SPAIN: La Alhambra is a famous fort/ palace with beautiful gardens in southern Spain and a rich history. In class, students learn that Spanish and Arabic actually share a lot of vocabulary, despite having completely different alphabets. By listening to Spanish Arabic music, they get a feel for Andalucía and see the influence the Moors had on that region of Spain.
Across grade levels, students enjoy trying to build this fort out of cardboard; but first graders take it to a new level by not only painting the cardboard red*, but also carefully coloring and cutting out the fancy tiles [azulejos] and plastering the inside of the fort with them. *PRO TIP: If any students call the red paint “blood”, I redirect to La Tomatina, a tomato-throwing fight that takes place in Spain every year.
Students add windows and crawlspaces, and telescopes, and learn a bit about paciencia/ patience and the fruits of slowing down. Taking your time can be a good thing! They also glue on pictures of the Spanish flag and other cultural realia, put on Spain’s National Anthem or Spanish Andalusian music below, and invest themselves in the process. If time permits, they try to recreate the gardens!
LINKS: La Alhambra (Wikipedia), La Alhambra (Spain), La Alhambra, Fotos (Spain), La Alhambra (languages), Audioguía infantil de la Alhambra en 3D, The Alhambra Palace- Secrets Behind the Writing on the Wall
Arabic: Arabic Loanwords in European Languages, Designer Creates Arabic Words into Illustrations of their Literal Meanings, Similarities Between Spanish and Arabic, Southern Spain ~ Andalucía
Image taken from La Alhambra article on Wikipedia (you can change the language on the sidebar).