Culture, Sp 1 Unit 4: En la escuela

School Unit Videos

The school unit in Spanish 1 offers tons of opportunities for incorporating culture and making cultural comparisons. I made a playlist of videos around the topic of school that I’ve been using with my Spanish 1 students. Here’s some ideas for how you can use them:

  1. Movie talk the What a Classroom Looks like, School Lunches, or School Uniforms videos. Ask simple questions: ¿Qué es esto? ¿Cuántos años tiene? ¿Quién es el profesor? ¿De qué color es? ¿Tienen mucho dinero o poco dinero?
  2. Use as a warm up or closing activity. Watch and discuss what you see. Have students write down thoughts, or ask a guiding question before watching – what is simliar/what is different? What surprises you? What questions do you have?
  3. Examine bias. This is a great cross-curricular connection. Who made this video? Why did they make it? Are they biased or neutral? Remind them that even if they spot bias, they can still learn something about life/school in that country.

I’m also loving the music video for “La Magia” by Little Jesus. Kara Jacobs shared a wealth of resources on her blog, including a story based on the music video. I recommend that you read the story before watching the video!

For more ideas for the school unit, here are all my school unit posts. What are your favorite school unit resources? What videos should I add to my playlist?


Día de los Muertos Resources

With Fall Break coming up next week (hooray!) and homecoming week right after, I’m hitting Día de los Muertos early this year (also, invariably I see everyone’s wonderful Día de los Muertos lessons AFTER it’s already passed, so here ya go, folks – plenty of time to plan for your lessons!). Here’s what I’m doing:

Warm Up:

Screenshot 2014-10-09 09.54.53
Comparing and contrasting products and practices of Halloween and Dia de los Muertos. No more, “Isn’t that Mexican Halloween?”

We brainstormed products and practices of Halloween, and wrote them on butcher-paper posters. I then put on some of the videos below, and asked them to look for the products and practices of Día de los Muertos.  Gracias Laura Sexton for the idea to approach it from the Products/Practices/Perspectives angle. 🙂


The Wild Thornberrys celebrateDía de los Muertos:

Travel Channel:

Catrina Make Up Tutorial:

I downloaded all the videos as FLVs with KeepVid and played them back to back with VLC media player – by downloading them I avoid internet connectivity issues and ensure that I’ll still have the videos if they’re later removed from Youtube. The Wild Thornberrys were actually pretty accurate, and held my students’ attention. The travel channel video is GREAT and short (though not quite as engaging as the Thornberrys), so if you’re on a tight schedule, go with that one. They also enjoyed the make up tutorial, and I showed them this picture of me from Halloween last year.

20131031_215313If you want to keep it all in the TL, you could movie talk this clip:

After the videos, we added the products and practices of Día de los Muertos to our poster. It’s a little messy, but here’s the result:2014-10-09 09.54.23 2014-10-09 09.54.37

I’m going to follow up tomorrow with some reflection questions, or possibly class discussion on the perspectives reflected in each culture’s holiday products and practices.