Skip to main content

Here are five great Cinco de Mayo resources that I've found around the Web. Coming off of a lively #authres conversation during #langchat (that I read post-facto), I want to clarify what makes a 'great resource' in my mind:

A great resource is interesting [or it can be made interesting]

That's it. If it's interesting, I'll find a way to make it comprehensible, which is what really matters. I don't care whether a resource is authentic or not. I love authentic resources--love, love, love, love. They are powerful, they are interesting, they are real. But you know what? I also love many non-authentic resources--love, love, love, love. The definition of an authentic resource is incredibly narrow, and I think that we would be crazy to use authenticity as the criterion by which we include or exclude something for use in our classes. I think that we would be crazy to never rarely use authentic resources, and I think that we would be crazy to not 'comprehensify' (make comprehensible) the powerful, interesting authentic resources that we choose to use in our classes. If you're coming to iFLT this summer in St. Paul (you must come!), you'll have another chance to walk with me through the three-step lesson plan that I use with all authentic resources: Introduce - Interact - Investigate. If not, you can check out this post (and the links it contains) to find the materials from my presentation.

Why teach Cinco de Mayo?

This “holiday” is another excellent opportunity to break stereotypes. Hook students’ with their intrigue in the US version of the celebration, and then slam ’em with the real and powerful history behind the day!

This is also a great opportunity to talk about differences in perceptions of of the holiday that exist even within the Mexican-American community. Some Mexican-Americans (although frankly none that I know personally!) despise this holiday, seeing it as a day that perpetuates bad stereotypes and depreciates the richness of Mexican culture. Others see it as an opportunity to celebrate their pride for being Mexican and to invite their friends to join them in the celebration!

Here are five Cinco de Mayo resources that I love:

Five great Cinco de Mayo resources for Spanish classes

  1. I love this Spanish-language reading about La Batalla de Puebla, especially because it comes with audio! Although this reading is not an #authres because it was written for native speakers of English, it's a great opportunity for students to listen to speech from a native speaker. You could print out the article and white out some of the words, creating a CLOZE passage for your students to complete as they listen. For beginning Spanish students, you could write 1-2 sentence comprehensible summaries of each paragraph and have students match the summary with the original text. For upper level classes, they could write their own summarizing paragraphs. There are zillions of possibilities!
  2. This Six Degrees of Separation video shows how the history of the Piñata is connected to other countries. I love it! This authentic resource (Oui! C'est authentique!) is perfect for a MovieTalk introduction: simply prepare for the MovieTalk by listening to the video yourself, then use MovieTalk to present the content to your students in comprehensible language. After students have a comprehensible introduction to the resource and content, then you can let them watch the video a second time using one of these Interact techniques. (For more six degrees of separation fun, check out my saber/conocer lesson plans!)
  3. This Jarabe de tapatío tutorial is pretty boring and there is no music, but I love that it goes slow enough and you can see the feet clearly enough to follow along. Introduce the dance with a comprehensible description and its history in Spanish, show this video, and then play an upbeat, catchy tune for students to practice their new moves!
  4. In this Cinco de Mayo infograph, students can read some fast facts about El Cinco de Mayo in Spanish without being overwhelmed by large amounts of text. Match the task to their language ability, and it makes for an easy, fast, low-prep activity to squish in on El Cinco. The infograph itself? Not engaging...but it has the potential to be engaging because it is accessible. So your challenge as a teacher is to make the activity engaging. Perhaps turn it into a competition--ask a question to partners of students and see who can find the answer first. Or use the 'Numbered Heads Together' structure.You've got options.
  5. 'La Batalla' Trailer in HD is a great way to make the Battle of Puebla engaging to students. Let's face it. Most of our students are not fascinated by war history. But this they can get into (there is one inappropriate word in the subtitles right at the end).

Ready-to-go plans and materials for Cinco de Mayo in Spanish class:

Are you pressed for time or unsure how exactly to work with those resources? Don't worry--I've got you covered! Here are some materials that I have developed over the years that will help you engage your students in the real history of Cinco de Mayo with confidence--all in Spanish!

» Answer the question, "What is Cinco de mayo?" with this simple reading in Spanish + glyph for emergent Spanish readers--PERFECT for exploratory classes and Novice Low students!!

Answer the question, What is Cinco de Mayo, really, with students in your Spanish classes

» Dig way deeper with complete materials (readings, #authres, games, and more!) to teach a 4-5 day mini unit about Cinco de Mayo--designed for Novice Mid+ learners!

» Thrill and frustrate your students with this FREE Jigsaw Puzzle that will take them FOR-E-VER to complete, but that they will love anyway!

» Share the love and knowledge about Cinco de Mayo with your entire school with this "Holiday Awareness" idea from Jenny Robbins!

Whatever you do, make sure that you take the time to personalize the content in class discussion. Personalization doesn't have to mean relating it to students' lives; discussing students' own ideas is personalized discussion, even if they aren't sharing information about themselves.

Happy Cinco!

Still looking for more? Follow my Cinco de Mayo board on Pinterest!

Join our newsletter

Subscribe to our newsletter and get instant access to 150+ free resources for language teachers.

Subscribe Today