My Dear Friends, Fellow Linguists, and Citizens of the World:
This summer, students are encouraged to continue their Spanish study by living the language, through whichever ‘access point’ they deem most exciting. It is important to tap into students’ interests here.
For example, if they like tech, work on a Spanish app consistently; if they like music, listen to songs in the target language; if they like art or science, check out the updated Culture Projects; if they like geography or travel, look at tags and stickers on clothing and fruits, and see how many Spanish-speaking countries they can find; if they like PE, complete the Camino For Good Summer Challenge (where you walk/bike/swim across Spain virtually and log your progress in an app, unlocking all sorts of fun along the way!).
Spanish class is all-encompassing, and as such, the goal is to make it fun so that students stick with it: language acquisition is a long journey, and it is important to enjoy the ride. For a plethora of links, resources, and ideas, keep reading!
NOTE: While the activities below are 100% optional, it is my hope that you and your family begin incorporating Spanish into your daily lives: small, frequent doses are the most potent and effective!
SPANISH & PE
- Camino For Good App– [virtual hike across Spain]
- “The idea is that you walk/swim/bike in your local area and each day you log your distance into the App. You will see your equivalent progression along the Camino Frances on the interactive map where you can get a real feel for the landscape and village life of the regions you pass through. The total distance of the Virtual Camino Frances is 485 mi/ 780 km.
- As a way of keeping you motivated, the App has rich content in the form of over 2,000 photos, audio stories, local history and motivational quotes that get unlocked as you virtually travel through the 207 destinations along the way.”
SPANISH & FOOD
- Take a “Food Tour” of the Spanish/Mexican/Venezuelan/Peruvian restaurants in your city. Visit one new place a week, and take a photo of what you ordered to add to the food passport collage of your trips.
- Consider making one of the following at home with your family.
- SNACKS: Tapas, Fried plantains, Homemade Spicy Fries (Andean Mtns.), Guacamole—I chop up avocado, tomatoes, onion, cilantro, and add a lot of freshly squeezed lime juice; mix; and enjoy with chips!
- MEALS: Salteñas + Llajua– Bolivian Hot Sauce!, Tortilla Española (Spain), Gallo Pinto (Costa Rica), Seco de Carne (Peru), Gazpacho–use watermelon as base instead of water!
- BEVERAGES: Morir soñando (Dominican Republic), Horchata (Mexico)
- DESSERTS: Churros, Flan, Dulce de leche, Tres leches cake
- For more recipes, check out THIS PAGE.
SPANISH & ART/SCIENCE
- Here is a sampling of the Culture Projects many classes have done this past year. Feel free to revisit the [recently updated] pages at your leisure- there is always something new to learn!
- Argentina- Southern Lights
- Argentina- Yerba Mate
- Argentina- Street Art
- Bolivia- Salt Flat
- Chile- Marble Caves
- Colombia- Finger painting & Pink Dolphins
- Different Currencies
- Ecuador- Sneezing Iguanas
- Guatemala- Sawdust Carpets (Easter)
- Guatemala- Worry Dolls
- Mexico- Chewing Gum
- Mexico- Día de Muertos
- Mexico- Radish Festival
- Nicaragua- Volcano Boarding
- Paraguay- Landfill Harmonic (Instruments)
- Peru- Nazca Lines
- Peru- Rainbow Mountain
- Peru- Amazon River
- Peru- Boiling River
- Puerto Rico- Bioluminescence
- Puerto Rico- Coquí Frog
- Spain- El Camino
- Spain- Don Quijote
SPANISH & TECH
- Work on a language-learning app consistently this summer. Make goals for yourself about how many points you want to earn, or how many levels you want to level-up, or how many days a week you will practice. Switch your device’s language to Spanish if you want to!
- Watch cartoons and movies in the target language; the brain does an incredible amount of work when it is given the opportunity to sit back, listen, and absorb. Do not downplay the importance of this when it comes to language acquisition!
SPANISH & WRITING
- Keep a Spanish journal!
- Doodle words you remember in the target language. Write the words or sentences in different colors and with different pens/ pencils/ markers/ paints/ gel pens/ etc. each day.
