Hispanic Heritage Month Photo Challenge & IG Story Templates

Hispanic Heritage Month Photo Challenge & IG Story Templates

Inside: Free Instagram story templates in Spanish and photo challenge. 

 

Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates Americans with Hispanic roots. I like teaching about the famous ones, sure. 

But what I really love is honoring the everyday people, with their myriad of connections and roots in Spanish-speaking places. 

I’m from the U.S., technically without my own “Hispanic heritage.” When I married my Peruvian husband, our cultures began to blend of course. Spanglish become our official home language; U2 and Maná shared equal space on the airwaves. He learned to love The Office and I learned that Karaoke was a legitimate date night option. 

What cemented it all was our first baby. My job changed from just embracing Latino culture to passing on Latino culture.

Both of my kids were born in the US, which meant that preserving their Hispanic heritage wouldn’t just happen by accident. And as much as their natural confidence, rhythm, and athletic ability are straight from their papi, I’ve been the one who checked bilingual books out from the library, made sure to put José Luis Orozco CDs in the van, and researched all the fingerplays and rhymes I could find. I think it’s just my personality, or the teacher in me– these things are always in the back of my mind!

Whether you have Hispanic roots, yourself, or are connected through teaching, children, partners, travel, or close friends, you probably can relate to this beautiful bicultural, bilingual mess of life. So I’m inviting you to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with a fun Instagram challenge!

 

Instagram Challenge: #projectHHM

 

I wanted a fun way to keep HHM it in the spotlight and connect with our amazing online community. So, together with Allison from Mis Clases Locas and Frances from Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes, we’re launching a fun Instagram Challenge TOMORROW, September 20! 

Each day you can follow the daily post challenge, and tag us with the hashtag #projectHHM. The challenge will run for 15 days. Here are the photo ideas- be creative and have fun!

 

If you want to use the IG Story Templates, grab them here:

I can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with! The intersection of Latino culture with U.S. culture is a rich one. I will be featuring a few photos here, throughout the next two months. Remember to use the hashtag so I can find you!

Right now, make sure to follow the three accounts that are hosting #projecHHM:

 

 

 

 

For extra fun, we will sharing Instagram story templates that go with each day’s theme, and help us get to know each other better. I will be uploading here each day, or you can watch our IG stories and screenshot from there. 

 

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The Ultimate Guide to Hispanic Heritage Month Activities

The Ultimate Guide to Hispanic Heritage Month Activities

Inside: A round-up of Hispanic Heritage Month activities and ideas.

 

Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from September 15th – October 15th, is the perfect chance to celebrate the contributions of Hispanic Americans and celebrate Hispanic culture in general.

There are a lot of materials out there! I’ve been scouring the internet for the best resources and fun ideas, and gathered them here. Let me know in the comment if I missed one of your favorites.  

Hispanic Heritage Month Activities

Hispanic Heritage

 

Easy & Fun Ideas

 

  • Don’t have time for a big project or event? Do something bite-sized every day. Work culture into your daily bellringer (song, poem, mini-biographies, fun facts, geography), put up a bulletin board with artifacts, quotes, or biographies in the background, or pull out your authentic books in Spanish for children. 

 

  • Assign a simple project about famous Hispanic Americans. Fun for Spanish Teachers describes a really good poster project that includes a QR code where students link to a voice recording. 

 

  • Create a school-wide event that features Latin food, music, traditional games, country-themed tables, or dancing. Consider doing a Taco Truck Day and/or an activity to contrast typical tacos in the U.S. with authentic tacos. 

 

  • Get the whole school involved throughout the month. Do trivia with prizes over the morning announcements, or have fun little games by the office or in the lunchroom (idea from the FB group Spanish Teachers in the U.S: “How many frijoles in the jar, flan flavor guessing contest, piñata on the last day, etc.”)

 

 

  • Coordinate with other teachers to emphasize Hispanic Heritage awareness. Talk with the art teacher about incorporating an artisan craft or studying a Hispanic artist. 

