Keep an eye (and ear) out while watching TL content.
I was watching a video for a game, and as I was watching, I realized the kids in the video had various ways of picking whose turn it was to play. I did a quick search for each of the games and added it to my repertoire. Sometimes it’s simply a phrase or a hand gesture that comes out of watching other content, but by simply adding these little bits to our classroom, we create a more authentic experience for our students.
Find ways to match culture to content.
What are you teaching and what practices can you think of to match that content? What do we do in our country that may or may not be different in another country? Each year in Spanish we talk about food, which is a huge cultural lesson in and of itself. Our 4th grade unit focuses on food and celebrations starting with birthdays. As part of the unit, I’ve decided to teach the first few stanzas of Las mañanitas, the traditional birthday song. For each student’s birthday, we’ll sing Las mañanitas. It takes such a short amount of time but has a much greater impact than just talking about the song. Finding ways to bring in traditional poems, rhymes, hand games and songs can take a unit to the next level.
Travel (or bug someone who does).
If we had our way, many of us would travel all over the world learning and gathering knowledge. Sadly, this is not always reality. When we are fortunate enough to travel to countries where the TL is spoken, take the opportunity to speak with residents, browse the bookstore or music store, watch local TV or just observe people interacting with one another. In those time you aren’t able to travel, try and connect with a friend or family member who is. Ask them to bring back a book, video, CD, etc. that might be helpful. Giving a specific topic or general theme might be helpful to ensure they bring back what you are looking for.
Use social media.
I feel like I come back to this a lot. Social media provides a window to the world without leaving the comfort of you home (or school). By following relevant accounts, (for example: Zoo Madrid for animal), you get real-world resources at your fingertips. Within these resources I almost always find idioms or games that are more authentic than what I was using.
Here are a few fun things I picked up recently:
Disparejo – for picking turns.
This can be played with as many people as necessary. After saying “dis-pa-re-jo”, every person gives a thumbs up or thumbs down. The person who ends up without a pair (disparejo) is it. Originally, this game was played with coins, but has been adapted to using thumbs.
If you’d like to take this game a step further, here is a fun sheet for working on probability.
I always learned this game as yan ken po, which is also how it is called in Japan. This is a great example of regional and country differences. Here are some other ways to play rock, paper, scissors in Spanish (From Wikipedia): Piedra, papel o tijera, cachipún, jankenpón, dum-kin-voy,yan ken po, pin pon papas, chis bun papas, hakembó, chin-chan-pu, How-are-you-speak o kokepon.
Of course, these bits and pieces look different across the Spanish-speaking world, but I do my best to ensure my resources are authentic. What fun cultural tidbits do you use in your class? I’d love to add them to my bag of tricks!