LOOKING FOR FUN WAYS TO INCORPORATE the spirit of giving into your classes and still provide opportunities to use Spanish? Here are a few ideas:
*MAKE CHRISTMAS CARDS for local immigrant or migrant groups. Many of these people are far from home for the holidays- receiving a card in their native language will most certainly bring a smile to their face! Depending on the language level of your students, the messages can be as simple as '¡Feliz navidad!' or more involved. TIP: Brainstorm a list of potential greetings with your students and then post them on the board or on chart paper for students to choose from. This avoids spelling errors and gives more support to those students who may have difficulty coming up with ideas themselves. The objective is to create something someone else would want to receive; a sloppy copy won't cut it!
*GO CAROLING AT A LOCAL RETIREMENT HOME. If taking your students on the road is an option, this is a wonderful way to share student learning with your community. Teach your students traditional Christmas or seasonal carols such as 'Campana sobre campana' and 'Noche de Paz' (depending on their age, I would suggest 3-4 maximum) and team up with the music teacher or general ed teacher to "bulk up" the song repertoire for a bilingual music program...then hit the local retirement home and knock their socks off! Residents will love hearing your little ones singing away and will be amazed by the beauty of the songs in Spanish!
*ORGANIZE A FUNDRAISER and give the donations to a charitable organization that either targets a Spanish speaking country or incorporates culture. There are a myriad ways you can raise funds: from a bottle drive to making ornaments with an Hispanic theme to sell, any money earned will be greatly appreciated by the organization of your choice. Here are some little kiddo friendly organizations I particularly like (and stay tuned for some ornament craftivity ideas from us coming soon!):
-THE HEIFER PROJECT Heifer International uses money donated to them to provide resources to needy families and communities around the world, allowing them to be self sustainable. For example, you can help Heifer International purchase a llama (or a share of a llama, which is great if you haven't been able to raise a lot of money) to be given to a family in Bolivia. They also have a 'Read to Feed' program with materials to help you organize this really neat fundraising method. You could have your students read books that have to do with Hispanic culture- talk to your school librarian about what is already in your school library!
-WORLD WILDLIFE FUND seeks to protect endangered animals around the world by supporting conservation efforts in a variety of countries. You can "adopt" an animal, earmarking your donation for that particular species. They have a number of animals in Spanish speaking countries, such as the Galapagos Tortoise, llama, three toed sloth, jaguar and many more. Little kids LOVE animals, so symbolically adopting one, or more, of these creatures is a huge motivator! And, if you adopt at the "higher" level, you will receive a stuffy of the animal adopted, which can become a great mascot for your classroom! Go straight to the symbolic animal adoption page here!
-MONARCH BUTTERFLY FUND supports educational & conservation efforts to create sustainable ecosystems for the Monarch Butterfly, both in México and the US. If you already do a theme on the annual monarch migration (or would like to), this is a great way to tie in the theme with a real world connection and make a difference kids can comprehend.