mercado” set, here is an opportunity for you to win it and bring more learning to your class. Just enter below to participate. The winner will be announced on Monday, January 13th, 2014. United States only.
¡Buena Suerte!
Carolina
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