 

  • Invite community members to talk or share something culture (a dance lesson, cooking lesson, craft, childhood stories, etc.)

 

  • Use this month to teach Spanish-speaking countries and capitals. (A free game card set is available in the printable section below.)

 

 

#authres

 

There are lots of infographics, songs, and video clips you can use during Hispanic Heritage Month. Here are some ideas:

Credit: H&R Block

Credit: NBC News

 

Movies

 

This is the perfect time to show a movie that showcases Hispanic culture. Here’s where to find them!

Movies to show in class:

The Ultimate List of Movies for Spanish Class from Secondary Spanish Space (includes ratings, and a brief synopsis). 

G and PG Movies in Spanish from Spanish Mama

Movies for teachers/adults or need editing for class:

Movies from Spain on Netflix

Movies from Argentina on Netflix

Movies from Argentina on Netflix

movies set in Spain

COUNTRY DISPLAYS

 

Here are some ideas if you want to showcase Hispanic countries. Thank you to Alaid Zepol, from JLSimpson MS in Leesburg, VA for sharing pictures from their 2nd International Night!

 

Songs for Hispanic Heritage Month

 

Music is an excellent way to share language and culture at the same time. There are so many songs you could use this month! Check out my All-Time Classic Songs in Spanish, or Folk Songs in Spanish for Kids, or choose from the few I’ve featured below:

 

La Gozadera

Celebrate Latin American countries in this happy song. If the isn’t appropriate for your school, consider using a version that just features the lyrics. 

 

Guantanamera

Expose your students to one of the great classics in Spanish, by the legendary Celia Cruz.

 

La Bamba

La Bamba isn’t just one of the most famous songs in Spanish, it features a Chicano artist who bridged Mexico and the US.

 

De Colores

A traditional song for children, De Colores is a beautiful and classic Hispanic song that can be enjoyed by all ages. 

 

 

 

Hispanic Heritage Crafts & Culture 

 

nazca-lines-craft

Do a Nazca Lines Project from Peru 

Mexican Folk Art Paintings from Kid World Citizen 

Create a Mola from Panama from Kid World Citizen 

Create a Diego Rivera Mural from Kid World Citizen

Learn About Weaving from Guatemala from Kid World Citizen

Make a Paper Arpillera from Mundo de Pepita 

Make Guatemalan Worry Dolls with DTWTMSE

 

Hispanic Heritage Printables & Lessons

 

Teaching for Change information, quiz, and resources.

Lessons, activities, printables, and quizzes from the NEA: Grades K-5, grades 6-8, and grades 9-12.    

Grab a free poster at Speaking Latino.

Hispanic countries and capitals game

Download my free card games for Spanish-speaking countries and capitals

Who are Latinos? lesson from PBS, for grades 4-12. 

Interactive lesson from PBS on “Latinos Share Their Experiences

14 Things Latinos Gave to the US. This would be a great source for trivia!

Instagram Tourist Accounts by Country from Spanish Plans. 

 Credit: @COLOMBIA

 

Hispanic Heritage Month Videos

 

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with Google Arts:

 

How Pitbull’s Cuban-American family came to the U.S:

 

Hispanic Heritage Month from young Disney Stars:

 

Kids Talk About Hispanic Heritage Month (in English):

 

Latino Learning Modules (explains the terms Hispanic, Latino, and Chicano):

 

HBO’s the Latin Explosion is not available full-length on YouTube, though clips are available by artist. This preview might be a fun intro to Latino music in the US, as a way to kick off the month or music study. If you buy the full-length video, preview (especially for drug mentions.)

 

Video in English, mostly text:

 

 

 

Recommended TpT Elementary Resources

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recommended TpT Upper School Resources

 

 

 

 

 

Credit: @Sra. Roca- Mi tiendita hispana

Famous Faces Collaborative Poster

 

Food and Recipes

 

Pico de Gallo Receta from Mundo de Pepita

 

 

 

Hispanic Heritage Month Activities 

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Hispanic Heritage Month Ideas

 

 

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Why Spanish Learner Novels Are Changing Everything

Why Spanish Learner Novels Are Changing Everything

Inside: Why learner novels are important and how to find the best Spanish books for beginners.

