La Castañada (in Catalan – Castanyada) is a festival that marks the end of summer and beginning of winter. It is celebrated traditionally on November 1st as the bellringers needed lots of food to keep them going as they rang the bells on All Saints Night for All Souls Day, and their families brought them roasted chestnuts as well as candied fruits.
Prompted by various requests for simple Spanish Christmas songs and my own desire to teach Y2 a song that didn’t involve too many words and too much ‘blending words together’ I decided to collate 10 possibilities (with thanks to LiPS for reminding me to do this!)
Mi burrito sabanero I love this song and so did one of my Y3 classes last year who learned it and sang it in our ‘Christmas around the world’ LKS2 performance. It’s a Venezuelan song writtern by Hugo Blanco that was famously recorded by La Rondallita and then by Juanes and is all about the little donkey on his way to Bethlehem. Y3 particularly liked the ‘tuki tuki tuki’ part but enjoyed the repetition of the lines too which meant that they didn’t have too many words to learn.Here are the lyrics – https://www.letras.com/villancicos/1613730/
Vuela Vuela This is a beautiful song that remembers the Christmas star that led to Bethlehem and talks of a wish for a world with no more war, hunger, poverty or loneliness, a peaceful world. Really simple and a lovely sentiment. This version is great for little children as it has characters in it https://youtu.be/nymD4tp_emw but here’s an alternative.
Copo de nieve This one isn’t strictly about Christmas but it’s a lovely song to sing at this time of year especially if you don’t want to have a ‘religious’ song. Would be lovely to use with Nursery or Reception and let them dance like snowflakes!
Soy un muñeco de nieve Another one for the very littlest – and a great one if you’re not allowed to sing at the moment! More of a rhyme spoken to music, children can join in by pointing to themselves as if they are the snowman showing his buttons, mouth, nose and so on.
A las doce de la noche This song talks of the midnight when the baby Jesus was born. The cockerels all sing and wake the singer to announce the birth of Jesus. The singer takes Mary some pears as a gift and declares that he loves the baby. A sweet little song with a good rhythm.
En Navidad turrón y mazapán Another song with a great rhythm is En Navidad turrón y mazapán. This one is good as the lyrics are clear and repeated twice with rests at the end of each line which makes it clearer than in some villancicos where one sentence ends and another starts! This is obviously a very popular song for performance as there are multiple videos on Youtube of little ones dressed as Christmas trees and mini Santas singing it! I like the version below as it has widgets or pictogramas to explain the meaning but if you’d prefer a version without them, here’s one (fast forward to 1:27 to avoid the chatting!) https://youtu.be/hymnI_DKOnk
Cascabel Spanish version of Jingle Bells. I particularly like this version as it has an echo section in the middle where the chorus is sung line by line with spaces to echo it back. This allows those who can’t recall all the words or struggle to fit them in to concentrate on just one line at a time.
Dulce Navidad An alternative version of Jingle Bells in Spanish which replaces Jingle Bells with Sweet Christmas. This version is repeats the chorus and verse twice before there’s a final verse about Santa Claus being old and confused and delivering last year’s presents including chewed chewing gum and a punctured football!
[The more widely known version of this is Navidad Navidad hoy es Navidad; this however has three verses with lots of words. It’s here though if you’d like it https://youtu.be/Z0qYQSvGSdw]
La Marimorena This one is a more traditional Christmas song. As you can see from here https://www.mamalisa.com/?t=es&p=4198 there are many verses and alternative verses but the chorus is lively and simple to join in with. I love the flamenco clapping – it makes me want to dance! The version below is long but gives lots of opportunities to sing the chorus and has ‘sing with the colour’ lyrics! You could split into groups and each take a verse – one way of getting around ‘don’t sing altogether’ if that’s the rule in your school! This version is shorter and has people singing but no lyrics on the screen. https://youtu.be/CSaoK1Aceb0
¡Feliz Navidad! I couldn’t leave this one out! Very very simple – but it’ll get stuck in your head and may drive you slightly loco! This version is animated but if you’re a fan of Michael Bublé here’s the one for you 😉 https://youtu.be/J4DQC-M9O5c (that song starts after 44 seconds)
And one more bonus! Decoremos el árbol de Navidad Perhaps not to sing but this is a cute song for tidying up at this time of year with the repeated ‘Fa la la la la, la la la la’
*This is compilation of previous posts plus a couple of new ideas!*
This website is new and I love it! https://dayofthedead.holiday/ is well presented and comprehensive in explaining the festival – when, where, why, who and how – as well as offering ideas for how you can celebrate including make up tutorials, craft ideas and recipes.
