Make Vacation Work for You
Holiday vacations are a chance for students and teachers alike to put school behind them for a time. But you can keep your students' Spanish education rolling ahead without interrupting their–or your–vacation, by assigning one or more of these Spanish class activities over vacation or break.
Storytelling Scavenger Hunt
The "what I did this summer" journal activity is a tried and true staple of language learning classes. Keep it interesting by sending your students on a scavenger hunt. Challenge them to create short stories in Spanish–or longer tales, if their abilities allow–describing at least six out of the ten listed events or scenes, drawing on the experiences of the holiday for inspiration. You can substitute other options according to class or cultural themes, or give students the option to create their own list of scenes to "hunt":
Describe how you felt
Describe the scene at the dinner table
Describe the process of preparing dinner or for company
Translate a joke someone told
Describe the loudest/busiest moment of the holiday
Describe the quietest/calmest moment of the holiday
Explain games played
Describe the people that attended
Describe the weather outside during the holiday
Describe the food eaten
Assign your students to translate a children's book or story from Spanish into English, as well as a different one from English to Spanish, over the holiday. Encourage them to check out the books in both languages from the public library well before the holiday if your school library cannot provide them, or you may choose to loan out the books yourself. Have each student show you the book they've selected before the holiday begins; this gives you the chance to make sure that the book or story's complexity is appropriate to your students' language learning level, ensures that nobody will have the excuse of the library being closed over the holiday for not having a book, and gives students a chance to work ahead before the holiday if they so desire.
This is an especially useful Spanish class activity for beginning-intermediate learners; it brings home the point that not all phrases translate directly between different languages.
Assign your students a book review project with a twist. Yes, they can review a Spanish-language book that's appropriate to their language learning level–as long as they do it in Spanish–but they can also choose to review a movie, a play, a radio broadcast (probably heard over Internet or satellite radio), a television program, or a few sessions with a Spanish language learning program. Provide a clear list of criteria (length, complexity, language level) for material to be reviewed, or have them seek approval for their selected materials before the holiday begins, just to eliminate surprises.
Choosing the Right Activities
Because they're somewhat self-directed, these Spanish class activities are ideal for use over holiday breaks. But they also make good weekend or during-the-week Spanish assignments, as long as you give your students enough time to do the necessary research before the assignment is due.
- Source: author's own experience