April Fool’s Day in Spanish

March 30, 2011 · Posted in Hispanic Culture, Mexican Culture, SPANISH CLASS NOW · Comment 

Here comes April Fool’s Day, but it is not celebrated on April 1 in the Spanish speaking world. Nowhere close, it is celebrated on December 28 as El Día de los Inocentes.

It commemorates King Herod’s slaughter of all male infants in biblical times. El Día de los Inocentes is now all about pranks and practical jokes, especially in Spain and Mexico where there are media hoaxes.

Here are some free activities: Spanish April Fool’s Day Activities

For a El Día de los Inocentes reading and activities click HERE.

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Need Spanish materials immediately?  Buy a Key to the House membership at foreignlanguagehouse.com. You can browse, choose, and instantly download any digital document or power point on the site.  Straight to your own hard-drive, and you have it forever!

You can always re-download them if you need them again too.

Día de los Muertos- Day of the Dead Vocabulary

October 4, 2010 · Posted in Hispanic Culture, Mexican Culture, Mexico, Spanish Vocabulary · Comment 

DAY OF THE DEAD ACTIVITIES & MATERIALS. CLICK HERE

Day of the Dead, or Día de los Muertos, is almost here.  Sound creepy?  Well, it’s not.  Some Americans, or really many people, mistakenly think that Día de los Muertos is a Mexican Halloween.  It’s not.  No lo es.

Día de los Muertos is the opposite of morbid and macabre.  It’s a spectacular, colorful, happy, but respectful time to honor loved ones who have passed away. Think Memorial Day to the thousandth power.

History of Día de Muertos

Día de Muertos is celebrated on November first and second.  When the Spaniards arrived in Mexico in the 1500’s, they came upon the native peoples, the Aztecs as one group, celebrating their dearly departed and the after life itself in August.  As the Spanish Roman Catholic missionaries made headway in Mexico, they combined the native memorial celebration with their own All Saints’ Day.  The dates for Día de Muertos evolved into the first two days of November.

Celebrations, Imagery, & Symbols

Mexicans have an ingenious way of combining symbols and adding a distinct humor to the heavy concept of death, or La Muerte. La Muerte is both personified and humorized into the dancing, laughing skeletons. The colors used on decorations, pastries, and candles are bright and contrasting.  Here is a little vocabulary.

Da de Muertos Vocabulary

  • death= la Muerte
  • candle= la vela
  • bread of the dead= el pan de muerto
  • candied skull= la calavera
  • decorative crepe paper hangings= papel picado
  • decorative memorial= la ofrenda

Teaching Spanish with Music- All Kinds

Music, or la música, can be the best part of learning to speak Spanish!  Hispanic music is just so fantastic because there are so many types of it; there truly is something for everyone.  Try a free sampling of Latino music on pandora.com, a free radio streaming site.  Itunes is always a great place to start searching for Latino music and artists.

My personal favorites, mis favoritos son . . .

Putumayo Anthologies- Latino Contemporary and Latino Children’s Traditional Music the best in cultural exposure.  You get different Hispanic cultures, stories, and music in the many thematic anthologies.

Luis Orozco traditional acoustic guitar children’s songs

Juanes- One of the biggest names in Latino Pop.  From Columbia

Alejandro Sanz

Camarón de la Isla– one of Spain’s modern, flamenco greats

Musica can really be everything.  Geography, culture, people, history, art, and literature can be taught along with it, as it should be.  Listening skills also zoom the more a learner listens to native Spanish music.  So, enjoy.  Disfrútalo.

Free Spanish 5 de Mayo Activities

El Cinco de Mayo is almost here!  ¡Viva México!  ¡Viva Juárez!  Who was Juárez?  Benito Juárez was the Zapotec Indian general who lead the Mexican troops to victory.   Celebrate the vital Mexican victory of the Battle of Puebla with Spanish speakers and learners.

Click Cinco de Mayo Activities for a free set of Cinco de Mayo handouts.

Click Cinco de Mayo Vocabulary for a free podcast for Cinco de Mayo.

Free Spanish App!

Now you can get all of the vocabulary, conversational phrases, and content from speakspanisheveryday.com in a FREE APP for your itouch, ipod, iphone, or ipad!  So much Spanish information now at your fingertips.  click APP to download it from itunes for free.

  • Instant Spanish ideas, content, games, activities, and more!
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Cinco de Mayo- The Battle of Puebla for Spanish I

Isn’t it time that everyone learns about the real reason Cinco de Mayo is celebrated?  Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican Independence Day, the Sixteenth of September is.  Cinco de Mayo commemorates the victory of the Mexican forces over the French army at the Battle of Puebla.  It was a major turning point in the fight for Mexican independence that went on for five more years.

