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Archive for the ‘mexico’ Category

Christmas in Mexico

Monday, December 21st, 2015

My ‘angelito’ from Chignahuapan, home of the glass ‘esferas’ that hang on ‘arboles’ around Mexico.

Want to know about Christmas in Mexico?

Here are some useful links:

Why Christmas? offers a simple description including key events.

Read this article to find out about Christmas in Mexico, including the unique Noche de los rabanos in Oaxaca.

Find out about Christmas in Mexico here and then ‘turn the page’ to compare it with the celebrations in Spain. In which ways are they different?

Mexican Christmas recipes anyone?

And here’s a cute video with some facts and singing!

This article explains the importance of the poinsettia to Aztecs who called it cuetlaxochitl which means “mortal flower that perishes and withers like all that is pure.”

Here’s a story about The Legend of the Poinsettia:

And another story, this time about Las Posadas.

This site has links to lots of articles if you want to explore more, but I’ll leave you with a couple of Mexican Christmas songs.

The song that is sung during posadas:

A short radio programme with some suggestions of carols from the childhood of Betto Arcos en Veracruz, including  Los peces en el río

And how could I not include Feliz Navidad?


Muy Interesante Junior

Sunday, August 10th, 2014

My lovely husband John went to México in April and I promised afterwards that I’d share some of things that he bought back. However, I never got past the first item(s)! Time to put that right! photo 4 I was overjoyed that he returned with a copy of Muy Interesante Junior. Although I’ve never seen the Junior version before, I was aware of Muy Interesante from browsing quioscos over the years. It’s a (Mexican) factual/scientific magazine with the strap line “La revisita para saber más de todo” and the Junior version is along the same lines aimed at younger readers.  And I immediately thought: ‘Excellent! Non-fiction texts of varying lengths and for a variety of purposes – just what the new Curriculum ordered!’ As you can see from the cover and below, the edition has lots of interesting content including fact files, comic strips, activities, puzzles and articles. There are five regular sections (below with the focus for this edition in brackets) and also sections of Preguntas y respuestas, Club Junior and short Noticias.

El que busca encuentra  (Mujeres célebres)

Mundo salvaje (Serpientes)

Tecnología (Cómo funciona el Internet)photo 4

Cuerpo humano (El sistema inmunitario)

Tierra en alerta (tormentas solares)

Here are some bits that I particularly liked.

1. La Tortilla

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Many pupils eat this type of tortilla but how much do they really know about them?

This double page spread is all about MEXICAN tortillas. How to make them, the origins of la tortilla, interesting facts, records, statistics, health information and language related to la tortilla too. There are even  ‘dichos’ or sayings linked to la tortilla.

2. Protege a tus protectores

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In the section on El Sistema Inmunitario, this section is all about how to give your immune system a hand. Good for talking about healthy lifestyles and also for giving instructions in Spanish. Lots of cognates and making connections with things that they already know about staying healthy as well as the (short) length of the bullet points make it accessible to young learners.

3. Rocas del espacio exterior

photo 1 Space is one of the topics that I’ve found works really well as a cross curricular one in Spanish, and this series of articles (there are five pages worth!) add plenty of new information to my knowledge! Specifically, lots of information about asteroides, meteoros and meteoritos, and new vocabulary like una estrella fugaz, la lluvia de estrellas and los meteoroides. 

I found the graphic below interesting – good vocabulary list too! And I discovered that the seven gold medals handed out on 15th February at the Winter Olympics in Sochi all contained part of a meteorite that fell on Russia on the date in a previous year (doesn’t say when!)

