Spanish Lesson Ideas on Gratitude and Thanksgiving

Spanish class activities on gratitude and Thanksgiving

Teaching on Thanksgiving

Your first thought at reading this is “Why would I teach on Thanksgiving in my Spanish classes if it’s not really commonplace in Spanish-speaking countries?” There are a few reasons! One, it’s a nice way to segue into (or back from) Thanksgiving break. Two, it’s a great way to address what other countries DO do to give thanks and express gratitude. And three, it provides a perfect starting point for making cultural comparisons, a key component of the AP Spanish curriculum.

So, what might you do to teach about Thanksgiving? Well, I have a few ideas for you!

1. Thanksgiving Vocabulary, Food & History

While teaching on the celebration of Thanksgiving in the United States might not introduce much in the way of new cultural knowledge, it does provide students an opportunity to learn HOW to talk about this holiday in the target language! 

Check out the following ideas:

  • Introduce students to Thanksgiving-based vocabulary. 
  • Explore level-appropriate videos or infographics related to Thanksgiving and have students identify cognates, answer comprehension questions and more. 
  • Talk about Thanksgiving foods and whether students like them or not, as a reinforcement of key structures like me gusta or no me gusta nada. 
  • Have students engage in partner interviews on their Thanksgiving food preferences, family traditions, etc.

Ready-to-use lesson idea:

Save yourself time and use this Damos Gracias Cultural Webquest with your level 1-2 students! They’ll learn Thanksgiving-related vocabulary, briefly explore the history of the holiday and even learn about Mexico’s version of Black Friday, El Buen Fin!

2. Gratitude Celebrations in Other Countries

Bring in the cultural aspect by teaching on gratitude and thankfulness in other countries! Which Spanish-speaking countries express their gratitude in other ways? Many have festivals and traditions centered around thankfulness that are full of history and cultural-information worth sharing with students!

Here are a few ideas:

  • Have students research gratitude / thankfulness in an assigned Spanish-speaking country
  • Present students a video on a festival centered on gratitude in another country
  • Share and discuss an article on traditions based on thankfulness around the world
  • Have students complete a cultural comparison between a Spanish-speaking culture and their own

Ready-to-use lesson ideas:

The Damos Gracias Cultural Webquest also addresses the theme of gratitude in several Spanish-speaking countries!

For your AP-level students, consider this mini unit on la gratitud, filled with a variety activities, some of which target culture and making cultural comparisons on the topic of thankfulness.

3. Songs about Gratitude

Music always provides a great opportunity for students to practice listening comprehension and become familiar with Spanish-speaking artists from around the world! Find a song centered on gratitude and have students listen, analyze and more!

A few activity suggestions:

  • have students research and learn about the artist
  • students complete a fill-in-the-lyrics (cloze) activity to practice listening comprehension
  • students underline/highlight phrases centered on gratitude/thankfulness
  • lyrics hunt and find: provide students several English lyrics to hunt and find in the Spanish lyrics using whichever words they are familiar with
  • copy-change lyrics writing: provide students with a template of lyrics pulled from the song, with blanks for them to complete to express their own gratitude lyrics

Ready-to-use lesson idea:

Try the song “Agradecido” with your Spanish 1 or 2 students using these song activities! Students will complete many of the activity ideas suggested above, such as learning about the artist, filling in lyrics, analyzing certain phrases and more!

4. Benefits of Gratitude

Teach on the topic of gratitude by finding resources that address either the benefits of developing the habit of gratitude or ideas for doing so!

Activity ideas:

  • find an article or video that discusses the benefits of gratitude – many terms will be cognates which may assist early learners!
  • find an infographic or visual that highlights methods for developing habits of gratitude
  • have students research benefits of gratitude and present in an infographic of their own in Spanish!

I hope these ideas inspire some great lessons on thankfulness and gratitude to enjoy with your students! I’d love to hear how it goes – comment below!

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