Thanksgiving in Spanish Class: A Mega-Collection of Classroom Ideas
Inside: A round-up of ideas for Thanksgiving in Spanish classrooms.
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 distracted students! If you have younger ones, Ponle el sombrero en el pavo or Pavo, pavito might be fun.
Read on for more specific suggestions on Thanksgiving videos, songs, printables, and more in Spanish.
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Spanish Thanksgiving Activities
Easy & Fun Lesson Ideas
- Make thank-you cards in Spanish 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.
Spanish Thanksgiving Books
Free Activity Sheet to go with a reading of the Celebra día de acción de gracias con Beto y Gaby from Santilla
Spanish Thanksgiving Songs for Class
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
Gratitud – Fonseca
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!
Grab Thanksgiving-themed activities in this activity pack, including activities for the song “Gratitud” by Fonseca, crossword puzzles, vocabulary cards, games, glyphs, “Find Someone Who…” sheets, and more.
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
Thanksgiving MovieTalks for Spanish Class
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.
Farmer vs. Turkey
A Tiny Hamster Thanksgiving
Salt, sugar, cooking terms
Re-tell the Thanksgiving 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:
Report on Free Birds in Spanish:
La historia de Thanksgiving, en español:
Bulletin Boards for Thanksgiving
Here is some Instagram inspiration for bulletin boards too!
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I'm thankful for the Halloween candy in my desk, the fresh start of a new trimester next week, and the silence of my 5th hour prep 🍊🤗 . . . . . . . . #iteachhighschool #teachmorespanish #iteachtoo #spanishclass #spanishteachers #spanishclassroom #damosgracias #doygracias #teacher #teachersofinstagram #spanishteachersofinstagram
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Work in progress… our thankful tree. Gracias por… students brainstorm things that they’re thankful for in Spanish, we created a word wall first, then they drew their hands in construction paper, and wrote things that they’re thankful for, one on each finger. Those precious hands became the leaves of our tree. #teachspanish #thanksgiving #bethankful #graciaspor #diadeacciondegracias
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The fancy turkey 🦃 now has his thankful feathers 🦃 I have to say, starting each class on a dreary Monday with a craftivity started the week on a positive note 😊 Check out the blog for an updated post with ideas for Thanksgiving in Spanish class 🍗🥧. . . . #spanishteacher #teachmorespanish #misclaseslocas #spanishtribe #teachmorespanish #spanishteachers #spanglishfamily #spanglishliving #iteachtoo #locasbulletinboard #diadedargracias #diadeacciondegracias #thankfulturkey #teachersofinstagram #thanksgivingdecor #tpt
Thanksgiving in Spanish
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