 

The face of teaching language is changing. We’re moving towards living language, what I call the magic stuff: things we get lost in. Like stories and books.

Today’s post is for everyone: tired teachers, insecure speakers, homeschoolers, eager high-flyers– all of you! Because everyone needs stories, and everyone teaching Spanish needs learner novels.

Students in classes that include time set aside for voluntary reading in the form of sustained silent reading do better than those in similar classes without sustained silent reading on tests of reading comprehension, vocabulary, writing, and grammar.

This is true of first- and second-language studies and holds for children, teenagers, and university students.
(Krashen, 2004; 2007; Krashen and Mason, 2017).

Language Magazine, The Conduit Hypothesis

Language Latte just put out an amazing podcast that covers the “why” and the role of reading in language classrooms. (Really- it’s excellent. Go and listen!)

This post here is sort of written to my younger self; the information that would have helped me as a new teacher and mom to bilingual kids. At the end I include where access novels and more links on teaching with them.

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support! For authentic book lists and suggestions, be sure to see my Spanish children’s books page. 

 

Authentic Resources Aren’t Everything

 

With our limited time, authentic resources must be used wisely. If you hand your students a picture book, or sit on the couch to read The Hungry Caterpillar with your toddler Spanish-learner, you’ll quickly realize even children’s books are VERY advanced. 

Sometimes, it’s good to practice the skills of navigating authentic resources: picking out words you know, matching text to picture, and getting the general idea. 

But here’s the thing: to efficiently learn new vocabulary and get the grammar of a language subconsciously imprinted on your brain, you should be reading things that are comprehensible and enjoyable. 

Enter Spanish learner novels: books written for beginners.

You can re-tell La oruga muy hambrienta with comprehensible language, but that’s not your only option. You can also choose from leveled readers that only use simple language from the get-go, building up to the day that The Hungry Caterpiller is pan comido.

For Spanish learners, tuning into the local Spanish radio station sounds like noise. It’s a good thing to do, but it will take years of tuning in for your brain to turn that “noise” useful language you’ve acquired and can use. Think of how many people live in foreign countries without learning to speak– surrounded by language, but not taking it in. This is why beginners need learner materials.

Novels for Non-Native Parents & Teachers

 

Those of us who aren’t native speaker need to stay ahead of our kids. You need immediate language to use (like, the next day while putting on everyone’s shoes on or telling a story in the past tense). 

So guess what? You need a Spanish learner novel on your night stand. I love Spanish shows on Netflix and Spanish podcasts for improving fluency, but there’s something about written language that sticks with us and cements all the things we know from here and there. If your Spanish is totally fluent, go ahead and read Cien años de soledad! For others, simplified language will improve your skills more efficiently. 

If you are teaching Spanish three and need to “cover” the subjunctive, be reading a “level 3” novel. You will be filling yourself with the exact language you need to flow while chatting with your class or writing a story. 

Maybe you’re a parent trying to give your kids a bilingual boost and feel insecure about your Spanish. Read a level 1 or 2 novel, and you’ll notice that it becomes easier to speak to your kids in simple, whole sentences. 

 

Novels for Students with Non-Native Teachers

 

As a non-native teacher and mom, I know I can’t be the only source of input. Beyond songs and shows, learner novels are an excellent, excellent way to provide accurate, whole language on just the right language level. 

If you are a parent who is doing a once-a-week class or learning together at home, buy a pack of novels. Once your child has a very basic foundation, have him or her read at least 10 minutes a day. It is THE BEST way to acquire Spanish and no teacher is needed. You might feel confident to read aloud, just not coming up with things on the fly. Some novels also come with audio, and you all can listen together.

