Teaching about La Tomatina in Spanish Class

La Tomatina is held on on the last Wednesday of August in Buñol, Spain.  The origin of the largest food fight in the world is unclear.  The theories of how it began in 1945 include a food fight among friends that escalated, an angry man who fell off of a parade float picked a fight with the crowd and they defended themselves with tomatoes, or an overturned tomato truck which turned into a food fight.  Regardless of how it began, the people of Buñol enjoyed it so much that it became a yearly tradition called the Tomatina Festival.

The Tomatina begins with people attempting to climb a greased wooden pole with a ham on top.  When someone reaches the ham, the event begins.  Trucks full of tomatoes roll into the small town and the tomato throwing gets underway.  Did you know there are rules for the Tomatina?

There are lots of great photographs and video clips of the Tomatina.  I compiled the the background information, photos, and video clips for students in a Tomatina PowerPoint Presentation with English and Spanish versions.  I also created an infographic template for students to take notes or research the Tomatina.

I'm not sure I'll ever be brave enough to take part in the Tomatina, but it is definitely fascinating to see others having so much fun getting pelted by and covered in tomatoes!  I hope your students will love learning about the Tomatina!  

A $100 Giveaway in Appreciation of Our Fabulous Followers

Spanish teachers on TpT have teamed up to offer you a fun & fabulous giveaway as our way of saying THANK YOU to our followers!

You have the chance to win one of 2 thank you prizes for our followers: 

- $100 TpT gift card
- $20 TpT gift card

What to do:
1. Visit MY STORE to start hopping! ~ We love followers!

2. Write down the secret letter hidden in the green banner of my store.

3. CLICK on the green banner of each store to hop to the next store. Collect the secret letter hidden in each banner.

4. Unscramble the 12 letters to reveal the secret message.

5. Head back to my blog and enter the secret message into the giveaway!

The giveaway starts on Tuesday, 5/3 and ends on Thursday, 5/5!

Here’s what you’re looking for in my store:

Once you have all of the letters, unscramble them to reveal the secret message! Come back and enter the secret message in the giveaway widget here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The following fun & fabulous Spanish sellers are participating in the blog hop! You can also visit each store by clicking on the link of their store below!  

  • La Profesora Frida
  • Spanish Sundries
  • La Profe Plotts
  • Spanish Plans
  • Miss Senorita
  • Sol Azucar
  • Sra Cruz
  • Island Teacher
  • Spanish Mama
  • Angie Torre
  • The World Language Cafe
  • Spanish Nobility

  • Hello from the Windy City!

    It has been AGES since my last blog post!  Things have been hectic at Casa Cruz!  Right before Christmas my husband was offered his dream job in Chicago!  The last few months have been a whirlwind of preparations, packing, house hunting, moving, unpacking, registering my oldest son for kindergarten, and getting settled into our new home and city.  We will miss all of our friends in Tennessee, but we are so excited about our new adventures to come in the suburbs of Chicago.  It's been almost 2 months since the big move so I'm hoping to get back into the blogging and TPT groove soon!  Thank you for your patience, support, and encouragement!


    Fall and Winter Blog Hop

    I'm so excited to be able to join some of my Spanish teacher friends for a fall and winter-themed blog hop and sale.  There are lots of giveaways too so be sure to read all the way to the end!

    The holidays are absolutely my most favorite time of year!  I love the colors, the food, decorations, crafts, and all of the family activities.  Pinterest is my go-to resources for all things holiday, not just for my home life, but for teaching ideas too!  Check out my Día de los Muertos, El Otoño, Día de Acción de Gracias, and Navidad y Año Nuevo Pinterest boards for videos, crafts, recipes, poems, infographics, and other resources for each of these holidays and seasons!

    November 1-4 I will have the following resources on sale!  

    If you still need activities for Día de los Muertos this week, you are in luck!  This bundle has a PowerPoint, mini book, color by number pages, bulletin, board, banner, and mini ofrenda.  You can read more about my other Día de los Muertos ideas {here}.

    Fall Interactive Notebook Activities
    I'm also putting my Fall Interactive Notebook Activities on sale.  This has 14 activities related to Halloween, fall, and Thanksgiving.

    Cultura Diaria
    Cultura Diaria is my most popular resource!  I wrote about how I came up with the idea and how it evolved {here}.  It has a Hispanic culture fact for each day of the school year.  It works great as a class starter to incorporate more culture into your class.

    Spanish I Review Flip Book
    This Spanish I flip book will also be on sale November 1-4.  It has a review of most of the present tense grammar that students would learn in Spanish I.  It can be used to review at the beginning of Spanish II, end of Spanish I or to add to it as students learn each topic.

    You can click the image below to find all of resources that are on sale Nov 1-4, or you can search #fallwinterspanishsale on Teachers Pay Teachers.

    To celebrate all things fall and winter, I'm giving away a $25 Teachers Pay Teachers Gift Card!  You can get up to 5 entries to win!  The giveaway will end November 4th and the winner will be selected at random by Rafflecopter.  Best of luck to you!
    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Congratulations to Jennifer Babbitt for winning the TPT gift card!  Thanks to everyone who entered!

    Click below to find other Spanish teachers' blogs for more tips, ideas, resources on sale, and giveaways.

    I hope you have a great fall and holiday season!

