Culture Projects

“Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!” -Dr. Seuss

Chile- Futaleufú

CHILE: Futaleufú, Chile (in Patagonia) is perhaps most famous for its extreme water rafting. While this looks like the adventure of a lifetime, there are also plenty of other activities available for visitors there, should … Continue reading Chile- Futaleufú

Chile- Skyscraper

CHILE: In Santiago, Chile, stands the tallest skyscraper in all of South America. It is called La Torre Costanera.

Uruguay- Punta del Este

LINKS: Wondermondo (Uruguay), Hotel Art Casapueblo (Uruguay), Casapueblo Video (Uruguay), La Mano de Punta del Este (Uruguay) Image Credit Image Source

Paraguay- Ñandutí Lace

PARAGUAY: “Ñandutí, (Guaraní Indian: “spider web”), type of lace introduced into Paraguay by the Spaniards. It is generally characterized by a spoke-like structure of foundation threads upon which many basic patterns are embroidered. This structure, resembling a … Continue reading Paraguay- Ñandutí Lace

Chile- Atacama Desert

CHILE: Atacama- Article (Chile), Atacama- Video (Chile), Why To Explore Atacama Desert At Night, Mysteries of Atacama Desert, Lithium Mine Fields of Atacama Desert

Mexico- Chocolate

MEXICO: After taking time to learn about molinillos, or the [beautiful!] wooden tools used to stir chocolate in Mexico (see video below), students practiced a hand clapping rhyme about cho-co-la-te. Younger students learn another well-known … Continue reading Mexico- Chocolate

El Fútbol (Soccer)

SOUTH & CENTRAL AMERICA: Fútbol is an important part of the culture in many Spanish-speaking countries. During the 2014 World Cup, I happened to be in Buenos Aires–and the city exploded with enthusiasm after advancing … Continue reading El Fútbol (Soccer)

Dancing!

Dance is a very important part of the culture in many Spanish-speaking countries–from the Tango in Argentina and the Flamenco in Spain to the Merengue and Salsa in the Caribbean, dance brings everyone together. Virtual … Continue reading Dancing!

Different Currencies

No matter the age, most students seem to love looking at different currencies from around the [Spanish-speaking] world. One day, my kindergarteners spent an entire class cutting out euros and pesos; I couldn’t get them … Continue reading Different Currencies

Peru- Nazca Lines

PERU: The Nazca Lines are a group of ancient geoglyphs in Peru. They are made out of naturally occurring elements, like rocks, stones, or earth. These trenches–running in all different directions in this part of … Continue reading Peru- Nazca Lines

Colombia- Emeralds

COLOMBIA & BEYOND: Last year, second graders became very excited about minerals and gems. As a result, we spent time learning which minerals come from South and Central America, and then painted rocks to create … Continue reading Colombia- Emeralds

Puerto Rico- Güiro

In class, PK students made miniature güiros by coloring a notecard, and then gluing Popsicle sticks on top of it; to experience a similar sound, they brushed against the latter with another Popsicle stick. It … Continue reading Puerto Rico- Güiro

Bolivia- Salt Flat

BOLIVIA: Salar de Uyuni is the largest salt flat formation in the world. It is almost 11,000 square kilometers in area, with 10 billion tonnes of salt. During the rainy season, a light coat of water creates … Continue reading Bolivia- Salt Flat

Cuba- Holidays

CUBA: For New Year’s, many Cubans mop their houses from top to bottom, and fill up a bucket with the dirty water. Next, they dump this water in the street, as a symbolic gesture to … Continue reading Cuba- Holidays

Colombia- Biblioburro

COLOMBIA: LINKS: Biblioburro- The Donkey Library (YT); Biblioburro, Read-Aloud

Argentina- Yerba Mate

ARGENTINA: Yerba Mate Tea (“MAH-tay”) is the ‘friendship drink’ of South America, especially Argentina, Uruguay, Bolivia, and Paraguay. You drink the tea out of a gourd, and keep refilling it with hot water all day … Continue reading Argentina- Yerba Mate

Mexico- Hammocks

MEXICO: The Yucatan in Mexico is known for its hammock culture, especially amongst the indigenous Maya people. Here, 2/3 of children sleep in hammocks instead of beds, and there are even hammocks in hospitals! In … Continue reading Mexico- Hammocks

