Spanish Easter Traditions: Ideas & Resources for the Classroom

Spanish Easter Traditions: Ideas & Resources for the Classroom

Inside: A round-up of classroom iresources for Spanish Easter traditions.

 

La Pascua– Easter in Spanish– is a big deal across the Spanish-speaking world, whose history is closely connected to the Catholic church. The month of Lent culminates in Semana Santa, which commemorates the last week in the life of Jesus. In Spain and many Latin American countries, Easter is a bigger deal than Christmas, with deeply rooted traditions.

I’ve included a mix of religious and non-religious activities. In my opinion, it’s important to acknowledge the religious roots because they makes sense of many cultural traditions. I think you can do this without pushing religious beliefs, but I’ve tried to include non-religious options if you have to be careful to stay secular. 

Let’s not re-invent the wheel for ideas in the classroom! I’ve gathered some awesome resources, for all ages. 

 

Spanish Easter Traditions

 easter in Spanish class

Fun Ideas

 

Here’s an overview of ideas for teaching about or celebrating Easter traditions in Spanish. As you scroll down, you’ll see the videos, links, and expanded resources you might want to use. This is just the condensed version:

 

  • Learn about cascarones by making them, watching how-to videos, or seeing how they’re made and used throughout Latin America.
  • Re-use those plastic eggs for a variety of activities! Do scrambled sentences inside, use for maracas, or make a matching activity.
  • Read infographs and watch videos to learn about the cultural traditions surrounding Pascua. Compare/contrast traditions with those in the US. 
  • Tell or storyask a story based on Easter themes: cascarones gone wrong between friends, something Spring-based (mention that in South America seasons are reversed).

Printables

 

Printable vocabulary coloring sheet from Spanglish Baby:

Conejo Finger Puppets (scroll alllll the way down to the songs section to see the Conejito song!)

Conejo Finger Puppets Search from Spanish Playground

Conversation Questions from Spanish Playground

Semana Santa Coloring Pages (Religious)

#authres

 

There are lots of infographs you can use with Easter. These are fun to to prompt discussion and give the students a chance to see what they can understand from an authentic resource.

 

Credit: Twitter

 

 

This is only a portion of the original infograph. See the original here

 

Visit my Easter in Spanish board on Pinterest to find lots more realia!

Spanish Easter Traditions

 

The following videos are designed for Spanish learners who want to know more about traditions in Spain and Latin America.

 

Easter Holiday

Dreaming Spanish delivers interesting, novice-level language that’s perfect for beginners!

 

An Interactive Video on Semana Santa

This one is so cool! You’ll learn all about foods and celebrations all over the Spanish-speaking, and the students get to pick which ones to study first. 

 

 

Semana Santa, Spanish Easter

 

 

Procesiones y Semana Santa

 

 

Bilingual Intro to Holy Week

 

 

Activities with Eggs

 

Make cascarones! You can have your students paint them or color with markers, fill them with confetti, and maybe even take everyone outside to break them on each other.

Throw Away Your Textbook has some good tips for doing cascarones, as does Mundo de Pepita

Use plastic eggs to do this scrambled sentence activity from Señora Chase. The nice thing about this one is that you can tie the sentences into whatever theme/story/song you are working on, but it feels Easter-y/Spring-ish because of the eggs.

Use another version of scrambled sentences Totally Comprehensible Latin, with whole sentence strips inside the eggs. This is a dictation & listening activity that can be done in pairs. It takes a little work upfront, but then you only have to supervise once it get going!

5 Ways to Use Leftover Plastic Eggs from Secondary Spanish Space: lots of fun ideas here!

Make maracas from plastic eggs with this SUPER-EASY craft. 

 

 

Videos on Cascarones

 

See how cascarones de huevos are prepared in a Mexican market. 

 

How-to in Spanish:

 

How-to, as explained by a kid:

 

 

 

Videos On Alfombras

 

Las Alfombras en Honduras (introduced in English):

 

 

Detailed video of the Alfombras de Aserrín process:

 

Alfombras from Guatemala:

 

 

Semana Santa Resources

 

Make alfombras with DIY Sand Alfombras 

Browse these photos of real-life Guateman alfombras

Semana Santa vocab at a glance. (Visiting this site downloads an audio file– you can choose to block it.)