- Tell the weather: hace sol (it’s sunny); hace mucho calor (it’s hot); está nublado (it’s cloudy); está lloviendo (it’s raining). Temperatures in Spanish-speaking countries are often in Celsius (use an online converter to see what 98*F equals!).
SPANISH & DANCE/MUSIC
- Add a few Spanish songs to your playlists and listen to them in the car or on long road trips.
- Find a song you like from the list above and play it every day while you brush your teeth or wash your face or set the table for dinner; make the song a part of your daily routine.
- Next, create some dance choreography to go along with the song and share it with someone. Dress up, cut out tickets to “sell” for your performance, arrange seating, and remember, “Everything is sweeter when shared with a friend!” ❤
- Older students can read this amazing article for some serious language-learning motivation. Wow!
- Popular songs from this year:
- La Roja Baila
- Billy la bufanda
- Soy una pizza
- La lista (Aldrey)
- Tiburón Bebe
- Ojalá que llueva café
- Rompe Ralph (Auryn)
SPANISH & MATH
- Cut out different currencies (money from other countries), and compare and contrast. Use a currency converter to see how much it would be worth in US dollars.
- Make your own business! Decide what you will sell, and for how much (in pesos, euros, etc.). Display the items you create, build, or cook in a decorative way, so that your family will want to “buy” them.
- Make a cash box and organize all of the money by country and by amount.
- Learn to count to 20 in Spanish with this video.
- Learn to count to 100 in Spanish with this video.
SPANISH & GEOGRAPHY
- Look for names of Spanish-speaking countries on tags and labels of items around your house and at the store. Can you fill in the rest of the chart below?
- Spanish-Speaking Countries: Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico (technically a territory), Spain/España, Equatorial Guinea.
- Older students can read this Imports & Exports post to think about the journey of a product and how it got to you.
SPANISH & NATIVE SPEAKERS
- If you are a heritage or native speaker…
- READ READ READ!
- Watch movies in Spanish and add the Spanish subtitles– it can be interesting to compare the translations, which are oftentimes done in different countries. For example, you might hear, “¿Cómo estás?” but read, “¿Qué tal?“. You can even guess the country with some vocabulary and phrases.
- Keep a Spanish journal and write a paragraph or two about what you remember the most from each day.
- Make a “NO ENGLISH” rule at home with your family. Anyone who breaks the rule (intentionally or inadvertently) has to put a penny (or dollar?!) in a communal jar, or do everyone else’s chores for the next 24 hours. Make it a game!
SPANISH & SUMMER CAMPS
- Read this post about Summer Language Camps.
- Or, alternatively, turn a section of your home into a Spanish-speaking country!
- Choose a Spanish-speaking country.
- Research, print out, and hang up colored images of your country’s flag, plus famous places, animals, and foods from there. Ask to paint a tiny flag of your country on your hand or cheek!
- Label five items in your room with bilingual (Spanish & English) signs–you can use WordReference or Google Translate.
- Make it fun! Last year, we built a rainforest in Costa Rica in my classroom, complete with a jungle sounds playing on an iPad in the background. This year, we built the Alhambra fort in Spain out of cardboard we had painted red. Add music, food, different currencies, and more- see other categories for more ideas!
Spanish is more than a class; it is a journey, and I cannot emphasize this enough. While the destination–fluency–is ultimately our telos, or end goal, the journey is equally important, and we want this journey to be filled to the brim with experiences and memories, so that language has meaning embedded in the words. Because that is the point, right?!
That said, it is important to recognize that when hiking (~our language-learning metaphor), there is value in both moving and standing still: sometimes you need to keep moving–and learning–filling up your tank with new experiences and new information; other times, you need to stop, pause, and be still while the world keeps moving. And sometimes, you meant or wanted to keep hiking, but didn’t get to it. That is okay!
Sometimes life throws us curve balls. Sometimes the world seems crazy. Sometimes our plans go awry. But a friend recently reminded me that through it all, we are responsible for how we respond: we can always choose joy. Whether ‘moving or standing still’ on your metaphorical hike, focus on what you love and make joy a priority this summer. It is time for a much needed respite now, but I also can’t wait to see you again in the fall! Have fun and be well.
-Your Resident Linguist
“Siempre hace sol / cuando hablas español” (it’s always sunny when you speak Spanish).