For Teachers

Spanish Class Project Ideas for High School Students

By The Room 241 Team October 15, 2012

If you’re looking for some great Spanish class project ideas, you need only remember one thing: the best way to learn a language is to learn the culture.

Non-native  speakers who speak the language the best probably have a huge collection of literature, music, toys or other things in that language. If lucky enough,  they’ve  taken a trip to that country.  The most fluent non-native Spanish speakers are no different. They tend to enjoy Latin food–from Cuban to Mexican. For those learning Spanish, a visit to a tapas bar is more than a culinary adventure.

Then there is the literature, from “Don Quixote” to Gabriel Garcia Marquez; the artists (think Diego and Frida) and the music–from flamenco to Ozomatli.

You might not be able to book a trip to Cancun for your class project, but you can at least introduce more Spanish culture than just the words into the classroom. Here are some class projects to help encourage not only a deeper respect for the language, but a deep interest in the culture itself:

A Mexican buffet

You don’t need to spend a fortune on this, it can be as simple as a few bags of tortilla chips and some salsa, but food is one of the most important aspects of culture, and Mexico has some of the best food in the world. You can provide some guacamole for the students who aren’t big on spicy food and of course, make sure that you’ve checked up on students’ allergies beforehand. As small of a thing as it may seem, a weekly chip-and-salsa feast can get students in the mood to indulge in some Spanish culture.

Don Quixote in the original language

For advanced classrooms, reading through perhaps the greatest Spanish language novel,”Don Quixote,” in the original language, can be a tremendous learning opportunity. Everything that you need to know about Spanish romanticism and heroism can be found in Don Quixote.

Mural painting

If you can get the school to agree to donate a wall to the cause, try teaching your students not only the language, but a bit of history on the Mexican art scene. Artists such as Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo have created some truly striking and fascinating paintings and murals. Try getting your students to plan and design a mural dedicated to their understanding of Mexican culture.

Movie days

Once or twice a month, try airing some Spanish language movies and television shows. The action flick “El Mariachi,” without subtitles, has been used to teach beginning Spanish students the language as the movie is largely visual so you can usually decipher the meaning of the words by context.

A Spanish language soundtrack

Keeping up on the Spanish language music scene is a good way to provide your students with a possible hook to fan the flames of their interest in the culture. You probably have a few kids in the classroom who have discovered Green Day and Jay-Z,  well you can try playing the Spanish psychedelic rock bands Los Spiders and Los Dug Dugs for them. There’s a wealth of Spanish language pop music like Selena for the Justin Bieber set, and you have Los Lobos for the hard rock kids.

However you can get inspire a love for Spanish culture, you should follow in that direction. You may not have the time to pursue every great Spanish film, every great Tejano band or every great Spanish language novel, but with a scattershot approach, you may just give several of your students a reason to explore Spanish heritage on their own a little more deeply.

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