Saturday, July 22, 2017

How to Send Your Stuffie or Mascot on an Imaginary Trip for Spanish Class

PEPITA, OUR INTREPID BUNNY RABBIT, has gone on trips to visit her family in South America every year for almost two decades. Yes, that's right! And with the advent of email and social media more readily accessible in the classroom, bringing this to life with my elementary Spanish students has been even more fun and meaningful!

Send Your Class Mascot on an Imaginary Trip

MOUNTING AN IMAGINARY TRIP FOR YOUR STUFFIE is a great way to incorporate travel, culture, and communication skills in the target language and most importantly, taps into young childrens' imagination, which is still very much intact. Little kiddos still believe that stuffed animals talk and go on adventures, which means they will be very motivated and excited by their class mascot going on a trip. Here are some tips to make this successful:

*HAVE YOUR STORY THOUGHT OUT BEFOREHAND: In the first few years of doing this activity, I was not prepared for the many questions my students would ask about how Pepita got to the airport, plane details, who would pick her up at the airport in Argentina (that's where her family lives), and so on. I quickly learned I had to have these details thought out so the questions were easy to answer- 'Oh, I bring Pepita to the airport.', 'Yes, the stewardess will take good care of her on the plane and help her at the layovers', 'Yes, she loves the pretzels on the plane!', 'Her parents will definitely be at the airport!', 'Yes, her family has a computer.' and so on.

*PLAN AN ITINERARY: Before your stuffie heads off, you and your students can go over her 'itinerary'- this is a great way to incorporate maps and travel plans! You can also "pack" her suitcase!

*TAKE SOME PHOTOS OF YOUR STUFFIE WITH OTHER STUFFIES: These will be great to "send back" to the class during her trip! One year I bought 7 rabbit puppets (it was Easter time) and kept them hidden- they were Pepita's family. I actually started having one come back with her for a visit after she returned- that was hilarious!

*WRITE A POSTCARD TO YOUR STUFFIE: Writing a postcard to the stuffie while he/she is away is a great communicative activity that little kids love to engage in, and because they believe the stuffie is real, it is an authentic activity for them. Before starting the activity, brainstorm and review postcard writing conventions such as appropriate greetings, leave takings, messages and so forth. For little kids, post these on the board so they can copy them without having to try and sound out / spell the target language- this allows them to focus on the message.

*HAVE YOUR STUFFIE WRITE TO THE CLASS: Whether your mascot writes an email, a postcard, sends messages via Instagram or Snapchat, this is a great way to share culture with your students while your stuffie is on vacation. You can find photos on Pinterest or the internet to "send" to the class or use your own from travels. You can also pose your stuffie in front of a picture in a book to make it look like she/he is in the location.

WOULD YOU LOVE TO HAVE YOUR STUDENTS WRITE POSTCARDS but need a template? Grab ours here!

Write a Postcard Activity in Spanish Class


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