Thanksgiving in Spanish: Your Mega-Collection of Classroom Ideas
Inside: A round-up of classroom ideas for Thanksgiving in Spanish.
Are you wondering how to handle the week of Thanksgiving in Spanish class? If half of the students are gone anyway, should we hand out a bunch of worksheets and call it a week? I’m not one to judge: I know it’s what an exhausting time of year it is.
Thanks to embracing comprehensible input, I no longer view holidays as isolated themes– time to teach some random vocabulary that won’t come up again until the next year. Nope! As long as we make in comprehensible, any theme can work for any student. That said, I do think it’s okay to accept that a few days of the year won’t be as content-packed as the others. If you’re going to do something like a craft, holidays are a good time to do them.
But let’s not re-invent the wheel. I’ve gathered some awesome resources to make the most of the week, with a little bit of everything, for everyone.
Here are some ideas for a typical Thanksgiving week:
Monday: Story, MovieTalk, and/or discussion. Pick one of the videos and infographics below, and plan your classes around it– even if you have different levels! Just adjust your own language to each group.
Tuesday: Craft day or hands-on day, if you’re planning to do one. From Monday, you probably used terms like turkey, so you can bring them around again today. Pick songs to play in the background; talk about one if it’s helpful. With younger classes, a mini-book might work well.
Wednesday: Game day. Go easy on yourself this day; it’s probably a weird half-day. Celebrities, Mafia, or Categorías are all perfect for crazy schedules and ancy students! If you have younger ones, Ponle el sombrero en el pavo or Pavo, pavito might be fun.
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Easy & Fun Ideas
- Make thank-you cards for school staff members. It might be fun to teach creative ways to say thank you in Spanish (especially with Gracias-themed songs in the background!)
- Ask or tell a funny Thanksgiving story: a turkey who tries to avoid ending up one the dinner table, a family member who tries to enact a vegan Thanksgiving, or mishaps on the way to spend the holiday at the cousins’ house.
- Choose a song and just focus on a few keywords (like gracias!). Do a really easy listening activity like Draw, Listen, Check.
- Lots of teachers do the traditional turkey or leaf crafts. This of course is easy to adapt to the Spanish classroom: students write things they’re thankful for, in Spanish, on the leaves or feathers.
- If you can, take it up a notch to make it more input-based: generate some options and talk about them. Brainstorm things that students are thankful for, boil them down to common themes among the students, and categorize in “necessities” and “luxuries.” Make it Comprehensible has a great explanation for how to set up and guide this sort of discussion so the students are getting lots of input.
- Retell the original Thanksgiving story. Use a picture book, draw as you go (a la Story Listening), or use a video from below as your visual.
- Make thank-you cards and teach different ways to express Thank You in Spanish
There are lots of infographics, songs, and video clips you can throw in during Thanksgiving week. These are fun to to prompt discussion and give the students a chance to see what they can understand from an authentic resource.
Credit: Speaking Latino
Credit: Infografias en Castellano
Visit my Thanksgiving in Spanish page on Pinterest to find lots more Thanksgiving in Spanish realia!
I have a whole post just on Thanksgiving songs for kids, if you’re teaching a younger crowd. This first song is nice because it uses the “Doy gracias por…” refrain that is part of many of the mini-books and crafts teachers like to do.
Día de acción de Gracias
If you’re looking for older kids, I love Mercedes Sosa and Gracias a la vida is a classic. Gracias has good repetitions of “gracias por…”, and Fonseca’s positive song Gratitud fits in perfectly if you’re doing a grateful-for theme. Or try this great Latino Thanksgiving playlist.
Gracias a la vida by Mercedes Sosa
Gracias – Silvestre Dangond & Juancho de La Espriella
Doy Gracias Mini-Pack (If you would like to purchase ready-to-go materials, I recommend this one from Mundo de Pepit! $3)
Free Bingo & Memory Games from Spanglish Baby
Free Doy Gracias Activities from Mrs. G Dual Language
Color-by-Number Turkey from Mix Minder
Five Crafts for Kids from Spanish Playground
Spanish Turkey Glyphs (If you want to save time and purchase an activity, I recommend these glyphs from Sol.Azucar, available for a variety of proficiency levels. Students get to relax and color, plus lots of comprehensible input! $3)
A whole month of free Thanksgiving projects from La Profesora Frida
5 Ideas for Thanksgiving in Class from Sol.Azucar. I like the “Que linda manito” idea, especially!
Info in Spanish from Illinois University
Free Activity Sheet to go with a reading of the Celebra día de acción de gracias con Beto y Gaby from Santilla
These would make great MovieTalks for a Thanksgiving in Spanish day. You narrate the stories in language the students understand, discuss, possibly type up a reading, and voila– you have a high-interest, language-packed activity.
Salt, sugar, cooking terms
Re-tell the Story
Retell the original Thanksgiving story, perhaps choosing a character from the perspective of the Native Americans, and one from the perspective of the Pilgrims. You could use this video for visuals (definitely address that it’s a simplified version– it glosses over the complicated story of colonization and it’s impact on native people in the Americas). If you like, contrast it with the version below.
How Latino immigrants are adopting the holiday of Día de acción de gracias:
La historia de Thanksgiving en español (very much from the perspective of the Pilgrims, but fairly comprehensible with subtitles):
Report on Free Birds in Spanish:
La historia de Thanksgiving, en español:
Thanksgiving in Spanish
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