The curriculum in my spring semester worked beautifully in that el Cinco de mayo happened in the midst of our cultural emphasis on Mexico. I read the activities from The Creative Language Classroom and adjusted their suggestion for using hashtags with photos of Mexico. They have a few photos of Mexico on their website, but I searched for other photos and put them on a regular word document. I searched for traditional photos (Mariachi groups, el día de los muertos, los mercados, etc) and added others photos to help show the diversity of Mexico such as snow (yes, they have it in northern Mexico at times), los clavadistas, Lucha Libre, ensalada de nopales, and others.
The students worked in pairs to write a comment using a hashtag to describe the photo or simply react to the photo on the mini white boards. For the first few photos many of the students had basic comments, but eventually they let their imaginations go and became very creative with their responses. Once that happens, you can count on the competitive nature of some students and the desire to outdo the others, and then... the answers become even more creative.
We started this activity after 1/3 of the class left for an early dismissal for a track meet. It kept everyone engaged and they enjoyed it.
When I ran out of photos of Mexico on the document, I started searching in my files for photos that I use for a different activity in Spanish 4. While I was searching, one student took advantage of the break and told the others that they had 1 minute to draw something that he described on their whiteboards. (I continued searching on my computer.) After a minute, he told them to hold up their boards and to describe their sketches and THEN...he proceeded to ask them questions, in Spanish, about their sketches to which he insisted they respond in Spanish. WHAT? Did that really happen? Yes, it did. I paused from searching for my file and took in the moment, enjoying how the students were taking ownership of the class activity and cooperating with the student that suggested the activity. What a perfect way to end the school day.