One of the joys of learning a language is getting to use new vocabulary with family and friends during different seasons and holidays. Get your students excited for fall and Thanksgiving by incorporating these fifteen vocab words and phrases into your Spanish classroom.
- El otoño
We often call this time of year “fall” because of the falling leaves, but reminding students that “autumn” is another word for the season may help them connect it with the Spanish word otoño.
- Hace fresco
This phrase describes weather in many parts of the Northern Hemisphere from September through November. It’s not quite cold, but it certainly feels chilly or brisk. Tell students to remember that the temperature of the fall is “refreshing” after the heat of the summer.
- La fogata/La hoguera
Stretch your students’ vocabulary by adding on to their knowledge of common words. For example, students probably know that fuego means fire, but you can encourage them to be more precise in their descriptions by teaching them la fogata and la hoguera.
- La calabaza
During this time of year, a plethora of food and drinks boast of having a pumpkin flavor, so this is an important word to know. Additionally, there are the many activities students can participate in that revolve around pumpkins and pumpkin farms.
- Pasear en el carrito de heno
One of the entertaining events that take place at a pumpkin farm is going on a hayride. Students can practice using this phrase when asking classmates if they go on hayrides by using the tú form of pasear and answering using the yo form.
- Las hojas
A beautiful part of the fall landscape is the changing leaves. Teach your students to remember this word by telling them that the colorful hojas are what their ojos can’t miss this season.
- La bellota
The squirrels are busy getting ready for winter during this time of year—and what are they quickly burying all over our yards? Acorns! And while the word bellota isn’t a cognate for acorn, remind students that acorns are shaped somewhat like bells.
- El espantapájaros
What I love about this word, besides how fun it is say, is how close to it is to the literal translation of the English word “scarecrow.” Students might already know that pájaro means bird, which should clue them into the meaning, given that the theme is fall.
- El maíz
Corn is another quintessential product of the season. It’s also easy for students to recall if they can connect that “maize” in English is just another word for corn.
- La cidra de manzana
Along with hot chocolate, hot apple cider is a favorite beverage for the chilly fall weather. Be sure to point out to students that cidra is a cognate for cider.
- El Día de Acción de Gracias
Thanksgiving is the big celebration during the fall season. To help students remember the name of the holiday in Spanish, remind them that the “action” of the day is one of thanks.
- Doy gracias por…
Teaching students to say, “I’m thankful for,” is essential during Thanksgiving celebrations. It also allows them to practice vocabulary they’ve already learned when they make a gratitude list, like mi familia, mis amigos, mi casa,etc.
- El pavo relleno
The symbol of Thanksgiving dinner is the delicious stuffed turkey placed in middle of the table, surrounded by all the sumptuous sides. You can provide students with a few key adjectives they might need to describe the main course: delicioso, jugoso, and exquisito.
- El pastel (de manzana, de pecana, de batata, de calabaza)
Once students know the word for “pie,” they can add to it to say what their favorite pie is or what kind they don’t like. This is also a good opportunity to highlight the importance of de when describing what something is made of.
- Estoy lleno/a
What better way to end a lesson on Thanksgiving than with the phrase, “I’m full!” Teaching students the phrase estoy lleno or llena gives you the opportunity to review the use of estar with temporary states and the concept of noun-adjective agreement.
By Kelli Drummer-Avendano