Adding Culture to Your Spanish Class

Teaching Culture with Cultura Diaria:  Daily Culture Facts for Each Day of Spanish Class

Are you looking for ways to add culture to your Spanish class?   Are you passionate about Hispanic culture and want to share that passion with your students?  Do you value the importance of teaching culture but are unsure of how to "fit" it into your already-packed curriculum?  Let me tell you about how I was able to accomplish adding more meaningful culture to my Spanish classes.

I was in this dilemma about 8 years ago.  I was passionate about all things culture-related and struggled with how to share everything I love about Hispanic culture with my students while also teaching vocabulary, practicing grammar, and working on understanding and communicating in the target language.

I came up with the idea to teach a culture fact each day of the school year.  I made a list of countries, holidays, celebrations, and other topics I wanted to cover.  Every Friday during my planning period, I would look up 5 interesting facts for each topic to teach for the following week and I would find a couple of relevant photos or short video clips.  I learned so many interesting things from my research!  I ended up with a Word document with facts and another Word document of photos that looked like this:
Teaching Culture with Cultura Diaria:  Daily Culture Facts for Each Day of Spanish ClassTeaching Culture with Cultura Diaria:  Daily Culture Facts for Each Day of Spanish Class

I had a small white board in my class where I would write the Cultura Diaria each day.  Students would come into class and start copying the Cultura Diaria while I checked attendance and handled any other housekeeping tasks.  Because it was on the board when they entered the classroom, they knew exactly what to do and I didn't have to spend time trying to settle them down to start class.  We would have a brief (1-2 minute) discussion where I would show them the photos I had printed and/or show a quick video clip.  For example, one of the facts for Argentina is "The modern-day tango orginated and was popularized in Argentina" so I would show a quick video clip of 2 people dancing the tango.

Students wrote their Cultura Diaria in a separate section of their notebook.  To keep them accountable for copying the Cultura Diaria each day, I would give them a quarterly open-note quiz over the Cultura Diaria.  If they had copied them all, it was an easy 100 for them.

My Cultura Diaria evolved when I finally got a classroom with an LCD projector!  Instead of having to hand-write the daily fact on the whiteboard, I made a PowerPoint presentation.  Since making 170 slides is a big task, once again I broke it up and on Fridays created my 5 slides for the next week. This is what they looked like:

Teaching Culture with Cultura Diaria:  Daily Culture Facts for Each Day of Spanish ClassTeaching Culture with Cultura Diaria:  Daily Culture Facts for Each Day of Spanish Class

These were easier to read and once the presentation was done, I was able to use it for the following years without any additional work!  

Recently, I came up with another idea to make the Cultura Diaria even more meaningful and useful. I decided to add relevant photos to the backgrounds of each slide.  It was a long process of using my own photographs, finding and buying other images, and changing all of the fonts so that they were easy to read on the slide.  It was a lot of work, but I think they turned out great:

Teaching Culture with Cultura Diaria:  Daily Culture Facts for Each Day of Spanish ClassTeaching Culture with Cultura Diaria:  Daily Culture Facts for Each Day of Spanish Class

Teaching Culture with Cultura Diaria:  Daily Culture Facts for Each Day of Spanish ClassTeaching Culture with Cultura Diaria:  Daily Culture Facts for Each Day of Spanish Class

Teaching Culture with Cultura Diaria:  Daily Culture Facts for Each Day of Spanish ClassTeaching Culture with Cultura Diaria:  Daily Culture Facts for Each Day of Spanish Class

Because this Cultura Diaria is something I'm so proud of and something that I believe to be effective for teaching culture and for classroom management, I decided to offer it in my Teachers Pay Teachers store so that other teachers and students can benefit from it as well.  It is now my best-selling and highest-rated product.  

Here's what the Cultura Diaria includes:
-170 Hispanic culture facts (5 facts for each topic).  Topics include:  Why learn Spanish?, 20 Spanish-speaking countries, Hispanic Heritage Month, Día de la Raza, Día de los Muertos, Navidad, Año Nuevo, Día del Amor y la Amistad, Semana Santa, quinceañeras, matrimonios, famous Hispanic artists and authors
-4 quizzes (2 versions each)
-Instructions and suggestions for use
-NEW:  Video links for 80 of the culture facts (added 11/2015)

If you'd like to start using Cultura Diaria in your classroom, you can check it out here


11/2015 UPDATE
I originally created the Cultura Diaria with my Spanish I students so I made it in English.  I got so many requests for an all-Spanish version and I finally got it done!  It includes the same facts and images as the English version, but all of the facts and quizzes are in Spanish.  You can check it out by clicking the image below.


You can find both versions in a discounted bundle here:

UPDATE 12/11/2015
Today I received the 100th feedback on the English version of Cultura Diaria!  It's so encouraging to hear how this resource has helped so many teachers add culture to their Spanish classes and help start their classes off on the right foot!  Here are some of my favorites:

You can also save this idea for later by pinning any of the images in this post.  If you have any questions about Cultura Diaria, please ask me in the comments!
    

6 comments:

  1. Hi,

    I love this idea so much that I bought your presentation from TPT!!! Does it include the links to the videos and other resources that you use to discuss the daily work? If not, could you post or share them? Thanks!!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi, Tammy! I really hope you love the Cultura Diaria! For the most part, I just used photos along with the the culture fact. There were a few topics that I felt were better illustrated with a video clip so I would just look up a quick clip on YouTube. Examples are the tango, a helicopter ride over the Nazca lines, etc. I've had a couple of people ask me about it so I will definitely try to add something with the video links soon. I just finished a huge project for Hispanic Heritage Month so hopefully I can now move on to the other items on my To Do list! ;) Once I do an update, it will alert you on TpT so that you can download the latest version. Thanks so much for stopping by my blog!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi, Tammy! I really hope you love the Cultura Diaria! For the most part, I just used photos along with the the culture fact. There were a few topics that I felt were better illustrated with a video clip so I would just look up a quick clip on YouTube. Examples are the tango, a helicopter ride over the Nazca lines, etc. I've had a couple of people ask me about it so I will definitely try to add something with the video links soon. I just finished a huge project for Hispanic Heritage Month so hopefully I can now move on to the other items on my To Do list! ;) Once I do an update, it will alert you on TpT so that you can download the latest version. Thanks so much for stopping by my blog!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Do you have something you can share for Hispanic Heritage Month? I would love that, also! : )

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do! Here's a post about HHM: http://www.sracruz.com/2015/09/hispanic-heritage-month.html

      Delete
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    ReplyDelete