Here are the movers and shakers of 19th century Mexican history and Cinco de Mayo

  • Benito Juárez: The popular Mexican President of the Mexican Republic who inspired Mexican Independence from European domination.  Juárez was a Zapotec Indian.
  • Ignacio Zaragoza:  The Mexican general who won the Battle of Puebla.
  • Emperor Maximillian:  The puppet of the French government who was placed as the Mexican Emporer
  • Empress Carlota:  Maximilian’s wife

See Cinco de Mayo for Spanish I.

Spanish Day of the Dead- Free Spanish Vocabulary

Day of the Dead, or Día de los Muertos, is almost here.  Sound creepy?  Well, it’s not.  Some Americans, or really many people, mistakenly think that Día de los Muertos is a Mexican Halloween.  It’s not.  No lo es.

Día de los Muertos is the opposite of morbid and macabre.  It’s a spectacular, colorful, happy, but respectful time to honor loved ones who have passed away. Think Memorial Day to the thousandth power.

History of Día de Muertos

Día de Muertos is celebrated on November first and second.  When the Spaniards arrived in Mexico in the 1500′s, they came upon the native peoples, the Aztecs as one group, celebrating their dearly departed and the after life itself in August.  As the Spanish Roman Catholic missionaries made headway in Mexico, they combined the native memorial celebration with their own All Saints’ Day.  The dates for Día de Muertos evolved into the first two days of November.

Celebrations, Imagery, & Symbols

Mexicans have an ingenious way of combining symbols and adding a distinct humor to the heavy concept of death, or La Muerte. La Muerte is both personified and humorized into the dancing, laughing skeletons. The colors used on decorations, pastries, and candles are bright and contrasting.  Here is a little vocabulary.

Día de Muertos Vocabulary

  • death= la Muerte
  • candle= la vela
  • bread of the dead= el pan de muerto
  • candied skull= la calavera
  • decorative crepe paper hangings= papel picado
  • decorative memorial= la ofrenda
  • parade= el desfile

Read more description and detail about Day of the Dead and learn and practice basic Spanish within the context of Día de Muertos

Spanish Summer Heat Phrases & Vocabulary

Hace mucho sol y hace calor

On here on the border of Texas and Mexico, New Mexico too for that matter, it is hot, or hace mucho calor. The heat, el calor, is all that everyone talks about.  Use some Spanish weather phrases and vocabulary while they are truly relevant. This is when you eat jícama sprinkled with chili powder and lime juice instead of chiles rellenos.

Jícama is a potatoe like root vegetable  from Mexico, but I somehow view it as more of a fruit.  You have to peel it, then dice it and sprinkle it with the lime juice and chili powder.  See the next blog post for a jícama, coconut, and mango salad my friend Alicia just told me bout.

Vocabulary & Phrases

  • hace calor- it’s hot (now)
  • está caliente- it’s hot (general description)
  • hace much sol= it’s really sunny
  • El sol quema- the sun is burning
  • está soleado- it’s sunny (general description)
  • está como un horno= it’s live an oven
  • se puede freir juevos en la calle- one can fry eggs on the street

When someone asks ¿Qué tiempo hace?,  or ¿Cómo est el tiempo? you now have a more varied list of responses for the summer, or el verano, only.  Click here for a Spanish Weather Forecast Activity.

Practice Activities

  • Try using the questions and the varied answers with a friend or class mate
  • Have one partner state the answer, and then the other needs to ask the question
  • Make a flash card for each weather question and phrase.  Play guessing and match up games with them.
  • Illustrated the weather description cards and then try to say its Spanish phrase
  • Go to www.weather.com to the Spanish language part of the site to check out weather phrases
  • Listen to a Spanish language weather forecast on TV and try to follow it.

Spanish Outdoor Activity- Un Picnic

Mayo brings us weather beautiful enough for a picnic, and a Spanish-speaking, Mexican style picnic at that.  The family picnic is a cultural institution in Mexico, and weekend family picnics are often multi-generational with abuelos (grandparents), tíos (aunts & uncles) and bebés.  Picnic y la familia go together like tacos and salsa.  Try a Mexican style picnic with some Spanish sprinkled in with friends, family, or students.

Teaching Tip & Spanish Material:  Introduce each item from the Mexican picnic with its Spanish name such as la naranja for orange.  Then ask learners to identify it by pointing or touching it.  Vocabulary is taught best with the real item, or a picture of it.  The visual and tactile support of a real orange, for examples, lends so much to the learners.  A delightful, simple bilingual book for foods is Mi Comida.

So here is some familia review:

Spanish Family Members: Pairs

  • abuelos = grandparents
  • papás= parents
  • hijos= children
  • nietos= grandchildren
  • tíos= aunts & uncles
  • primos= cousins

Conversation Fun

¿Quíenes van al picnic? Who is going to the picnic?

Mis abuelos, mis papás, mis tíos y mis primos van al picnic.

¿Qué traes para el picnic? What are you bringing for the picnic

Yo traigo . . . . I m bringing.

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