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Celebrating Cinco de Mayo through Spanish Language Learning

Cinco de Mayo is a lively celebration of Mexican heritage and pride. Though it’s not Mexico’s Independence Day, the reason we celebrate May 5th is just as inspiring and can be a valuable opportunity for educators to promote Spanish language appreciation and cultural understanding. So, let’s celebrate Cinco de Mayo in the classroom with engaging language activities and delicious cuisine experiences. ¡Viva la lengua! and ¡Viva la diversidad!


Authentic Language Exchanges

If possible, invite a native speaker or speakers from the community or school to visit your classroom. Before the visit, prepare students with how to politely greet and ask a few basic questions to get to know someone. The native speaker could also teach the class some new vocabulary having to do with celebrations, and if they are of Mexican heritage, the vocab lesson could deal with words relating to Cinco de Mayo.


La Lotería

La Lotería, a traditional Mexican board game, is like bingo, but it’s played with a deck of cards instead of numbered balls. There are fifty-four cards, each with a different picture (for example, a tree, mermaid, rooster, etc.). You can either play with the traditional images or make your own cards picturing vocabulary the class is learning or about Cinco de Mayo. For higher level classes, instead of simply calling out the word (el árbol), use circumlocution to describe it.


A Taste of Puebla

Puebla, the site of the famous Battle of Puebla that we commemorate during Cinco de Mayo, is also the origin of the best-known molemole poblano. Preparing and enjoying mole poblano is usually reserved for big celebrations such as birthdays or anniversaries, which is why it’s a perfect dish to share with students on Cinco de Mayo. Premade versions are available in grocery stores if making it from scratch is too time consuming.


Prepare Pico de Gallo

Participating in hands-on cooking demonstrations encourages students to actively use and retain vocabulary while working together to prepare something scrumptious! Pico de gallo is a simple, yet flavorful Mexican salsa that students could prepare in class in small groups. Once students have all the ingredients and utensils ready, give them easy commands in Spanish to help them make the salsa. After the preparation is complete, enjoy the delicious results with some totopos de maíz!


By Kelli Drummer-Avendano


Also read:
8 Classroom Activities to Celebrate



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