Semana Santa Webquest in English

La semana santa en Guatemala from Estudia Feliz. This story includes preterite and imperfect as a teacher recounts her experience while traveling there, and she has more printable resources on her site. 

 

 

Authentic Videos on Semana Santa

 

Here are authentic videos that introduce Semana Santa celebrations in different parts of the Spanish-speaking world. 

 

Semana Santa in Peru

 

 

Semana Santa in Spain

Be aware that the outfits worn on these processions look like the KKK. The capes are meant to symbolize rising to heaven. You will definitely want to preview, and discuss with your classes before using them. (Good opportunity to discuss how culture shapes our reaction to images and symbols.) 

 

 

 

Semana Santa in Guatemala

 

 

 

 

 

 

Songs

 

 

 

 

De Colores –  A famous & traditional song that works well with spring vocabulary. 

 

El Conejito Blanco: So cute, and non-religious for those who need that!

 

 

MovieTalks

 

 

 

I would love to hear about your favorite resources too! Let me know in the comments what else you would add to the list.

 

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National Foreign Language Week: The Best Resources for Schools

National Foreign Language Week: The Best Resources for Schools

Inside: Ideas and resources for National Foreign Language Week

 

National Foreign Language Week was founded in 1957 to help make students understand the importance of studying a second language. (I prefer the term World Language Week, but didn’t get to choose it myself. So I’ll use the term that Google can find!) This is the perfect week to shine the light on your Spanish program: parental and administrative buy-in always helps.

First, I’ll list a few ideas from other teachers for celebrating the week. Then, I’ve collected videos and articles that talk about the incredible benefits of language learning, to share with your classes or school community. There’s no substitute for letting the magic of Spanish speak for itself– through authentic communication, stories, and music in class– but sometimes a handy video or visual helps!

 

National Foreign Language Week Resources

 

Suggestions from fellow teachers for awareness at school:

 

11 Fun Facts About SpanishInfographic More Fun Facts About Spanish by www.SpeakingLatino.com

 

Resources on language learning:

 

1. How Learning A New Language Makes You More Tolerant

 

 

2. Sorry STEM, Google Just Made the Case for More Foreign Language Education

This is an AWESOME article about how “The soft skills valued in leaders are byproducts of foreign language acquisition.” Language learning isn’t just good for you and the world: it develops skills valued by future employers.

 

3. How Languages Evolve

 

Learn a little about the history of languages with this video:

 

4. The Benefits of a Bilingual Brain

 

An excellent 5-minute introduction to the science and benefits of bilingualism.

 

5. Speaking A Second Language Makes You Smarter

 

I haven’t been able to verify the research behind this video, but it lists a lot of benefits I’ve personally experienced. 

 

6. How Languages Are Connected

 

This is a beautiful graphic that shows the origins of the world’s major languages.

Click to see the full, original print from Minna Sundberg

 

7. How Learning Languages Affect Our Brain:

 

How Learning Languages Affects Our Brain #infographicYou can also find more infographics at Visualistan

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Awesome Spanish Songs for Upper Elementary Classes

Awesome Spanish Songs for Upper Elementary Classes

 Inside: Spanish songs for upper elementary students: a clean & comprehensible playlist. 

 

Many Spanish teacher struggle to find good resources for upper elementary students. For students in 4th-6th, especially, most song options either feel baby-ish or have themes that are too mature. 

So my latest challenge is finding songs that are appropriate, fun, and comprehensible for these ages!

You can also explore my page Songs in Spanish for Kids to Adults.

 

 

 

Spanish Songs for Upper Elementary

 

If you have any suggestions, or cautions about the song I’ve chosen, let me know! I’d like to hit twenty song for this list. 

 

1. Un Poco Loco – Coco

 

Here’s a catchy song from the ever-popular Coco. The entire song may not be comprehensible, but the line “un poco loco” certainly will be.

 

 

2. Soy Yo – Bomba Estereo

 

Soy Yo actually features a protagonist who’s upper-elementary-aged, with a positive message and video. AND it has good high-frequency words! 

