Culture isn’t just something you see when visiting a foreign country or an authentic restaurant. It’s something that with the right tools and practices can be recreated right in your classroom. Educational cultural activities allow you to take your students on a trip around the globe without having to step foot outside of school, however, it can be difficult to feel as if your replication of Spanish culture is true and representative of the real thing. That’s why we created a list of creative ways in which to engage your students in a Spanish cultural lesson by getting them involved in authentic cultural activities:
1. Modern Reading
While there is no denying the importance of introducing traditional Spanish literature to your students, it can also be helpful to show them Spanish versions of the resources they already know and love. The Internet contains hundreds of resources on popular magazines and television shows such as People Magazine and ESPN, in Spanish of course, that will be sure to get your students reading. This can be a fun way for your students to read recent, relevant stories while also absorbing Spanish vocabulary and grammar!
2. Advertisements and News Reports
It’s easy to forget about the importance of ads and news reports as they have just become so commonplace in our culture. It’s fascinating to engage in Spanish publications as they show students how other cultures display their news and products to its people. Through advertisements, you can see that Coca-Cola and McDonald’s do not market to their customers the same way all throughout the globe. Similarly, news reports not only enable a wider perspective into important global issues but also provide a wide variety of vocabulary and dialect to be recognized. There is plenty to learn from all of these real-life displays that give a fun, relevant peek into Spanish culture.
Check out ver-taal.com for a treasure trove of video and audio clips from all over the Spanish-speaking world!
3. Spanish and Latin American Celebrations
Spanish-speaking cultures around the globe have their own unique days of celebration, much like we do here. As a Spanish teacher, this is the perfect opportunity to introduce them to the history of Cinco de Mayo, explain the phenomena of the Running of the Bulls or decorate your classroom for Día de Los Muertos. The more you engage the students in genuine experiences, the more respect and understanding they will gain for cultural differences. The students can dress up for the occasion or simply watch video examples; either way, they will be able to see how other countries and cultures celebrate.
4. Traditional Spanish and Latin American Cuisine
You know what they say, the best way to any person’s heart is through their stomach. Education is the same way, right? We think so! You can tell a lot about a country’s culture through their food whether it is colorful, spicy, or sweet, it has endless stories to tell. One of the best ways to introduce your class to a plethora of traditional Spanish foods is to host a “feast.” This feast would include a traditional dish chosen and prepared by each student to bring for the whole class to enjoy. Besides, this is the perfect opportunity for students to engage in conversation in Spanish using descriptive vocabulary while enjoying delicious food!
5. Art and Music
All over the Spanish-speaking world, traditional art is a large part of what makes individual cultures unique. Analyzing Spanish and Latin American art and music, much like we do in our own culture, gives a unique insight into the famous creative outlooks that describe a different way of life. These are also great ways of breaking up a heavy academic lesson with a fun, light-hearted activity that also challenges their analytical and interpretational skills.