February is a fun month for me in Spanish Class for many reasons – 1. it’s a short month, 2. there are Federal holidays that we get off school, 3. there are fun holidays to celebrate with students! What’s happening in February? It’s Black History Month. Groundhog Day is February 2nd. In 2024, Lunar New Year is February 10th. Depending on which country, Carnaval starts as early as the second week of February. Valentine’s Day is February 14th. Not to mention all of the “National _____ Day”s that occur in the month of February. Lots to celebrate and honor throughout such a short month.
Because of this, February is one of the reasons I take a “divide and conquer” approach to celebrations in my different levels. In Level 1 we do Valentine’s Day & Groundhog Day. In Level 2 we do some Black History Month Bios. In Level 3 we do Carnaval. I’m really excited to add a Lunar New Year activity for this year in two different levels! Here’s what my breakdown looks like:
Spanish 1: Groundhog’s Day Gallery Walk and Color by Answer – this is a two day adventure, that really could be three, that starts with a pre-reading activity for vocabulary, then transitions to a gallery walk with note taking, followed by a review of what they learned, true / false questions to check for comprehension using their notes, and finishing up with a color by answer. This year was sweet because Groundhog’s Day was actually on a Friday, and ending a week with coloring is a peaceful way to do things friend! In Spanish 1 we also play Valentine’s Would You Rather? Depending on what else is going on in our school world, we play for a few minutes or a full class. This year, we have conferences the week of Valentine’s Day… so it’ll be a full game day! Finally, I’m excited to introduce Lunar New Year in Spanish 1 (thanks to the request of two students!) with Lotería to introduce some Lunar New Year vocabulary. These Level 1 activities are also available in French here!
Spanish 2: In Spanish 2, we take advantage of our two “short” weeks in February – we use one week for a Valentine’s story & the other for a gallery walk with famous leaders for Black History Month. I’m often out during February due to conferences, so my substitute – an amazing former Spanish teacher – loves when I leave her easy to implement plans like a story + activities or a gallery walk! I usually pick one for conference weekend for her and the other for during conferences. The gallery walk is always a hit with students because they get to choose 8 of the 16 people to read about. Many familiar faces, but many new faces for them! They get to read about people they know and love – and they get to read about people they didn’t know about! This year I’m also adding a Lunar New Year reading with a color-by-answer activity.
Spanish 3: This year in Spanish 3 we’re focusing on Carnaval with a gallery walk! Carnaval is always exciting because students love seeing the bright and colorful pictures. Many students are familiar with Mardi Gras – so we can connect and compare to a familiar holiday. I also use this time as an opportunity to expose my students to a little geography because in the Spring we dive into our National Parks PBL Unit where geography is a must know! We take a look at where the 10 celebrations featured in the gallery walk occur and where those countries are located. This brief intro is often mind blowing for students – because they don’t get much international geography before 8th grade. Since I won’t have these students again… I’m throwing in the Lunar New Year reading just for fun – it will definitely be on the easy side for them; but educational and honoring for my students with Asian roots that won’t get to have me again!
Whatever you’re teaching this February – I hope it goes amazingly well and that you’re surprised with a snow / cold day off… or two.