 

Novels for Stressed Teachers

 

That’s probably most of us! Learner novels are for every teacher, but they really have been game-changers for lowering my stress-level. I’m doing something wonderful for my kids, while giving my voice and brain a break. That makes me a better teacher, win-win!

Here are some ways novels will rock your teaching world:

  • Set up a free reading time as your bell-ringer.

    This is life-changing. For Spanish 1 first semester, I do bell-ringers. After that, everyone comes in and reads quietly for 10 minutes, in all my classes. It is a soothing, peaceful way to start class. I have a minute to collect myself before we jump in, and the students have that transition time of “switching to Spanish” before class starts, and can choose according to their interests. I don’t quiz, or do assignments. Some teachers are able to set up awesome, comfy classroom libraries that give an extra touch of “reading is special.”

Credit: Blair Chalker Brown

 

  • Use a novel as you dip your toes into CI.

    It’s not easy to teach in a new way. If providing lots of comprehensible input is a new thing for you, purchase a set of class novels with a teacher’s guide. If you teach with novels, you will quickly see how vital it is that your students know high-frequency words. If throwing out the textbook feels scary because you lose a clear plan, find a novel or two to study. Look at the glossary in the back, and you’ll know what you’re working towards. Build up to that glossary: week by week, add in new words, and use them in stories, chats, and songs.

 

  • Teach a class novel across several levels

    Multiple preps are stressful! Get around this with novels. Many books can be adjusted across several levels, and you can concentrate on developing a quality unit. Robo en la noche, for example, contains both present and past tense versions. Spend a month on the book, studying Costa Rica, conservation, travel, etc. and adjusting the conversations and resources slightly, for each class. Save your brain space!

 

  • Use novels for absences, special circumstances, and extra credit. 

    I always have a deer-in-the-headlights look when a student announces they are leaving to go to Disney tomorrow, and can I please give them the work they’ll miss all next week? Dude, I don’t have any of that stuff ready. Unless we’re doing something uber-specific, I hand them an appropriate novel and say, “Read this on your trip.” They can do a simple quiz or chat with me about it after. I’ve also done this with students out for extended illnesses. Novels can also be great for students wanting extra credit, adjusting a class to be an “honors class” (this sort of things happens in small schools), or for heritage speakers who need more challenge. 

 

Where to Get the Best Spanish Beginner Books

 

Some learner novels are available on Amazon. Here is a sampling!

 

 

 

More sources:

TPRS Publishing – Fluency Matters

TPRS Books

Spanish Cuentos

Information on teaching with novels:

How to Teach Spanish with Novels, 101

Novels Sorted by Level from Bryce Hedstrom

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Spanish Homeschooling 101: Tips for Non-native Parents

Spanish Homeschooling 101: Tips for Non-native Parents

Inside: Tips for Spanish homeschooling and finding the best resources to use at home.

 

Are you a homeschooling parent who wants to teach Spanish to your kids, but who finds yourself struggling to get past “hola”?

If so, that’s okay—I’m here to help! My name is Anne, and I’m a fellow homeschooling mama on this language learning journey with you. Thanks to Elisabeth’s generous invitation, I’m writing today to provide you with a crash course in homeschooling Spanish. The tips that I’m sharing have been honed through my years as a language instructor at the University of Virginia—where I also earned my PhD in Spanish—and through my experience as a non-native speaking parent raising two bilingual kids.

In all this time, what I’ve discovered is that there are really only three basic things that you need to homeschool languages effectively: a basic understanding of how languages are learned; a workable study plan; and access to human support and resources.

I want to help you get these three things in place, because I believe that homeschooling Spanish is a supremely worthwhile endeavor. By teaching your kids a foreign language, not only are you giving them loads of cognitive benefits and academic advantages, but you are also teaching them some of the very things that are most important in this life: empathy, dedication, and a love of learning.

May these tips help you get off to a great start this school year—and no matter where you are on your language learning journey, know that I am rooting for you!

 

TIP #1: EDUCATE YOURSELF ABOUT HOW LANGUAGES ARE LEARNED.  