 

 

3. Vivir Mi Vida

 

One of the best songs for novices out there, this one works for elementary students too! If you ever teach voy a + infinitives, there’s no better song: reír, bailar, vivir, gozar, llorar. If you use this one, be sure to grab Vivir Mi Vida FREE Activity Sheet .

 

 

4. Fronteras – Gaby Moreno 

 

This is one of my eternal favorites. The music, video, and lyrics are just beautiful. Tons of high-frequency words, especially in the yo from: rio, bailo, tengo, voy a, puedo, sueño, pertenenzco.

 

 

5. Yo Contigo, Tú Conmigo – Alvaro Soler

 

Minions + awesome music + high-frequency words = yes please!  

 

6. Los Pollitos Dicen

 

This one IS meant for little kids, but it’s also authentic. So I use it even with high schoolers, always assuring them that we’re learning it because it’s a classic in Hispanic culture. It almost always go over really well, and I have a freebie to go with it that doesn’t feel baby-ish at all: Los pollitos dicen Free Activity Sheet. 

 

 

 

7. Hola Amigo – Basho & Friends

 

Basho and Friends is one of the few people creating learner songs that feel “older.” He has a ton of options on his YouTube, and you should find that your older elementary students enjoy his style. 

 

 

8. Puedo Ir Al Baño – Sr. Wooly 

 

I promise this will be a huge hit with your classes. Seriously.

 

 

9. Nuqui (Te Quiero Para Mi) – ChocQuibTown 

 

I love ChocQuibTown, and love including their music to add some diversity to my music selection. The video is as gorgeous as the the music.  

 

 

10. Me Voy Me Voy (Vázquez Sounds)

 

Featuring young teens and a female lead singer, this one is comprehensible with repetitions in the past tense. According the the blurb under the official video in YouTube, the video is a metaphor: “Luchar por un mundo mejor, nos lleva a salir de nuestro universo.”

 

 

11. Mi Niña Dulce

 

I *think* this works as a 4-6th grade introduction to cumbia! If the shirtless band members are too much in the first video, the 2nd might be better. This song is VERY fast– consider slowing it down in the settings button in the lower right corner. 

 

 

 

12. La Bamba

 

Here’s a great one if you want to mix current songs with old classics. 

 

 

13. Querido Tommy – Tommy Torres

 

For the most, I think most teachers are looking for non-romantic when it comes to 4-6th grades. However, if you don’t mind a bit of a love story, this song is SO good and models letter-writing. 

 

 

14. Madre Tierra – Chayanne

 

Happy, positive music with environmental themes. I recommend using a choreographed video like the one below, since the dancing in the original video won’t work for class. 

 

 

15. Waka Waka – Shakira

 

Waka Waka is a Shakira classic that stay appropriate and will definitely appeal to any spots-lovers in your classroom. Your students will always know how to say “Esto es...” after this one!

 

 

16. El Mismo Sol – Alvaro Soler

 

I wouldn’t use the original video (and beware kids might look it up at home– a bit of sensual dancing). The lyrics are great, though! 

 

 

17. Ojalá Que Llueva Café – Juan Luis Guerra

 

The language in this song may not be quite as comprehensible, but it’s a fun way to introduce merengue. Kid World Citizen has a fun post on this!

 

 

18. Limón y Sal

 

The original video is kind’ve weird, so I would show this one. Julieta’s music is great because she has such a clear voice & accent. 

 

 

19. Los Caminos de la Vida

 

This is a classic that is appropriate for elementary, with a good comprehensible chorus. 

 

20. Internacionales

 

Great storyline & world culture, with somos repeated over and over! (You briefly see a man with a cigarette at minute 2:33.)

 

 

What songs did I miss? Leave your suggestions in the comments below!

 

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The Best Authentic Spanish Songs with Reflexive Verbs

The Best Authentic Spanish Songs with Reflexive Verbs

 Inside: Authentic Spanish songs with reflexive verbs: a classroom playlist.

 

I have collected lots of LONG Spanish music playlists… but sometimes teachers are looking for something specific. If you are looking for songs packed with reflexive verbs / pronouns, here’s your more targeted list!

(If you’re looking for more lists of Songs in Spanish by theme and category, I have a ton you can browse through or save for later.)

Let’s take a tour of our top picks!

