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Category: Spain

Ole Olentzero

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For the last few years, I’ve had the pleasure of teaching a lovely young Spanish lady at one of my schools. She has Basque heritage and last year, when I put on the ‘villancicos’ whilst we carried out our Christmas activities she asked if we could listen to Ole Olentzero. I obliged and the class were fascinated by the costumes and the unfamiliar words.  

This year, today in fact, she asked once more if we could listen to it. I’d forgotten about it to be honest until I started it, but the class recognised it immediately. Here it is:

I decided to do some research and discovered that “Olentzero is a character in the Basque Christmas tradition.  According to Basque traditions Olentzero comes to town late at night on the 24th of December to drop off presents for children.”  There are various explanations of the  origins of the tradition. One has Olentzero as one of jentillak, a mythological race of giants that lived in the Pyrenees. Another suggests that a newborn baby was found in the woods by fairies,  blessed with the name Olentzero as well as kindness and strength and gifted to a childless couple. He grew to be a strong man who was a charcoal burner and made wooden toys that he gifted to children, and is said to have died saving children from a burning house leading to the fairies granting him eternal life.

“Nowadays, Olentzero is depicted as a lovable character, widely attributed to being overweight, having a huge appetite and thirst. He is depicted as a Basque peasant wearing a Basque beret, a farmer’s attire with traditional abarketa shoes and smoking a pipe. Whether he has a beard or not is not yet an established tradition. Sometimes his face is stained with charcoal, as a sign of his trade as a charcoal-burner. On Christmas Eve, groups of people or children carry effigies of Olentzero around on a chair through the streets, singing Olentzero carols and collecting food or sweets. At the end, it is customary in some places to burn the Olentzero.”

You can find out more about how the legend/story has developed here and you find an English translation of the story here. There’s also a short presentation about Christmas in the Basque country on Slideplayer.

Finally I discovered that there’s an old  Basque proverb : Anything, anyone with a name exists if we believe in its/his/her existence.  I think that could apply to many Christmas traditions!

Next year I shall have to remember to play this song as N is moving to Australia next week; perhaps we’ll have to Skype her! I wish her well.

Merry Christmas! ¡Feliz Navidad! Eguberri On!

With 11th November coming up, particularly with the 100th anniversary of Armistice this year, my school has had been planning whole school activities to commemorate Remembrance Day. I like to join in – it’s a good way of keeping Spanish visible and also an opportunity to be creative.

With Spain not involved in WW1 or WW2 and not celebrating Remembrance Day as a national event, this left me with a challenge. I decided to focus on peace and, having discovered that I would only be teaching Y5 and 6 this week,  to share some Spanish history.

We began by discussing what Remembrance Day is about, and I asked what they thought Spain’s role was in the World Wars. It was a good opportunity to clear up some misconceptions about who was and wasn’t involved! I then went on to talk a little about the Spanish Civil War in the most basic terms. We talked about the difference between a monarchy and a republic, discussed what an economic depression is and about why the Nationalists might have revolted. I showed them Guernica by Picasso (as they are familiar with him) and told them about that particular episode. It was supposed to be a quick resume of what happened as one of the reasons why Spain weren’t involved (one of the pupils suggested ‘They had no one to send to fight; they’d all killed each other!’) but the pupils were really interested and wouldn’t stop asking questions. In the end I asked them to save the questions for when they were doing their written task, and I’d happily try to answer them then. They stuck the poem in their exercise books, and recorded a couple of sentences about what they’d learned about the Spanish Civil War or Remembrance or peace.

