On the Spanish Teachers in the US FB page, Trina Roams wrote about teaching Spanish to freshmen Spanish speakers conducted 100% in the TL and geared more towards culture.
What a fun class to teach!
As she starts planning her projects for the year, I think it is important to craft the first day’s activities to build a respectful and open-minded community. While there may be a majority of students from one country, the class needs to be a safe harbor for students from different countries. For many native speakers, this may be a paradigm shift to giving them a wider view beyond their family experiences to the diversity among Spanish speakers. The ground rules need to be established that regional differences in speech, culture, and customs are valid and welcomed. The best way to start teaching this from day one is by doing the following activity:
- Students are put into pairs and write up a list of greetings. Local differences will emerge.
- Quickly write on the board the answers and the countries that use them.
- Play the video “Sesenta Saludos” for the students.
- Student listen a second time and fill in worksheet and compare notes.
- Ask which ones were previously unknown- setting the tone that this class will work with what students know but also learn new things as well.
Every day when you start class and are checking homework for completion, play the video and ask students to practice one different one than they usually use. Practice saying one and having the students identify the country mentioned in the song. Expand if in their experience it is also typical of a different country.
As a follow up, the following day talk about birthdays.
Students get into groups of four and write out the birthday lyrics to the traditional song.
Write the lyrics and identify the country.
Watch the birthday video and add any other countries that use the same lyrics.
Next have the groups of four write down what they would expect to see in a painting depicting birthdays.
Compare their notes to Carmen Lomas Garza’s birthday paintings.
Assign a Spanish speaking country to each student that is different than their heritage.
Have them research birthday traditions in that country and make a Venn diagram comparing differences and similarities between how their families celebrate birthday compared to the country they are assigned.