Learning how to express your feelings is essential in order to connect with a language. It is easy for students to fall into the rut of always answering, “I’m good. (Yo estoy bien,)but what are other emotions they can express?

Classroom Game: ¿Cómo Estás?
The Calico Spanish Flashcards come with 9 phrases for expressing emotions. Each flashcard includes a picture that accurately represents the feeling in question.

I like to play this game with my students during our 15-minute block in the gymnasium or outside where we have some space to move around, but you can also make it work in your regular classroom.

  1. Lay the pile of emotion flash cards face down on the floor.
  2. Put some distance between the class and the pile of cards.
  3. Line up single file.
  4. Together as a class, ask, “¿Cómo estás?”
  5. The student at the front of the line runs to the pile and chooses the top card. He/she then has to act out the emotion.
  6. The students in line guess which emotion is being acted out.
  7. When the correct answer is guessed, the actor returns the card to the teacher and then runs back to the end of the line.
  8. Repeat steps 4 through 7 until you have gone through the entire stack. Repeat as many times as you wish.

If you are up to it, you can make this more of a competitive game by having two teams and keeping score of which team guesses correctly. It’s a guarantee that students will shout doing it this way, but they will be shouting in Spanish!

Hojalata is the tin art made in Mexico that creates both practical and ornate objects. Mexican artisans and craftsmen draw on their imagination to mold inexpensive, readily available tin into elegant, delicate works of art. Candelabras, jewelry boxes or nativity scenes all began as flat pieces of tin, waiting for the craftsman’s touch. Often times glass, mirrors, talavera tiles or other materials are also incorporated into the design as an accent.

Depending on the region, art styles and characteristics differ greatly. In Oaxaca, tin artisans either leave their pieces natural and shiny or use vibrant, colorful paints. In San Miguel de Allende, the tin goes through an aging or oxidization process before it is even shaped. The designs painted on these artifacts range from humorous images to cultural and religious motifs.

This traditional art form provides a wonderful opportunity for you and your students to experience the culture of Mexico in the classroom.

Here is a Hojalata variation you can do with your students!

What you will need: tin foil, dull pencils, scissors, paint
  1. Begin with a flat piece of tin foil.
  2. Use a dull pencil to score the foil with a design.
  3. With scissors cut around the outline of the design to create a unique shape.
  4. Paint the design with bright colors.
  5. Let dry and then display your fine work of Mexican Art.

Dianne, Mark. “Poor Man’s Silver-The Art of Mexican Tin.”
Mase, De. 6th grade students. Mexican Tin Art based on Mayan and Aztec motifs/designs. http://www.wyckoffschools.org/eisenhower/schoolpics/2003/tinart/pages/design.htm 3.4.2004.

I love the Advent season. As an exchange student in Germany, I celebrated Advent for the four Sundays before Christmas with afternoon tea, cookies, conversation, laughter and candlelight. It was a magical celebration and I have continued the tradition with my own family.

You can share this tradition with your students easily thanks to Deutsche-Welle. They offer a digital Advent calendar on their website. Each day you will have access to a new item. Today, I was able to read a bit about the history of Advent in Spanish on the digital Advent calendar.

The Spanish Version of the Advent Calendar is at: http://bit.ly/dWFnRc

You can read more about the German holiday traditions (written in English) at: http://bit.ly/h0aIvd

Please share your favorite Christmas traditions with us in the comments!