Poem El dia de la paz to download as PDFThe second part of the lesson was about peace; poppies help us remember those who died in conflicts, but also remind us of man’s folly, how we should learn from the past and seek a peaceful future.  I found this simple poem that I read, then pupils read with me. I asked them to discuss with a partner what they thought the poem might be about and why, using all clues like the illustrations and cognates to help them. We discussed together what it meant then read it once more in groups. I’d found some poppy templates and provided some sheets of the word PEACE in a variety of languages. For example this image or this one. Pupils decorated the poppies with the word peace in languages of their choice as a demonstration of their wish for peace in our world. We discussed the meaning of different coloured poppies – the most well known red, purple for animals and white to remember all those who died in war including those who refused to fight and those who committed suicide as well as a commitment to peace. (I didn’t know about black poppies until I saw this video today!)  I also mentioned that in France people wear bleuets for Remembrance Day, cornflowers which also grew in the fields of France. Pupils kept these colours in mind as they decorated.

I taught Y5 on Tuesday and you can see some of their poppies below. I really enjoyed the lesson and think that the children did too, judging by the incessant stream of questions! Y6 tomorrow.

 

Mi Madrid

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If you’ve read the Lisibo Ltd page of this site recently, you may have read the following under my activities for 2017:

An exciting project for young learners of Spanish – sworn to secrecy but all will be revealed soon!

Well ‘soon’ has arrived and I’m pleased to tell you all about it!

In July I was asked to join with Afónica  (a sound production company specialising in fiction and documentary in English and Spanish) to write a pitch for an audio programme, aimed at KS2 learners of Spanish (7-11 year olds), to be broadcast by the BBC. In August we discovered that our idea featuring a Spanish boy, Quique and his new friend Charlie who has moved to Madrid from England, had been chosen. And that’s where some really hard work began, writing ten 15 minute episodes in which Quique and Charlie explore Madrid, discussing culture and language as well as visiting some iconic places like the Retiro Park, the Rastro market and the Real Madrid football stadium, and meeting some of their neighbours. Those scripts were then recorded in Madrid by some wonderful actors, some songs were added (wish I could claim that I’d written them as they are brilliant but I’m not that talented!)and Nicolas of Afónica worked his magic, putting it all together. And at 330am (UK time) tonight, episode 1 will be broadcast on Schools Radio. I am so excited; I may even be awake at 330am I’m that excited. However, you don’t need to get up in the middle of the night as each episode will be uploaded to the website and available as soon as it has been broadcast. What’s more, you can listen to the separate ‘chunks’ already by going to the Mi Madrid Schools Radio website and accessing the Clips section The idea is that the broadcasts can be listened to as an entire episode but also in chunks and that they are used to support the teaching of Spanish at KS2, particularly to students who have already learned some Spanish and are now 9-11 years old. The programmes are predominantly in Spanish with some English used to clarify and explain. Charlie asks questions that the students may well be wanting to ask – about Spanish life as well as the Spanish language – and Quique and especially his mum, Sofía, answer them. I tried to include as many quirky facts and interesting words as I could get away with because that was what grabbed my attention as a young learner, and I hope that this comes through as you listen. Here’s the episode schedule so you can see what’s coming up.   I am really proud of this project and hope that lots of teachers and learners enjoy it. I’m also really pleased that Clare Seccombe of Light Bulb Language fame, has written the Teacher’s Notes to accompany the series as I know they will be amazing. They will be available very soon I hope, and will give ideas on how to use the audio as well as notes on what happens in each episode, vocabulary, and some visuals that will support the content. Please let me know if you listen, if you enjoyed it and how you used it. My favourite episode to write was Episode 8 ¡Hala Madrid! although Episode 6 Masterchef  was a close second. I’ll tell you which I think has turned out best when I’ve heard them all but please leave a comment about your favourites too!   SaveSave

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Yesterday as part of Health Week I shared this video with Y5 who were focusing on ‘exercise for health.’  Although Sergio Ramos’ singing caused great amusement, they loved it and all enthusiastically joined in with the chorus.

España ¡ey! ¡ey!   Cantamos ¡Gol! ¡Gol!

España ¡ey! ¡ey!   La Roja baila.

https://youtu.be/SZWIrzNyTgI

There’s also a version without the words and with ‘promotional footage’ for Euro16 , a chipmunk version, a Videostar version with actions. And I love the Playmobil version!