Spain- Tapas

SPAIN: An exciting part of traveling is getting to see and try different types of foods. What is “normal” to you is “strange” to others, and vice-versa. In Spain, tapas—also called pinchos when pierced with toothpicks—are found in … Continue reading Spain- Tapas

Spain- La Alhambra

SPAIN: La Alhambra is a famous fort/palace with beautiful gardens in southern Spain. Many students enjoy trying to build this fort during class time out of cardboard, so why not make one at home? Build … Continue reading Spain- La Alhambra

Mexico- Chewing Gum

MEXICO: Making natural chewing gum is a fascinating, time-consuming, and dangerous job that dates back to the Mayas in the Yucatan. Chicleros climb high up to slash zig-zag patterns in the sapodilla trees with a … Continue reading Mexico- Chewing Gum

Panama- Mola

PANAMA: The Kuna Indians of the San Blas Islands off of Panama are famous for a specific type of art, called mola. Mola means ‘blouse’ (or clothing) in the Kuna language. While women used to … Continue reading Panama- Mola

Spain- Joan Miró

SPAIN: Artwork by Joan Miró and a watercolor copy by a student. Look at THIS VIDEO PAINTING and THIS VIDEO PAINTING to understand what he sees. “For me an object is something living. This cigarette or this box of … Continue reading Spain- Joan Miró

Cuba- Cuban Cars

CUBA: Cuban cars: the who, what, when, where, and why in the video! “Why Cuba’s Streets Are Filled With Classic Cars“.

Venezuela- Lightning

VENEZUELA: Catatumbo Lightning is a naturally occurring phenomenon in Venezuela. Here, lightning strikes continuously above Lake Maracaibo for 140-160 nights per year (some sources say up to 300) for 10-12 hours straight each night. This … Continue reading Venezuela- Lightning

Spain- El Prado

SPAIN: El Prado in Madrid, Spain is one of the most famous museums in the world, housing over 27,000 objects and artworks. In fact, it was the Google Doodle just this week, which celebrated the … Continue reading Spain- El Prado

Spain- Bullfighting

SPAIN: Pamplona, Spain is perhaps most famous for its celebration of San Fermín and the annual Running of the Bulls. This tradition, although a huge part of Spanish culture, is highly controversial. To learn more, … Continue reading Spain- Bullfighting

Mexico- Alebrijes

MEXICO: Alebrijes are mythical-type creatures and spirit animals. You may remember the alebrije Dante if you have seen the movie Coco. The origin of this art had an interesting beginning (read below). Fifth graders created … Continue reading Mexico- Alebrijes

Spain- El Camino

*Update: For photos of my Camino adventures, visit THIS PAGE. For more info about the pilgrimage, see HERE. SPAIN: The Camino de Santiago is a 500-mile hike across northern Spain. It takes about 30 days to … Continue reading Spain- El Camino

Chile- Marble Caves

CHILE: Chile’s Marble Caves are a truly beautiful natural wonder. Students mixed teal and green paints to capture different shades, and later added true-to-life purples and yellows to their paintings to accent the vibrant backdrop. … Continue reading Chile- Marble Caves

Peru- Rainbow Mountain

PERU: Rainbow Mountain, or Vinicunca in Quechua, has a unique composition–14 different, colorful minerals–that makes the mountain range appear like the inside of a jawbreaker. For more information on Rainbow Mountain, visit this link. Here are … Continue reading Peru- Rainbow Mountain

Peru- Machu Picchu

LINKS: Machu Picchu – Llama (Peru), Machu Picchu (Peru), Ascenso a Waynapicchu, Video (Peru), Cusco Video (Peru), Explore Macchu Pichu in Virtual Reality

Spain- Don Quijote

SPAIN: Don Quijote de La Mancha is a world-renowned, 900-page novel from Spain, written by Miguel de Cervantes way back in the 1600’s. Centuries later, Picasso made a sketch (see below) of the two main … Continue reading Spain- Don Quijote

Spain- La Tomatina

Image Credit SPAIN: La Tomatina is a famous tomato-throwing fight that takes place every August in Spain. Tens of thousands of visitors flock to the city of Buñol to participate. While some say that it … Continue reading Spain- La Tomatina

Mexico- Amate Paper

MEXICO: This is amate bark paper from Mexico. The Kid World Citizen blog has an article about amate paper and a great project how-to. Read below for a quick history of the art. LINKS: Amate Paintings (Mexico)