Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Cultural week: Colombia

I have mentioned before that I teach a 5-8 year old Spanish class every Saturday.  On the very last day of the academic year, I get to teach my very favorite lesson.  Language Stars calls it Cultural week.  I get to teach my students about my country.
Here is what I have used in the past:

Here are all my materials.  My class is 85 minutes and it is basically an art project experience.

First each child receives a folder in which I already placed 4 half envelopes as pockets.  I also added the Colombian Flag sticker at the corner of the folder.  The kids write the words on their own.  I have this one to show them.  (It could be made prettier but we only have 85 min!)

The first pocket is for a map, and a flag.  I tell them that in Colombian children are taught that there is just one continent called America.  Hence when they say American in Spanish, it means from North, Central or South America.  We practice saying " Yo soy de los Estados Unidos" I am from the United States instead of I am from America.  We make the flag with shinny ribbons, and also color Colombia on the map.  The kids find out where it is and how small it is compared to the USA.

The second top pocket is for currency.  This is a huge hit!  The kids get to hold, look, and even keep some Colombian money.  Then we talk about the different currencies and I even ask them to convert one dollar into Colombia pesos.  It is a lot of change.  They cut the coins I printed in paper, add them up, and glue them in a flashcard to store in their pockets.  One Dollar is (as of today) 1,916.47 Colombian pesos.  The kids just love making the math and we get to practice talking big numbers like hundreds, thousand, etc.  

The next pocket is for food and drinks famous in Colombia.  You got it! Coffee, and then arepitas!  They get to try a Colombian coffee candy and we make arepitas together. I bring all the ingredients (white corn flour, cheese, butter and water) and a griddle!

The last pocket is for famous Colombians.  We talk about the wonderful writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez (RIP) and his magical realism (We even read a piece from One Hundred Years of Solitude).  Then, we talk about the painter and sculptor Botero and his curious style (He painted/sculpted oversized people).  We move to music by talking about Shakira and dancing the Waka Waka (maybe the new La La La song)  Finally we talk about Sofia Vergara and her role in the show Modern Family.  

I have very little artifacts to share.  Usually kids will ask me to keep them, and I avoid giving them the temptation and disappointment.  I do share this tiny box where I keep all the coins I let them keep, and I share this picture of me wearing a cumbia dress.  I used to be part of a folkloric dance company in Chicago.

Finally we do a comparison between the USA and Colombia.  We talk about English Vs Spanish, Breakfast food: Waffles vs arepitas.  Greeting people by saying hello vs. kissing on the cheek.  The yellow school buses vs. the colorful Colombian buses.  The traditional Christmas trees vs. the illuminated coconut tree from my city in the Atlantic Coast.  Finally we talk about the weather: four seasons vs. the same all year round.  Playing in the snow vs. playing in the sand.  

It is by far my favorite class with the kids during the season and I am so glad to be able to share it with you! 

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