There’s also this song  Himno Selección Española Eurocopa 2016 which is billed as a tribute to the team.

I hope we’ll still all singing at about 9.45 this evening…

¡Viva la Roja!

tellerinToday is La Hora del Planeta when people are asked to consider their impact on our planet and, a s symbol of their willingness to look after our world, put out their lights from 8.30pm local time for an hour.
La Familia Tellerín and WWF have produced a little video to promote this:

You could use this video to practice using Se debe and No se debe
e.g. Se debe apagar las luces. No se debe malgastar el agua. Se debe cerrar la puerta del frigorífico etc
There are some lovely colouring activities on the environment on this blog and also here
And then Peppa Pig has added her voice, offering advice (and there’s a colouring sheet too!):

I also liked the video below from WWF that explains the initiative in a more detail for older learners.

There’s another video from El Huffington Post and also  this article that looks at the impact of La Hora del Planeta.

http://dai.ly/x3yn4p0

¿Quién apagará las luces a las ocho y media esta tarde?

apagar-la-luz-13604

La lotería de Navidad

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Sorteo-Navidad-Foto-EFE_MDSIMA20111127_0145_4For many, Christmas in Spain really starts today with El Gordo, the special lottery draw.

The prize is big and, unlike other lotteries, it is not won by a single person but shared amongst thousands of people. Also, unlike other lotteries,  the numbers are sung by school children as you can see in this clip from the BBC.  

“You don’t buy it you don’t win…simple as that” said Costis Mitsokakis the only man in his village not to win four years ago. I wonder if the makers of this year’s advertisement had that story in mind when they came up with the story of Justin?

I love this video and used it in assembly a few weeks ago to talk about giving without expecting anything in return.

Stop press:

The winning tickets for this year’s El Gordo was sold in Roquetas del Mar, Almería. You can watch the whole thing here on the El País website. The winning number — 79140 — appeared on 1,600 tickets, with each ticket holder winning 400,000 euros.

 

Christmas in Spain

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Loving this short summary of key events over the Christmas/New Year season in Spain!

Christmas in Spain in 30 seconds

Xmas in Spain12 grapes, coal and red underwear? Watch this video to understand Christmas in Spain in 30 seconds! 😉 #XmasInSpain ⛄

Posted by Spain.info on Thursday, 17 December 2015

Some other related posts:

El pequeño petirrojo 2.0

Los Reyes Magos

A few years ago I posted a different Christmas carol in Spanish in the run up to Christmas – the 10th day was Fum Fum Fum and you can go back through the previous 9 days from there.

A lovely retelling of the Christmas story in Spanish and in video form too

A bit of Bublé singing Feliz Navidad or a version on iPods/iPads/iPhones

The story (in Spanish) of how Father Christmas thought about moving Christmas to July

Mapas

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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.


Screen Shot 2013-04-10 at 10.05.09

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!

Screen Shot 2013-04-07 at 20.54.09

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.

Screen Shot 2013-04-10 at 10.21.23

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.

Screen Shot 2013-04-07 at 20.57.39

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?

Screen Shot 2013-04-10 at 10.26.44

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 …

 

There’s been a lot of ‘kerfuffle’ in the Press about the Stella McCartney designed team GB kit (below)

However, as Spanish men’s football team are about to kick off at Hampden Park in the Olympic Games, I’ll be interested to see if they look comfortable and happy in what can only be described as the most hideous kit I have ever see. I know it was free but …

The bloke on the right Alex Fàbregas  described it on Twitter “Olympic equipment, there are no adjectives…” And frankly I’m pretty sure he’s right!

But whatever they’re wearing ¡Venga España!

The Adidas advertisement featuring the Spanish ‘selección’ have the message El pasado no cuenta – Todo vuelve a empezar. The past doesn’t count. It’s all starting again.

Which it is!

And then they made another, with a similar message, but pointing out that La Furia Roja actually won in their away kit at the World Cup!

 

 

 

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