This video is a helpful video that explains what happens during the festival, full of vocabulary and presented in steady clear Spanish.
And this one colourfully explains how indigenous festivals became mixed with catholicism to make the festival as it is today.
Finally I want to point out the Rockalingua song that has proved popular with my pupils in recent years. If you go to their website you can watch a video of the song as well as download the words, worksheets and other materials for free.
I’ve shared ideas on this theme before; if you click on the images below, they’ll take you to the posts!
An interesting news article about changes in the way Día de los Muertos is celebrated, and how it’s moving from private to more public. I was certainly struck when I landed in Mexico City on October 31st 2015 by the exuberance and spectacle of the street celebrations but also by the quiet of the personal celebrations by individuals on the subsequent days. I think there was a Halloween/Día de los Muertos divide going on, but that was my perception. Let me know your thoughts in the comments.
Whilst I know that many schools do not celebrate Halloween (mine don’t!) I thought I’d share these ideas that I’ve used, made or seen over the years.
A Halloween Storybird.
Songs about ‘calabazas’
Songs about ‘esqueletos’
In 2012 I made this Storybird at the request of the Reception teacher at my school. I say ‘my school’ but at the time I lived in Switzerland and they were missing me!
I happily created it and shared it with them, and then with you via my blog in this post.
Unfortunately in the intervening years, Storybird has changed the way you can share so the link was broken so I created a PPT of the pages and added some activities and extra slides today, then narrated it. The link to it is at the bottom of the post.
I’ve shared the first of these songs before when I subtitled it (using a tool that doesn’t exist anymore so it’s lost 🙁 However, you can switch on the CC subtitles now and whilst, not perfect (the third ‘calabaza’ is ‘enojada’ and the subtitle read ‘que no y no’) they serve the purpose!
As you can see, each ‘calabaza’ is expresses a feeling using the phrase ‘se siente…’ and you could follow up this song with asking ¿Cómo te sientes? (How are you feeling?) with children responding “Me siento…”
Here are the lyrics: Cinco calabazas sentadas en su casa Una calabaza se siente muy cansada. Cuatro calabazas sentadas en su casa Una calabaza se siente asustada. Tres calabazas sentadas en su casa Una calabaza se siente enojada. Dos calabazas sentadas en su casa Una calabaza se siente muy frustrada. Una calabaza sentada en su casa Una calabaza se siente sorprendida Cinco calabazas duermen en su casa Cuando sale el sol, se sienten muy felices.
I’ve just discovered this second video, also about ‘calabazas’ and emotions. This time the ‘calabazas’ are more animated, and express their feeling using the verb estar. Some interesting vocabulary used including gruñona, a great word meaning grumpy or cranky! Another opportunity to discuss feelings, asking ¿Cómo estás? with children replying Estoy… It also offers an opportunity to look at the present continuous Estoy+gerund.
Here are the lyrics: Letra: Una calabaza, sonriendo, sonriendo. x3 Una calabaza está feliz.
Dos calabazas, gruñendo, gruñendo. x3 Dos calabazas están gruñonas.
Tres calabazas, bostezando, bostezando. x3 Tres calabazas están con sueño.
Cuatro calabazas, llorando, llorando. x3 Cuatro calabazas están tristes.
Cinco calabazas, riendo, riendo. x3 Cinco calabazas están jugando.
I’ve long been familiar with the Babelzone song about ‘Los Esqueletos’ that has a skeleton coming out of the ‘tumba’ every hour of the night as the clock strikes, and have shared it many times! The version below has a bit more ‘movida’ and also uses ‘desde…. hasta’ to give a range of time (from … until) rather than ‘cuando el reloj marca…’ Certainly an earworm!
I also like this version as it’s a rhyme rather than a song; great to work on rhythm and link language learning to music. You could find the percussion instruments and really get a beat going! And then it becomes a song encouraging you to dance. First moving your ‘cintura’, then your ‘cabeza’, ‘rodillas’ and finally your ‘cuerpo’
And linking ‘los esqueletos’ to parts of the body, you could try “El Baile del Esqueleto.” To the tune of Dem Bones, the song encourages you to move and dance whilst simply talking about how your bones are connected to one another. You could use it as part of a science lesson on the skeleton, or as an exercise in finding the word for or working out what the lyrics mean using scientific knowledge.
