Bullfighting and A Bug.

Yesterday, I subbed for Library class, but got the times mixed up–and consequently, first graders were only able to hear the beginning of a story after checking out books. As I am a huge proponent of reading, I felt it my duty to take some class time today to finish the story, especially as it is pertinent to the Spanish curriculum.

We read The Story of Ferdinand, which takes place in Spain. It is about a very sweet bull/toro named Ferdinand who loves to smell the flowers in the field and has no interest in bullfights. However, the ONE day a group of men come to choose the fiercest bull among the group, Ferdinand sits on a bee, which stings him and, naturally, because of the pain, he goes into a rage.

If you do not know the story, here is a link to a read aloud. I read the book to one class, but there was a boy in the other class who had practically memorized the book (at home), so he read it to us, which was lovely!

Because children are only in first grade and it is a controversial topic, they were only exposed to the following information:

  • bulls are very large animals;
  • they run in the streets to the bullfighting arena;
  • the police set up two layers of VERY heavy duty, wooden fences to keep observers safe;
  • this takes place in Spain.**

**NOTE: I explained that there is a festival for this each July in Spain (Sanfermines) and there are a lot of people around; but that real people–and bulls–can be badly injured or killed was not mentioned. Students were more invested in pretending to be toros/bulls, anyway.

That said, if you would like to continue this discussion at home, please feel free to watch Ferdinand the movie, or check out THIS PAGE for more information. Tomorrow we will watch this one-minute video (below) about the Paso Doble dance together.

With the aforementioned information, students transformed the Spanish Cave into the streets of Pamplona and a bullfighting ring arena. I also showed the class a picture of the fancy outfit the matador wears, and they took turns pretending to be bulls and shouting, “¡Olé!” (“oh-LAY”), which has a neat history if you like learning about words like me. And yes, I’m going to share the etymology with you. Just because!

“[…] There existed an ancient tradition among many Moors to have great celebrations that included dancing. When a dancer performed at the highest levels of grace and intensity, for that moment, they were believed to be vessels through which Allah was acting, and the moment allowed the witnesses to see a glimpse of Allah’s power through the artist.

So, it was customary for the Moors of Northern Africa centuries ago to exclaim Allah! when a dancer was performing in such an inspired and moving way.”


Spanish and Arabic have a rich linguistic history, so “Allah!” naturally morphed to ¡Olé!” but…

“Somewhere along the course of its long history in Spain, the word Olé lost its connection to Allah, and became a common Spanish exclamation for any situation where human physicality inspires people to cheer, whether it’s a fútbol match, a bullfight, or a Flamenco performance.

In Flamenco, which shares perhaps the most intimate connection to the word’s origin, Olé is not reserved for marking transcendent moments (though it can), it’s really meant to give the dancer energy and encouragement.

No three letter word could capture as much Spanish history as Olé.”


I didn’t go into the history of ¡Olé! with first graders, but thought you might find it interesting nevertheless. Anyway, it was an exciting day!

The Bug.

PART II: Students also heard a quick anedcote about one of our new vocabulary words, confundido(a)/ confused, which is #AbsolutelyTrue and happened yesterday.

In second grade, I was talking with students when all of a sudden, my Google slides started switching and changing, even though I was a good distance away from the touch screen board. Tabs started popping up, as if someone was controlling it remotely.

This was obviously frightening to an educator with young students in the room–what is happening?! what is going to pop up on the screen?–but suddenly someone said, “Look! There’s a bug!” The bug had landed on the board and by ‘hopping around’, was activating the touch screen. The bug even opened up a new tab and played a song from YouTube. Oh my goodness! It was hilarious!

I was very confundida/confused initially, but thankfully, it all worked out and had a good ending.

So anyway, bullfighting and bugs. That’s what you get today!