Inside: Cinco de mayo in Spanish class. Cinco de mayo ideas for Spanish class that celebrate the culture of Mexico with adaptions for distance learning.
Cinco de mayo in Spanish class has become a pretty controversial topic in the teaching world. I would hope that as Spanish teachers we all know what it is REALLY about and help share that with our students.
In all honestly, when I was in high school it meant food and I really did not know what it was all about. When I was student teaching it meant my end of teaching fiesta complete with quesadilla maker and some fluff activities in English about the “holiday.”
Now that I know better, my goal to do better. The turning point for me was discovering Martina Bex’s 5 de mayo readings and cultural activities in my third year of teaching. That was the year I was trying out CI using my first novel and story units. By that Spring I knew that I could and should teach about the holiday in comprehensible Spanish. Instead of a meaningless fiesta, we spent about a week digging deeper into what it was all about. I used variations of those plans at all levels. I also make a point to hype up Mexican Independence Day in September with Hispanic Heritage Month, so as a point of reference my students KNOW that 5 de mayo is NOT Mexico’s Independence Day.
Are you looking for something to do this week to celebrate the culture of Mexico? Here are some ideas.
New! El Camino de Xico
A movie to teach about Mexico that is authentic and was created in Spanish is El camino de Xico. It is authentic, animated, family-friendly, and would work from upper elementary all the way to high school seniors. (Trust me, my Spanish 3/4 class watched it this year as a part of an environmental unit and they enjoyed it!)
This novice level Mexico reading and activities would be a short way to introduce a little about Mexico to novice level students. I created it to go with the novel Tumba, and have many posts for the novel here if you have a little bit more time to dig into Mexico. **I updated this resource to make it in Google Slides. This way you can assign it digitally on Google Classroom or your platform of choice. If you already have it, go to my purchases to download the update for free!
El Libro de Vida
A movie to teach about Mexico that is a little more lighthearted is The Book of Life. I have a basic guide for novice Spanish. Kara Jacobs has great materials for upper-level students.
Another great film set in Mexico is Canela. I hear the movie is available on Pantaya. There are resources for the movie here. It is an appropriate movie that ties in many common Spanish 1 themes such as family, food, and the house while centering around the culture of Mexico and mole.
For more ideas about 5 de mayo and Mexico, follow my Mexico Pinterest Board.
Even more ideas!
Usually, my Spanish 1 does Martina Bex’s 5 de mayo readings to make sure they know it is NOT Independence day. I usually just do a little reminder in my upper levels.
Distance Learning Variations
In Spring of 2020 when we were doing voluntary digital learning, all levels did some readings based on the level on Garbanzo, as well as a virtual field trip from Sra. Cruz. I also asked that they teach someone they live (or someone they connect with virtually) what 5 de mayo is and is not.
During our live class zoom, we did some kind of review game, such as those below:
- Quizlet Vocab (Quizlet live individual mode)
- Quizlet – complete the phrase (Quizlet live individual mode)
- 5 de mayo Kahoot (in Spanish)
- 5 de mayo Quizizz
What about you? Do you ignore it, throw a big fiesta, or are you somewhere in the middle like me? Are you doing anything with distance learning? Please share your ideas!
originally posted 4.29.18 – updated 4.22.19, 4.23.20 & 4.12.21