    5 Ideas for Día de los Muertos

    When I wrote about Hispanic Heritage Month, I said that it can be overwhelming because it lasts an entire month.  Well Día de los Muertos can also be overwhelming because it's only two days and there are so many ideas!  I'm going to try to help you narrow down the options with 5 great ideas to teach and celebrate Día de los Muertos in Spanish class.

    1.  Decorate
    This is one that you can definitely do ahead of time.  Decorating your classroom for Día de los Muertos a week or two ahead of time can pique your students' interests about what's to come.  Plus, the colors and symbols of Día de los Muertos are all so beautiful, I want to have them up for as long as I can!

    It seems like there's Day of the Dead stuff everywhere this year!  I've seen decorations, costumes, and goodies at Walmart, Target, Walgreens, CVS, and Party City.  You can also use my fun banner or bulletin board for inexpensive and educational décor.

    2.  Introduce Día de los Muertos
    So before we can do any of the crafting or creating, students have to know what Día de los Muertos is all about.  I like to introduce this holiday with a colorful PowerPoint presentation that shows some of the important facts and symbols of Día de los Muertos plus some gorgeous photographs that show the beauty of this celebration.  Here's a sped up version of the PowerPoint for you to preview:

    I also created this tabbed mini book to accompany the PowerPoint.  Students can fill in the important facts and symbols of Día de los Muertos while viewing the PowerPoint.

    Students can summarize what they learn about Día de los Muertos with this fun calavera writing template:

    3.  Make an Ofrenda
    I think one of the best ways for students to demonstrate the true meaning of Día de los Muertos is to create an ofrenda.  I like to give students the choice of making an ofrenda for someone they knew, a pet, or they can choose a celebrity or fictional character from a movie or book if they'd like.

    Making a large ofrenda can be time-consuming and expensive.  In the past I have given students the option to make a shoe box sized ofrenda.  This keeps the scale and cost lower.  Here's an example of a shoe box ofrenda that I created for my sweet Chihuahua who passed away two years ago.  

    You can tell students to include a photo of the person and things, foods, and drinks that they liked.  They should also include some of the symbols of Día de los Muertos such as calaveras, marigolds, papel picado, etc.  Here's a labeled version of my shoe box ofrenda for GiGi:

    If you'd rather not have to spend the time or money creating at 3D ofrenda, you can have students make a mini ofrenda.  These are great because they capture the same significance of the ofrenda but without the expense, time, and sometimes mess of a larger ofrenda.  Another great thing about the mini ofrendas is that they give students the chance to use Spanish (or they can be completed in English for beginner classes).  For the mini ofrenda, students write the person's name at the top of the template using papel picado.  They attach a photo in the picture frame and then write the person's birth and death dates or age in the candle.  In the marigolds, they write nouns and adjectives to describe them.  In the monarch butterfly, they write things that the person liked.  They write and illustrate the person's favorite foods and drinks in the pan de muerto.  These would represent the personal items that you would normally include in a 3D ofrenda.  You can choose to have students present their ofrenda and they make a great display on a bulletin board, in the hallway, or around the classroom.  These two examples are for my dog GiGi again and for Augustus Waters from the novel and movie The Fault in Our Stars.  You can find the template, directions, and examples for the mini ofrenda here


    4.  Make Paper Marigold Flowers

    Making paper marigolds is an easy craft for Día de los Muertos.  I like to use orange and yellow paper, but any color makes a fun decoration for ofrendas, displays, or just to brighten your classroom.  There are lots of methods and tutorials on Pinterest and YouTube, but I chose this method and it was super easy:

    5.  Name Skeletons
    These name skeletons are another fun craft to make for Día de los Muertos. 

    Now in case you don't see the name part, here's a sideways picture to help. 

    Do you see it?  The skeleton body spells out Sra. Cruz!  Here's how I made it:
    -Fold a sheet of paper lengthwise.
    -Use a yellow marker to write your name in cursive in thick letters.   The bottom of the letters should touch the fold.
    -Cut out the outsides of the letters and the insides of the letters like I did with the S, a, z. 
    -At the fold, cut enough of the bottom part of the letters so that you can make out the letters but don't cut too much so that the two halves separate.  
    -Open the paper to reveal your name skeleton torso!
    -You can use the scraps to cut out legs, arms, etc.
    -For the head, you can have students make their own calavera skull and decorate it to fit their personality.  You can also give them a template to use. 
    -Glue all of the parts together and that's it!

    More Ideas
    I've pinned lots of other ideas, crafts, videos, photos, recipes, and other Día de los Muertos resources on Pinterest. Check out my Día de los Muertos board here.

    I'd love to see how your shoe box ofrendas, mini ofrendas, bulletin boards, name skeletons, paper flowers, etc. turn out!  You can email me or share on instagram.  Make sure you tag me or comment that you posted so I can be sure to see it!  I hope you and your students have a fun Día de los Muertos!

    Using Memes for Verb Tenses

    I've talked before about my love for all things memes!  I have a ton of them saved on my Jajaja and Teacher Memes boards on Pinterest.  I decided to organize them by verb tenses and themes so that I can easily find the memes I need for specific verb tenses.  These are fun to use as warmups, conversation starters, on your notes or PowerPoints, or on quizzes and tests to give students a little giggle.  Click on each image below to find the corresponding Pinterest board.  I will be adding more as I find more memes for each tense.

    I hope you enjoy these memes!  You can find all of my Pinterest boards by clicking the image below.