Latin America – ¡Vámonos!

Category: Latin America

Día de Muertos

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“Watch this beautifully animated, and heart felt, short film about a little girl who visits the land of the dead, where she learns the true meaning of the Mexican holiday, Dia de los Muertos (sic).” Student Academy Award Gold Medal winner, 2013!!


You can download the colour by numbers ‘calavera’  below (completed version on right) from this post on Spanish Playground  There are also links to a number of online ‘rompecabezas’ related to the festival – you have to move the pieces to make the complete picture.Screen Shot 2013-10-30 at 13.35.56

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Other helpful links
How to build a Día de Muertos altar (photos)

National Geographic talks about the festival in images and simple captions

Here are some images to colour

How to make sugar skulls

And this website has lots of information and activities for Día de Muertos including how to make sugar skulls (calaveras)

One of the Links into Languages Linked UP projects took Día de Muertos as its theme – the resources are brilliant but you’d need to start several weeks prior to the event to cover it all!

And finally, AZCentral has this PDF of resources that is freely downloadable.

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I’ve recently started a Pinterest of Spanish resources and came across some lovely maps as I was pinning. None of them would actually serve to guide your way so no good for directions really, but they sparked a few ideas!

map of spainThis map is a composite of a number of graphics used in an article on Spain. I like the stylised topography and selection of places of interest in various towns.

Possible activities

Name the monuments on the map of Spain.

Assign each group a monument to research.

Identify the mountain ranges. Which is tallest? What activities can be done in the mountains?

Give learners their own blank map of Spain and ask them to select places of interest, features such as rivers or lakes etc to mark on their own infographic map.

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This isn’t an infographic, rather a site that is packed with interactive maps looking at the geography of Spain. You can try to name the rivers, mountains, autonomous regions, provinces and so on. I particularly like the provincias one above as the shapes give you a clue – they’re quite tricky puzzles!

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This map of Barcelona gives the vague geographical layout of several monuments and places of interest.

Possible activities 

Find the date that each of the monuments was built (practice of large numbers!)

Challenge learners to plan a visit that includes all or a selection of the places on the map using public transport. 

Draw a map of their town or a large city in the same style.

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And this map of Madrid has even less geographical information but also includes some phrases that you might hear / use, and some ideas of things to do as well. There’s a similar map of Paris.

Possible activities

Design a similar map for your local area; which places would you recommend? what would you do? which phrases might sum up your area?

Compare the above with a plan of Madrid. Is it accurate? Discuss the differences using Group Talk phrases of opinions and agreement/disagreement.

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And then there are maps of Spanish speaking countries. This one of the Dominican Republic is possibly the nearest to an accurate map here.

Possible activities

Where is the Dominican Republic? How did it get its name?

There are ‘doodles’ all over the map. What are they?

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The maps above and below come from a site with lots of map /infographic images of Spanish speaking countries.

I like the use of colour in these maps.

Possible activities

Use the Mexico map to recommend activities to -a wildlife lover -a history buff -a thrill seeker

Make your own tourist map in the style of either map – off the beaten track activities, food you mustn’t miss, insider knowledge of the best coffee and so on.

Devise a slogan for your area like ‘Pura Vida’

costa rica

And if you don’t want to do activities with the maps, they makes lovely displays!

I have a feeling that I’ll be coming back to other infographics soon with more ideas …


Mi pequeño día

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Not sure how I got to this today – I think the cold in Konstanz has wiped my brain! However, I just had to share this lovely magazine in Spanish for small people, downloadable free from All you need is Acrobat Reader and the PDF downloads for you to read it.

The graphics are big, bright and bold, and the topics covered fit well with the primary curriculum – healthy eating, family, the world, animals, festivals and so on. Lots of puzzles and activities, and short pieces of writing make it ideal for using with young learners.

I like the current issue which celebrates the 13th birthday of Mi pequeño día, with lots of lists of 13 things including 13 great inventions, 13 places to visit in Puerto Rico (the country of origin of the magazine) and 13 ecological habits.