 

While learning a language is possible at any age, it’s important to know that young children do learn differently than older children—and you’ll want to adjust your teaching and expectations accordingly.

If you have a child under 12, you’ll want to teach mainly through an immersion approach: providing real-life exposure to the language, reinforcing learning with multi-sensory language games, and creating opportunities for your child to practice speaking in a low-stakes environment. You may choose to use a curriculum to guide your child’s learning and help you be consistent, but the focus at this stage shouldn’t be on learning complex grammar and drilling conjugations. Instead, your goal should be to get your child using the language as quickly as possible and feel confident doing so, even if his/her language skills are quite basic. If you need a little structure to help you get there, I highly recommend Elisabeth’s excellent Spanish unit studies—they work great for kids in this age group!

 

If you have older children—say, middle school-aged or above—all of the above strategies apply, but they can also benefit from direct grammar instruction. Although you may have heard that young children learn languages best, older children can actually learn languages more efficiently, because they can draw parallels between their native language and the one they’re trying to learn.

You can choose a curriculum that takes advantage of this natural tendency, but you should also seek out opportunities for them to interact with native speakers of the language—be it through online Spanish classes, online conversation practice, or be interacting with Spanish-speaker in your local community. Middle school and high school-aged children in particular may be reticent to practice speaking—since learning any language can be a bit awkward—so although they may resist, it’s important to keep seeking out opportunities to develop this skill.

 

TIP #2: CHOOSE AN APPROPRIATE CURRICULUM AND PLAN TO USE IT CONSISTENTLY.

 

We are lucky to live in an age with an abundance of resources for teaching Spanish at home. No matter the age of your children, the size of your family, or your chosen homeschool philosophy, you can find a Spanish curriculum to fit your needs—take a look at my homeschool Spanish curriculum round-up to find one that will work for you .

Once you have that curriculum in hand, consistency is key. Short, daily practice sessions are much more effective for language learning than twice weekly lessons—and the more practice, the better. For younger students, you can help yourself be consistent by pegging your Spanish practice to another daily activity—perhaps including it in your Morning Time schedule, or dedicating your afternoon snack time to Spanish practice, followed up by a special Netflix viewing in Spanish.

If you have older students, you can plan regular formal lessons into your homeschool day, and I would recommend scheduling supplemental practice sessions as well. These don’t have to be teeth-pulling exercises or activities that require your participation; instead, they can include watching sports in Spanish, listening to audiobooks in Spanish, or playing on a gamified language app. Since motivation is really important for language learning, try to match that extra practice to your child’s other interests or activities, if at all possible.

And one more thing: while this may be an unpopular opinion, I feel obliged to note that not every language learning tool necessarily works as a homeschool curriculum. Rosetta Stone, Duolingo, and Mango Languages all have their place, but none of them were designed for children, and all lack the comprehensive approach that young language learners need to reach proficiency. For those reasons, although I recommend Duolingo and Mango Languages as supplemental tools, I would not rely on any of those programs as your primary curriculum, especially for a child under 14.

 

3.) SURROUND YOURSELF WITH RESOURCES AND SUPPORT.

 

No matter whether you are learning Spanish alongside your children or are a native speaker yourself, no mama should try Spanish homeschooling alone! As a non-native speaker myself, I deeply value our Spanish-speaking friends and neighbors, who share both their language and their lives with us, supporting our entire family on our quest to raise bilingual kids.

With a bit of intention and planning, you too can find ways to surround your child with authentic Spanish-language resources and find others who can partner with you on your family’s language learning journey.

Here are a few ways that we’ve done that in our own family and which you might find useful:

  • Look for Spanish-language story times at your local library and get to know the leaders and other families there.  
  • Ask your librarian to give you a quick tour of your library’s Spanish-language collection—and grab some books for Spanish read-alouds!
  • Look for Spanish-language playdates in your community on sites like Meetup.com or through local Facebook groups.
  • Reach out to other homeschool families studying Spanish and plan a conversation playdate or Spanish Poetry Teatime together.
  • Volunteer with a church ministry or community organization that serves Spanish speakers. This can naturally lead to relationships where your children can practice their Spanish!