 

Spanish Songs with Reflexive Verbs

 

Of course, always preview, and let me know if you have any suggestions or comments about the song here. 

 

1. ¿Con Quién Se Queda El Perro? – Jesse y Joy

 

Here’s a great song about a couple breaking up and having to decide who gets the dog. You’ll get good examples of pronouns, especially in the chorus. (The official video is great, but contains one scene at 0:20 you probably won’t want to show in class– if not, use the lyrics video below.)

 

 

2. Me Voy – Julieta Venegas 

 

Julieta Venegas has a nice clear accent, and I love her songs. The chorus is great for introducing reflexive verbs in the context of “yo.”

 

3. Y No Hago Más Na – El Gran Combo

 

So many reflexive pronouns in this classic Spanish song, and even ordered to explain the events of a day. 

If you want some more explicit highlights of the grammar:

 

 

4. Di Que No Te Vas – Morat

 

I really love Morat. This song is actually not full of reflexive pronouns– it’s mostly just “no te vas“– but that line gets repeated over and over again. If you teach object pronouns first, and then reflexives, you could compare and contrast with the lines that are full of object pronouns. If you teach reflexives, just focused on the chorus– they’ll never forget te vas!

If you teach through CI without much targeting, just enjoy. 

 

5. Te Mueves Tú, Se Mueven Todo

 

This song is super-fun, and the second video includes a lesson on how to to the dance (not G-rated– preview and see what you think). 

 

 

6. Cuando Me Enamoro – Enrique Iglesias y Juan Luis Guerra 

 

Juanes is another iconic Latin singer and Es por ti is one of his best love songs. I love this live version. 

 

 

7. Sin miedo a nada – Alex Ubago 

 

If you are looking for all sorts of pronouns together, this song provides lots of examples of both, to compare and contrast. Or just enjoy this Spanish classic!

 

 

8. Maquíllate – Mecano

 

If you like repetition, this one’s for you! A tongue-in-cheek song about make-up.

 

9. Somos novios – Andrea Bocelli y Christina Aguilera

 

Unlike most of the other songs listed here, this one focuses on “nos _____.” If you want a classic, use this one!

 

 

In researching this post, I came across more resources for reflexives. I’m just including them in a list here in case you need some more ideas!

 

What romantic song did I miss? Leave your suggestions in the comments below!

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Spanish Songs About the Family for Kids

Spanish Songs About the Family for Kids

Inside: The best Spanish family songs for kids, from YouTube.

 

Here’s a sweet collection of songs to teach family vocabulary with little Spanish learners. Keep in mind that these present traditional families, so make sure adopted students, students in single-parents homes, etc. feel included in your lesson plans about the family in Spanish. 

(A few tips if you use songs for learning Spanish: you can adjust the speed on YouTube by clicking the settings button in the lower right corner. The subtitles aren’t always accurate, but adjusting the speed at first can help make it more comprehensible.)

See my Spanish songs for kids library for many more suggestions and themes!

 

Spanish Family Songs

 

1. La Familia Dedo

 

I love this fingerplay for learning the family! The first version, with Peppa Pig, is helpful because it has the lyrics. 

 

 

2. Bebé Tiburón

 

How cute is this? Includes the abuelos too, and your student will love doing the motions that go with the song!

 

3.  Lluvia Lluvia Vete Ya

 

Once the students are solid on family names, this is an adorable song along the lines of “Rain, Rain Go Away” that goes through the family members. 

 

4. La Familia

 

Here are two versions of the same song. The lyrics are a little more involved, and similar to the familia dedo fingerplay: El hermano, el hermano, ¿Dónde está?, ¡Aquí está!, Gusto saludarte, gusto saludarte, ya se va, ya se va, etc. 

 

 

 

 

5. La Familia

 

If you need some targeted help identifying family members and pronouncing the names, this song includes the Spanish and English side by side. 

 

 

6. Mi Familia (Basho & Friends)

 

This one might be better for older students who don’t like more “baby-ish” songs. Here Basho introduces his own family!

 

7. Vocabulario Para La Familia

 

Not a song, here is a conversational introduction to the family, in case you want further input!

 

8. La familia with A is for Amigos

 

This is great for learning/practicing at home with guided practice!

 

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