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4. Las maravillas naturales

photo 1 photo 3

In the middle of the magazine there were two inserts – the first was a set of 18 double sided cards featuring ‘las maravillas naturales de la Tierra’ – one side has an image and the other a short description of the place. Good for countries, recognising landmarks by their Spanish name e.g. Monte Everest, las Cataratas de Iguazú, la Selva Amazónica etc and for map work. I can also see how you could use the short descriptions for simple reading  activities:

You could give learners three cards and ask them to identify a landmark according to given statements. You could mix English and Spanish e.g. which place is one of the Seven wonders of the world? (Cataratas de Iguazú) ¿Dónde están los pilares de piedra? (China) Which place is the model for one of the habitats in Avatar? And what is the ‘habitat’ called?(Montañas de Zhangijajie en China; las ‘Montañas Aleluya’) And so on.   Or you could make two sets and learners work in pairs to read a sentence and identify the card by listening and following.

5. Del huevo al pollito

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The other insert is a double sided poster – one side has information about how an aeroplane flies and the other a really informative spread about the life cycle of a chicken, complete with pictures of chick embryos. You’d have to pick and choose which bits to share with younger learners but lots of good information that would be really useful for CLIL Science lessons.

photo 1photo 3There are so many other parts that I could highlight – in fact, too much material to assimilate in one go.

I can see that the articles on skyscrapers and tall buildings will be great for looking at large numbers, and I’ll certainly be coming back to the section on Héroes y Superhéroes as it looks at fantasy superheros as well as what makes a real hero, finishing off looking at some real superheroes like Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa and Rigoberta Menchú (like the Hispanic touch!)


The bad news is that you can’t subscribe to the magazine from the UK – they’ll only send it to Mexico 🙁

However, all is not lost as there is a website

Screen Shot 2014-08-10 at 15.23.16          You can’t access the whole magazine but there are selected parts. The current edition online has three highlighted articles on the shape of the moon, dinosaurs and saving the rain forests, and each concludes with links to another three related articles.

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Then there are Temas de interés and Galerías of interesting photographs, again each linked to further articles and albums so there’s lots of content available if you explore!

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Additionally, you can do a web search and find out what was in previous editions  e.g. la sexta edición, la séptima edición,  la octava edición. This isn’t much help with the website as you can’t back track on there but… you can purchase ‘back copies’ via Muy Interesante Junior app in the App Store. (Sadly no Android version yet although you can get Muy Interesante in the GooglePlay store) Screen Shot 2014-08-10 at 20.50.07

The app is free but you must purchase each ‘magazine’ for £1.99 or, at the moment, you can subscribe for a year (6 editions) for £5.49. I’ve just downloaded one copy so far (wanted to check the quality before committing myself!) and am very impressed. All the pages (80 odd) and the posters and the photo cards. Well worth the money I’d say, even if it’s only for ideas and information for you because (with ADE hat on!) if you want to use it with your class, you need to purchase a copy for each iPad so it might not be something for all the iPads in a class set. You might buy it for a few, or project it from one device using AppleTV or Reflector or Airserver etc for small groups to use as part of guided reading.

That’s all for now – I’m off to read my newly downloaded June/July copy!

I’ve saved my favourite activity/pages for another post – coming soon!

Lesson starters – KS2 Spanish from TeachersTV

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

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!

¡Felices Reyes!

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

As we’re all taking down our Christmas decorations and enjoying the snow, (well, we are here having been granted a snow day!) in Spain and Mexico, children have been receiving their presents this morning, left for them by Los Reyes Magos.

So, to all of you, ¡Felices Reyes!

Here is a video of last year’s celebrations in Madrid. Enlightening and well worth using in class to show children what happens.

Here’s the start of an animated film from Mexico about Los Reyes Magos.

And not forgetting the hilarious clip I shared last year!

Cinco de mayo

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

Fed up at going back to work after the Bank Holiday? Here’s a quick guide to How to celebrate Cinco de mayo!
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BcwW6wQGyVQ&hl=en&fs=1&color1=0x006699&color2=0x54abd6&border=1]

Los de Abajo

Monday, July 14th, 2008

I went out on Friday to a concert – happens so rarely that it’s newsworthy! As part of the Lichfield Festival, there was a Mexican band playing the Lichfield Garrick, so I jumped at the chance to go when invited by a friend – thanks Sharon ;o)

The blurb advertising the award winning Los de Abajo looked interesting (see below)- and the evening proved to be just that!

