Inside: How to teach students to express gratitude in Spanish class. Thanksgiving activities related to giving thanks in Spanish class include how to make a Thankful Turkey, the #Langchat Gratitude challenge, and social-emotional learning through gratitude in Spanish.
When & How To Teach Gratitude in Spanish Class
November is the perfect time to express gratitude leading up to Thanksgiving. But, students will most likely need to be explicitly taught ways to give thanks in Spanish. In this way, students can express gratitude through SEL activities, while also acquiring Spanish.
Activities to teach students to express gratitude in Spanish
Here are a few activities you can do with your students to help them learn about gratitude in Spanish. Depending on time I have included everything from a 15-minute activity to a month-long Spanish gratitude writing challenge.
Thankful Turkeys in Spanish Class
My favorite November activity for years has been to make Thankful Turkeys. (Yes, for high schoolers. I originally posted about the Thankful Turkey idea in 2014:). Give each student a piece of colored paper to trace their hand to make a mini turkey. On each turkey’s tail feathers, have students write something they are thankful for in Spanish. Then all of these get put on a Thankful Turkey bulletin board, with each hand as the feathers of the class turkey and the saying “we are thankful for.”
Go to my Thankful Turkey blog post for lots more instructions including a slideshow to project with vocabulary to post for students.
If you want to stay away from any connection to Thanksgiving or want to express gratitude beyond November, an alternative is to create a gratitude tree. Cut out paper leaves and write different things that the students are thankful for on each leaf. Hang the leaves on a tree or bulletin board in the classroom. This is a great visual way for students to see all the things they have to be grateful for.
Gratitude Writing Activity for Spanish
After introducing gratitude with either of the activities above, an extension is to have students write about what they are thankful for. Using this gratitude writing prompt could be a formative practice or a writing assessment depending on your goals. There are differentiated levels, so you could use this simple writing prompt right before Thanksgiving in every level you teach. This is a great way to justify your Thankful Turkey craftivity if you need to do so.
Thank You Letter in Spanish
A super simple, no-prep activity is to have students write a letter of thanks. Students can write a letter to someone they are grateful for, such as a family member, friend, or teacher. This activity helps students practice their writing skills and think about what they are thankful for. Depending on the level of students and the audience these letters could be in Spanish or English depending on your goals.
Gratitude Scavenger Hunt
An activity for younger or super active classes right before Thanksgiving is a classroom scavenger hunt. Hide different objects around the classroom or school and have students find them. For each object, have them name something they are grateful for. This activity helps students get up and moving while also thinking about what they’re thankful for. (More ideas to Get your Spanish Class Moving)
Another activity to get students moving is to play gratitude relays to practice gratitude vocab. Line up students in teams and give each team a list of things to be thankful for in Spanish (mi casa, mi familia, mis amigos, mis profes, etc.). The first student in line runs to the front of the room and names one thing on the list in Spanish, then runs back and tags the next person in line who does the same thing. The first team to finish wins. This is a fun and competitive way to review vocabulary related to gratitude.
#Langchat Gratitude Challenge
If you want to devote a lot of time in November to Identity, Belonging, & Well-Being Through Gratitude in Spanish try this annual challenge put together by Samara Spielberg and the Allen-Stevenson Spanish Department. My Spanish 3 did this daily Spanish gratitude writing challenge in the fall of 2020 when I was on a block schedule as a daily routine. If you want to participate go to the #LangChat Gratitude Challenege 2022 presentation for all of the info.
Not Into Gratitude in Spanish Class? Other November Ideas for Spanish Class
- Indigenous Peoples in Spanish class – for Native American Heritage Month in November
- Música Indígina – play one song each day of November or make it into a music bracket
- Día de muertos in Spanish class, Movies to Teach Day of the Dead, Día de Muertos Songs
- Coco Spanish Class Freebie
- Thanksgiving in Spanish class
- 1st Day After Fall/Winter Break
Gratitude in Spanish
There are many ways that you can teach gratitude in Spanish class. By doing activities like writing letters of thanks, creating Thankful Turkeys, or participating in the #LangChatGratitudeChallege, your students will get SEL support, while also learning important vocabulary related to giving thanks in Spanish. ¡Feliz día de Acción de Gracias!