Of course, these aren’t things that you have to do all at once. It might make sense to tackle one in the fall and add another one on in the spring, or just to keep them in mind for future use. If something doesn’t work, try a new activity: the key is to think creatively about how to get your kids using their Spanish in the real-world, because if they can see how useful—and fun!—it is, they are much more likely to be successful in learning the language.

And in case those three tips weren’t enough, here’s one more: think of Spanish like an elephant. After all, as the saying goes, if you want to eat an elephant, you have to do it bite-by-bite. Learning Spanish is no different. What can you do this day, this week, to support your children’s Spanish learning? Focus on creating those good habits, and don’t stress about the rest—just be faithful to the process. You’ve got this!

Anne Guarnera is a bilingual homeschooling mom of two with a PhD in Spanish from the University of Virginia. Combining her experience as a language teacher and a bilingual parent, she writes at Language Learning At Home to equip other homeschooling families to study foreign languages successfully.

 

Do you have any Spanish homeschooling resources or tips to add? Let us know in the comments below!

 

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SPANISH HOMESCHOOLING TIPS

Spanish Homeschooling Tips

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Día de Muertos Bulletin Boards and Displays

Día de Muertos Bulletin Boards and Displays

Inside: Bulletin boards, ofrends, and Day of the Dead decorations in Spanish Classrooms. 

 

Decorations for Día de Muertos are a welcome alternative to the chile peppers and sombreros we often see in Spanish classroom decor. Many teachers embrace the holiday as more deeply rooted in Latino traditions than Cinco de Mayo, for example. Though Day of the Dead isn’t celebrated in every part of the Spanish-speaking world, it is widely celebrated across Latin America and a good way to bring culture into the classroom. 

As with any religious holidays, Day of the Dead has to be handled with care. It’s an interesting chance to explore religious traditions and compare/contrast with Halloween here in the U.S. (If you are looking for classroom ideas, check out my post on Día de los muertos activities!)

If you have students who have recently experience loss, you may need to tread carefully. Some teachers use the day as it was intended, and intentionally create a space for grieving students to reach out and remember their loved ones. 

The teacher below did just that, to remember a student in her own school community. “Altar de muertos dedicado a uno de los estudiantes que perdió la vida en un accidente el año pasado.” 

 

Credit: Alicia Chávez Bartlett

 

You know your own students and community best, but it’s sometimes helpful to see what others are doing. 

If YOU have pictures of Day of the Dead decorations, bulletin boards, or ofrenda you’d like featured, please send me an email or message and let me know!

 

Día de Muertos Bulletin Boards and Displays

 

We’ll start off with bulletin boards and displays that teachers set up to share about the holiday. 

Credit: Diana García

Credit: Taina García 
Twitter: @tgarciaspanish

Credit: Itzel Cedillo

Credit: Tania Dee

 

Día de Muertos Ofrenda Projects

 

Many teachers assign making ofrenda as a project. Several Spanish teachers shared the gorgeous work their students created, and I love seeing their creativity. 

Credit: Allysen Clancy
Twitter: @LamphereSpanish, #wearelamphere

Credit: Anne Baker

Credit: Kimberly Perez
School: Cypress Park High School

 

Día de Muertos Celebrations

 

Credit: Claudia Di Crosta

Claudia shared these pictures of the celebration she’s organized at her school. She says, 

“We decorate the room with all different projects my students make, and we create a life size altar on the stage where the students and staff can display the pictures of their loved ones. Then we have a fiesta, our baking students bake/decorate skull shaped cookies and Día de los Muertos bread, our culinary students make us rice and pulled chicken and then we eat, dance, and share stories about our deceased loved ones. We have been featured in our local newspaper the past 3 years.”

Amazing way to put the spotlight on world language programs, right?

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Day of the Dead decorations

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