I’m not sure that the Lichfield Garrick was the ideal venue for such a high energy performance, and I think the band were a bit fazed by the lack of dancing in the audience (well, it’s Lichfield for heavens sake!!) but they gave it their all!

Memorable moments included reference by the vocalist to ‘the horny section’ (he meant the brass section!); the energetic dancing and gyrating of the saxophonist, Daniel Portugal, described by The Independent as ‘tall and punkish with a saturnine beard, … a wild dancing talisman’ and member of the aforementioned ‘horny section’; various members of the band donning wrestling masks and having a fight; and the encore when the entire band left the stage and went walkabout around the theatre, culminating in deafening the front few rows (including me!) with two saxophones, two trombones, two trumpets, two guitars and a wide variety of drumming!

Their music, lyrically, is not really suitable for use in the Primary classroom – it’s very revolutionary and is peppered with colourful language, but it has a good beat and was very different to the pop perception of Latino music. (Check it out by clicking on the CD cover here and then choosing a song!)

If you want to find out more, here are a few sites about them, and one of their songs

Song lyrics | War 4 Peace lyrics

Cinco de mayo

Monday, May 5th, 2008

As I sat poking people on Facebook – as I am prone to do as a form of stress release – I was inspired to blog. Not a normal occurence admittedly, being inspired to do anything serious on FB but this time the poke was the catalyst.

As you can see from the image, I ‘celebrated Cinco de Mayo with‘ many of my FB friends, and it struck me that I knew not why I would want to celebrate today! So I
decided to do some research – and it’s nothing to do with dancing sheep!

Wikipedia informed me that …
Cinco de Mayo (Spanish for “5th of May”) is primarily a regional and not an obligatory federal holiday in Mexico. The holiday commemorates an initial victory of Mexican forces led by General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguín over French forces in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. The date is observed in the United States and other locations around the world as a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride.’

and goes on to point out that it is not Mexican Independence Day as this falls on September 16th.

It seems that the day, celebrated with music, dance and food (as all good fiestas should be), is mainly celebrated by Mexicans living in America, and that it is really only celebrated within Mexico in the Puebla region where the battle was fought.

As I was looking for information,I came across a number of interesting web sites that teach more about the origins and celebration of Cinco de Mayo.

Kaboose has a number of craft activities (such as making a taco or Mexican sombrero), recipes and printables (such as colouring pages and wordsearches) for the day as well as a history section.

Here’s the site for the Cinco de Mayo Fiesta in Portland, Oregon, celebrating the festival of its sister city, Guadalajara, and organised by the Portland Guadalajara Sister Association
(I like this idea of having a sister city whose festivals you celebrate – great for broadening knowledge and understanding)

Then I came across a lovely site with a really accessible webquest about Cinco de Mayo, perfect for dipping in and choosing bits that you fancy using. It offers lots of links – most of them seem to be active (sometimes a pitfall I find with webquests I discover is that the links are dead ends which is really frustrating) I also like the student rubric outlining what is expected of a good group member, and how group work will be graded – something to consider for next collaborative topic I set perhaps. There are even teachers notes – as they say, the webquest / topic is designed to last several weeks so it would be a case of picking and choosing!!

And then there’s the 42explore site where there are loads of links to other sites – unfortunately, several of the ones I tested were dead, but you can learn how to make a piñata, or a poncho, or go on a shorter webquest to make an information book about Cinco de Mayo. And at the bottom of the page, there is a short interactive glossary of words related to the festival.

And, just to finish off the post, here are a couple of videos of the festivities. Firstly, a news report explaining the fiesta –

and here are the festivities in Charleston…..

Finally, a traditional folkdance from West SaintPaul, Minnesota.

So – now I know what it’s all about –

¡Feliz Cinco de Mayo a todos!