I often hear from other Spanish teachers that it is difficult to fit holidays into their curriculum because of time constraints. They may be able to fit in a few Hispanic holidays over the course of the year as part of their Spanish class curriculum, but they definitely don’t have time to do activities for every holiday. Whether it’s for significant holidays such as Black History Month or Women’s History month, or for fun ones like St. Patrick’s Day or Valentine’s Day, here are 7 ways you can incorporate holidays into your Spanish class in a meaningful way while also incorporating your curriculum objectives.
1. Recipes for traditional holiday foods
Reading a recipe for a traditional holiday food such as natilla, tamales, pan de muerto, etc. can be a great way to use authentic resources in your Spanish class. Bonus fun if students get to make or sample the recipe!
Skills incorporated: reading comprehension, dictionary skills, food vocabulary, commands
2. Comprehensible biographies
Reading about influential people for Hispanic Heritage Month, Women’s History Month, Black History Month, etc. is an effective way to incorporate these holidays in class while learning about important people in the target language.
Skills incorporated: reading comprehension, descriptive adjectives, professions vocabulary
If you need biographies, I have a bundle of comprehensible biographies for various holidays!
3. Influential people introductions
Similar to the biographies, you can have students briefly research influential people or use ready-made task cards to introduce themselves as an influential leader. Students can ask each other questions and complete a Find Someone Who… activity.
Skills incorporated: speaking, listening, asking and answering questions
4. Holiday vocabulary and phrases
Incorporating holidays can be as simple as introducing vocabulary relevant to the holiday such as Thanksgiving food vocabulary, Valentine’s phrases, or Halloween vocabulary. This would be a great use of a bulletin board or door display.
Skills incorporated: vocabulary building, conjugations
5. Read children's books
Reading children’s books about holidays, especially books that they may already be familiar with, is a great way for students to spend voluntary reading time or to read together as a class.
Skills incorporated: reading comprehension, vocabulary building
A few book ideas:
Cómo el Grinch Robó la Navidad
Amor de la Oruga Muy Hambriente
¿Oscar el Oso Aprenderá a Ser Agradecido?
6. Holiday-themed Sentences
This is an easy way to incorporate holidays with any verb tenses or conjugations you may be working on! Give students a list of holiday-themed subjects and verbs or verb phrases and have them put them together in sentences.
For example for Halloween:
• las brujas
• una fantasma
• unos niños
• mis amigos y yo
• Bella y los vampiros
Bella y los vampiros buscan los lobos.
Frankenstein habla con su novia.
Una fantasma va a la tienda de disfraces.
Skills incorporated: conjugations, vocabulary building, dictionary skills
You can also use holiday-themed verb spinners for this!
7. Do it in Spanish!
There are lots of traditional activities for holidays such as making New Year’s goals, gratitude lists for Thanksgiving, or Valentine’s Day or holiday cards. You can definitely do these in class but in Spanish. You can either provide a list of helpful vocabulary or phrases, or use it as practice using a dictionary or online dictionary.
When students have school on Halloween, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, etc., it is difficult enough to keep their attention with all of the excitement. You can mix in holiday activities with your normal standards and still practice reading, speaking, vocabulary, conjugations, and more. If you need more holiday ideas, check out these posts or my Holidays Mega Bundle, full of holiday resources for the entire school year!
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