And not entirely a song about ‘esqueletos’ but here’s a ‘Halloween’ version of 5 babies jumping on the bed with skeletons and a ghost Mummy telling them off!
During lockdown I recorded a number of stories for my pupils and, like many people, had some online shopping sprees when I couldn’t get out. I combined these when a colleague discovered that I had bought a Julie Donaldson/Axel Scheffler book that is her favourite and asked me to record it for her so she could hear what it sounded like. I’ve uploaded it here for the next few weeks if you’d like to use it. After that, you can have a look at this version which is animated with pictures from the book (but also has some spelling mistakes!) or this one. If you have a Twinkl subscription there is a set of vocabulary to accompany the story here and the bottom of this post has a couple of craft activities too. Obviously, activities for the English version Room on a Broom could also be used and/or adapted, especially craft activities as they have no text on them; here are some examples KiddychartsScholasticTeaching Ideas
Thanks to José García Sánchez in the Secondary MFL Matters Facebook group for this lovely infographic/ map of European present givers. Whilst Christmas is past for most, Spain and those who follow the Orthodox calendar have another day or so before they receive their gifts on 6th January or Epiphany. I’ll certainly be thinking of activities to use this next year, perhaps preparing comprehension questions based around practising name of countries and / or nationalities but I’ll also be using it as soon as we go back to school as a way of eking out one last activity from the array of Christmas cards and greetings we received as part of our eTwinning projects.
Below are some images of our cards, temporarily taking over the Achievement Tree!
Did you know that Saturday 27th January is Multicultural Children’s Book Day? Nor did I until I saw a tweet asking for reviewers who were interested in books and multicultural/ intercultural awareness. As a fan of both, I jumped at the chance, and my book review will follow in the next post.
Below are details of the event. Please note that it is based in the United States so timings are not GMT, and some offers may not be available to those in the United Kingdom. However, all the online resources are available irrespective of where you live – the beauty of the Net!
Come back tomorrow for a review of The Marvellous Mexican Misunderstanding by Evi Triantafyllides of WorldwideBuddies.com
Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2017 (1/27/18) is in its 5th year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Our mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in home and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents and educators.
Current Sponsors: MCBD 2018 is honoured to have some amazing Sponsors on board.
We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also works tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE.
TWITTER PARTY Sponsored by Scholastic Book Clubs: MCBD’s super-popular (and crazy-fun) annual Twitter Party will be held 1/27/18 at 9:00pm. (EST which is 2am GMT)
For 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.
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.
copy of Spanish calendar tabs for 2015 – (you’ll need to reduce it to half size I discovered unless you print it straight from the site in which case it’s the correct size!)
felt tip pens
LOTS of patience!
I gave each child a net on thin card and asked them to decorate each pentagon to form a background. Some chose a pattern, some tried to draw a suitable picture for the month, others just coloured.
Then they cut out the net – I’d made all the bits to cut really obvious by using dashed lines but still children cut off the tabs!
They cut each month out and stuck one month per pentagon onto the net.
Then the fun began! You need to fold all the pentagons inwards, and all the tabs too.
Sticking it all together starts off easy as you make a basket shape with the base but gets more and more fiddly as you have less space to grip and hold flaps so that they bond. My advice is to make sure the you do a tab or two at a time and hold them until they are firmly stuck. The last few joins will be more flimsy as you can’t apply pressure but if you try to leave a pentagon with several flaps, you should be able to just tuck them in and hope for the best!
Here’s my finished example:
I’ve since discovered this preprinted dodecahedron calendar calendario-deca-2015 on the same site – it wasn’t there last week! However, I prefer my version as this has capital letters for the months and days and having battled with children all term to stop ‘correcting’ the date that is written on the board when they copy it into their books, I’m not going down that road!
And there is also a Calendario rombico calendario-rombico-2015 which looks interesting! You need to follow the instructions here to make it!
Whilst the bottom strip on the calendar tabs is not needed, it fits beautifully with the unit we’re studying as we’re in the middle of discussing festivals and dates, and the calendarios will be great for practising saying the date in Spanish after Christmas break. However, having spent my lunch hour ‘rescuing’ a large pile of them, I don’t want to see another one for a while!