I also enjoyed the issue Somos más about the world population reaching 7000000000. It includes some nice activities about people of the world and someone talking about their life.

It seems that you can only access the last 10 issues so might be worth visiting periodically and downloading some for future reference…

Wow!  Just discovered that there are starter clips in Spanish too!

This time they’re set in Mexico.  They cover similar themes – traditions as well as daily life.

One particularly caught my eye – La cultura folclorica de Veracruz .  This short clip is about music and musicians, and a story telling festival.  This links with Unit 14 of the QCDA scheme – and I happen to be doing that at the moment with year5!

Hopefully this will help them understand what ‘la música folclórica’ is all about!


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Still not had time to do that ‘proper blog post’ as I’ve spent the afternoon editing video of the tango demonstration and workshop we had yesterday at Vida Latina.

Below are the two demonstrations by Loyd and Sandra from TangoInBrum. Did you know that tango is all improvised? I didn’t!
You’ll also find a Slideshare I found tango.
And our efforts are at the bottom.


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Today is Shrove Tuesday – I’ll be making pancakes very soon for my hungry ‘bichos’. However, in Spain and other Hispanic countries, they celebrate differently – as we found out at WCPS during our eTwinning project.

This time of year in Spain sees ‘carnavales’ . Coming from ‘carne’ = meat and ‘valle’ = farewell, festivities mark the start of Lent with parades and dressing up. The event was banned under Franco’s rule and recovered once democracy was established in 1981.
Check out this guide for more information and to find out about celebrations in different places around Spain.
Carnavales are not just celebrated in Spain however. Carnaval de Barranquilla in colombia is very famous and boasts a magnificent website full of information about traditions and actualities. Meet la Reina del Carnaval, elRey Momo and los Reyes Infantiles; check out some of the magnificent float designs , and check out what’s been and will be happening in Barranquilla.

How many of you knew that today is El Día Internacional de Internet / the International Day of the Internet? Or that this week is Semana de Internet / Internet Week? I certainly didn’t until this morning when I checked BBC Mundo in my Google Reader.

In the article Día mundial de internet, (looking at the day from the point of view of Latin America) it reports that

‘En el día mundial de internet diversos países discuten este sábado el avance de las nuevas tecnologías, y algunos expertos consideran que la clave del futuro de internet en Latinoamérica puede estar en la “creatividad” de su gente.’

(For those who don’t speak Spanish – today different countries will be discussing the advance of technology and some experts will consider the key to the future of the Internet in LatinAmerica as being in the ‘creativity’ of the people.)

The article goes on to say that whilst technology in places like Chile is more advanced than in some European countries, many users don’t fully appreciate the benefits of being online.

“Tenemos el mismo nivel que Europa”, explica Menchaca (el director de Comunicación Digital de la Universidad UNIACC de Chile, quién durante una década lideró proyectos interactivos en España) “pero hay más necesidad de ser creativos”.
“El problema en América Latina es que internet es aún una plataforma para estar y no es visto como una herramienta de servicios, pero creo que los latinoamericanos podrían convertirse en desarrolladores de contenidos para todo el mundo.”

(i.e. the Internet is seen as a platform for ‘being’ rather than as a tool that can be used creatively.)
Universidad UNIACC de Chile has begun a new course linking design, marketing, technology etc together in a more ‘joined up’ way than previously to prepare people to change this view.

I’d encourage you to read the whole article – even if you can’t speak Spanish -for an online translator, Google Translate isn’t too bad you know ;o)

One thing I loved about this article was the news that, in celebration of the day, there is a ‘Torta Virtual‘. Anything to do with cake interests me, so I followed the link and claimed my slice! Very easy to do –

  • Follow the link in the article or this one.
  • Click on the piece of cake you’d like.
  • Upload a picture of yourself.
  • Leave your name, country, town and a message.

You will be emailed your slice of cake and your picture will appe

ar on your part of the main cake.

Why not join in? There were 746 pieces left when I wrote this.

Shame it’s not real though … ;oD

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