Classroom Activities

Activity: Hispanos – Who are we? Where did we come from?

Maria J. Fierro-Treviño 

NATIONAL STANDARDS:  COMMUNICATION, CONNECTIONS, COMMUNITIES

 One of the best ways to explore Hispanic Heritage Month is to learn about the past history of Hispanic peoples in order to obtain a better understanding of who Hispanics are today.  Our Hispanic roots can be traced back centuries with roots both in the Iberian Peninsula and the Americas.  It is important to study our roots from both perspectives in order to understand who Hispanics are today.

Activity:  Students work in small groups to research information and from that research develop a PowerPoint, a collage with illustrations and written descriptions on a display board, or a pamphlet on one of the topics listed below or a topic of their choice with teacher approval.

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Featured Readings

Activity: Who’s Who in Literature, Fine Arts, and Other Fields

Maria J. Fierro-Treviño

NATIONAL STANDARDS: COMMUNICATION AND COMMUNITIES

From Spain to the Americas, Hispanics have contributed to Literature, Fine Arts, and other fields.  A great many were trailblazers in their fields.

Activity: Students work in pairs to study a famous Hispanic of their choice or one assigned by the teacher.  (See examples.)  Students research information providing personal data of the person and other pertinent information.  Students write interview questions based on their research and then present their interview to the class. One student will be the interviewer and the other student will be the famous person.  Students use note cards for their interviews.  They do not read them word for word.

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Featured Readings

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

Maria J. Fierro-Treviño

In 1968, President Lyndon Johnson declared the observation of Hispanic Heritage Week.  In 1988, President Ronald Reagan designated September 15 to October 15 as Hispanic Heritage Month.  This observation salutes the over 50 million Hispanics living in the United States. Many Hispanics still maintain their language, customs, and traditions, but it has been a struggle to do so.

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Spanish Middle School

Ghosts of Spanish Teachers Past

Christine Mosso

So there you are on Back-to-School Night being warm and enthusiastic in front of your students’ parents. You’re showing the parents that their children are in capable hands-you’re accessible, knowledgeable, and enthusiastic. In short, it’s going to be a good year in Spanish class. And then…the Ghosts of Spanish Teachers Past rear their heads. It starts with a comment like:

“I had 2 years of high school Spanish and don’t remember a thing.” Or

“I had a terrible time in Spanish class, barely passed it/flunked it.” Or

“Never saw the use of taking 2 years of Spanish.”

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Featured Readings

Confessions of a Grammar Nerd

Anne Smieszny Silva

I have a confession to make. I am a grammar nerd. I love grammar. I always have, and always will.

Now, before you get all aflutter or vote me off the island or anything, let me explain. It’s somewhat unpopular to be fond of participles nowadays. Even the word “grammar” is passé; we prefer to speak in euphemisms like “forms” or “structures.” The grammar movement seems to have passed out of fashion around the turn of the century, or at least when Latin was the “world language” in vogue. Those teachers who are passionate about “Communication” (as though it could happen without grammar) seem to scorn the affinity for grammar like the head cheerleader scorns the chess club in a bad teen movie. And like that chess club, some of us grammar geeks have felt the peer pressure to fit in, leave grammatical explanations aside, embrace the catch phrases of language pedagogy as though we truly ascribed to them and only them. “Cool! Rad! Spiffy!” we say. But we don’t really mean it.

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Featured Readings

Nuestro Blog es Bilingüe

Desde el lanzamiento de nuestro blog, son numerosos los comentarios y sugerencias que hemos recibido. Nuestro objetivo es hacer de este espacio un lugar interactivo, y, por tanto, queremos agradecer a todos los que se han dirigido a nosotros con sus opiniones e ideas.

Varios maestros nos han preguntado el motivo por el cual este blog está escrito en inglés... ¡buena pregunta!

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Spanish High School

Teaching and Learning: Language and Culture

Janet Glass Dwight Englewood School, Englewood, New Jersey

Rutgers University

Alfred Nobel’s Peace Prize wished to reward, “the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations.” What could be more critical today? As teachers of world languages, our medium is language but our message is one of cultural ambassador. Besides, what is more intriguing to a student than to learn how to make a new friend from another culture, to enter another world? This motivation is what stimulates our students’ curiosity and helps them master the language. But once hooked, how can we make the most of their interest?

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Spanish Elementary School

The Importance of Embedding Culture into the Teaching of Foreign Languages

 Dr. Peter B.  Swanson

Georgia State University

For years it has been noted that language teaching and learning are social processes and that the teaching of language is the teaching of culture. Thanasoulas (2001) suggests that culture and communication are inseparable because “culture not only dictates who talks to whom, about what, and how the communication proceeds, it also helps to determine how people encode messages, the meanings they have for messages, and the conditions and circumstances under which various messages may or may not be sent, noticed, or interpreted.”

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Professional Development

The Spanish Language of the United States

Gerardo Piña-Rosales, The North American Academy of Spanish Language

First of all, dear reader, let us focus on the title of this essay: "The Spanish Language of the United States" instead of "The Spanish Language in the United States." The difference between these two propositions is an essential one: it implies that we have begun to speak of a United Stated Spanish with its own characteristics, as one more of the multiple variants of the Spanish language spoken around the world.

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