As Spanish teachers, we are always looking for fun, no-prep, and new ways to engage our students–especially during this later Fall time of the year, when the mix of holidays, breaks, absenteeism, and a bit of tiredness starts to kick in. November & Thanksgiving can be a challenging time of the year! But, here are three ideas to create engaging lessons in the classroom that your kids won’t be able to get enough of!
(PS: Check out my video on Engagement Strategies if engagement is of particular challenge for you!)
Traditional Thanksgiving (but with a Latino twist)
Who says you can’t teach about traditional Thanksgiving? Equipping students with the appropriate vocabulary for meals and making games out of it like Matamoscas (FlySwatter) on Pear Deck sounds like a lot of fun! And it is necessary! But how can we look at Thanksgiving with a Latino twist?
First, maybe show students what Thanksgiving is like for some people in the Latinx community. I personally love the below video and I include it in my Webquest resource on Día de acción de gracias | Thanksgiving Spanish Activity | Webquest (No Prep), followed by questions, observations, etc! It’s such a cute video because the kids cook the meals that their moms traditionally would cook & they give a lot of backstories.
Celebrating Indigenous Peoples
November is Indigenous Peoples Month! I wrote a blog post about it here and the importance of giving voice to Indigenous Peoples in the Spanish classroom! I also made a video about three ways you can affirm Indigenous Peoples in your classroom during the month of November. It boiled down to:
- Acknowledging the presence of 45 million Native Peoples in Latin America (as of the 2010 census–this number may or may not include those who are multicultural)
- Talking about the “first, first Thanksgiving” between the Timucuan tribe and Pedro Menéndez de Avilés in 1565–which predates the pilgrims.
- Discussing the consequences that the European arrival had on the Native populations, such as the Taínos and Colombus. Within 50 years of contact, they were on the brink of extinction.
I discuss these facts and more in a child-centered way that is impactful and accomplishes social justice initiatives in these resources:
Thanksgiving vs. Christmas: Battle Royale
I always find this to be a fun topic to discuss in class, especially given my Caribbean background. I always have the urge to put up the try ASAP–right at the beginning of November! I questioned this one year and started asking other Caribbean friends and found out that this is kind of a cultural phenomenon in some Latin communities. Combined with the hilarious spoof videos online, this makes for great conversation in class! Link to my previous blog post with interviews.
Below are some awesome videos from some comedians I follow! My kids burst out laughing at the second video! Consider using them as warm-ups or brain breaks.
I hope you got some tips and tricks for a unique November! Stay strong—only a few weeks till break!!!
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