Wednesday, November 27, 2013

No prep Thanksgiving activities for Spanish class

The day before Thanksgiving vacation the students have one goal in mind: get through the day so they can start their vacation. I know this because I've heard it from several students in my homeroom group and other classes.

The regular plans may need to be put on hold, but that doesn't mean you have to turn to simple games like Bingo. Another popular activity is for students to write things they are thankful on turkeys' feathers. They have the cuteness factor, but I suggest you make it more meaningful by increasing the comprehensible input and increase class discussion as Sra. Yedinak explains HERE.

I had several activities ready to go that took no or minimal planning but were in the target language and required student engagement.

1.  Estoy agradecido porStudents moved their chairs into a circle. I wrote the following on the board: Estoy agradecido por...,  Estoy agradecida por..., está agradecido/a por...
I randomly pulled a student's name from index cards (or use a random name generator) and that student moved into the chair designated as #1. The student originally seated there moved into the seat of the students that was called. The student in chair #1 had to say for what they were thankful. (i.e. Estoy agradecida por mis hermanas.) Then I pulled a second name and that student moved into the seat next to the first student and said for what the first person was thankful and then added for what they were thankful.  We continued this for 15 students.

Even if there are more than 15 students in the class, going through this 15 times is plenty. My rule was that any student that had already said for what they were thankful decided to chat with another student, they had to move to the end of the line and repeat what each person had said.  There was a united sigh from the remaining students when after the 15th person's name was called.

To end the activity, the students wrote 5 sentences about what 5 of their classmates had said and for sentence #6, they wrote for what they were thankful.  I kept the notes on the board as they wrote. I didn't want it to be a tricky exercise, but rather one in which they heard "Estoy/está agradecido/a por" over 100 times.  This worked well and I didn't have to quiet the students even one time!

2. Infografía: El pavo, sabor y nutrición para Fin de Año. This infograph is not made specifically for Thanksgiving, but it still works for Thanksgiving.  I used this with my Spanish 4 class for a short activity.  I projected the infograph on the board and simply asked them to tell me information in English from the infograph.  As they called out information, I used a marker to put a check on that information.
I find this the evening before the class, and I can't remember if I saw it on someone's blog or if I saw it on Pinterest.  The link to the infografía is HERE

3. Another short activity on vocabulary related to Thanksgiving is on Quia.  Just google "Quia - Día de acción de gracias", and you'll find several shared activities or click HERE to choose matching, concentration, or 2 other choices. I did the matching only but if I had had the ipads in my class, I may have considered having them pair up to play a round of concentration.

It would have been easy to include the Thanskgiving theme into a story, but the students appreciated the change of pace. I saved enough time in our 70 minute block to read another chapter in our leveled reader. 

UPDATE: Two days after I posted this I found this post by Señora Pelirroja (@SraPelirroja) on her blog Classroom Creativities.  It DOES take prep time but it is a cute idea.  If I had seen this at the beginning of November, I would have planned for my students to do this activity before I went to ACTFL so other students could appreciate it for a few weeks.


  1. Thanks for taking the time to update your post with a link to my blog. :) I like your idea about having students share what they were thankful for. You're right, that's a TON of repetition for them in a meaningful activity! Maybe next year...

  2. Really useful Hitz! We want learn spanish and we keep doing it slowly, thanks for these advices