Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Culture, Crafts, and Language Learning

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It's been SEVERAL months since I posted. Life has been much busier than I ever imagined. This past summer I did Spanish camps and loved teaching more kids the language and introducing them to the cultures where Spanish is spoken. At some point, I hope to do some posts on those adventures and share my teaching ideas.

This fall I decided to offer a new type of class... ¡Explora Español!, a six-week class that gives kids a taste of Spanish through culture and crafts. I have really enjoyed this class more than I would have imagined. With each week, I teach a bit of Spanish and then connect it to a cultural component which leads into a craft. Let's take a look at one of the classes I did to see how it all works together...

One week I taught the kids body parts. Since I tend to use Mr. Potato Head in my regular classes when teaching body parts I figured I would do the same in my exploratory class also. Then it hit me. Potatoes are originally from South America. There was a tie-in. So after teaching body parts, we talked about the potato and where it came from. I mentioned the many varieties out there...many more than my students had ever seen. We then reviewed the body parts using Mr. Potato Head. I then gave each student a potato and we got to work. This craft was done mostly in Spanish. We started with the "ojos" and did the complete face. The sombrero and zapatos were next. We finished by placing cut pipe cleaners on the sides for brazos. 

The paper parts I cut out ahead of time to save time. {Also, it is a good idea to wash and dry the potatoes ahead of time so the glue will stick.} You can find several templates online like here. Make sure to resize them so they will fit on the potatoes you are using.  We would review the name of the body part in Spanish and then students would put glue {We used this one, and it works well.} on the piece. Because the potatoes are round it helped to hold the pieces in place for a few seconds. I had the students count to twenty in Spanish before taking their fingers off one of the pieces. With the shoes, it was helpful to use these glue dots instead of the liquid glue. Aren't they so cute?

Here are some other ideas for connecting language, culture, and crafts into your lessons {You can click on the link for each craft to get ideas}:

Names of animals-- Talk about the importance of llamas in South America-- Paint a llama 
Clothing vocabulary-- Talk about Guatemala and worry dolls-- Make a worry doll

House Vocabulary-- Talk about the neighborhood of La Boca, Buenos Aires, Argentina-- Make "La Boca Houses"
Weather Vocabulary-- Talk about the Atacama Desert in Chile-- Make a Chilean rainstick
Fruit and Veggie vocabulary-- Talk about Chile and Peru and arpilleras-- Make an arpillera
Telling time-- Talk about the artist Salvador Dalí-- Make melting clocks

Do you have any other connections for teaching language, culture and then adding a craft? I would love to hear them!!

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